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035: Smokin’ Aces

Maximilian Rivera November 22, 2016
By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to testify against the mob, a multitude of assassins, FBI agents, and bail bondsmen show up to claim Buddy for themselves.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%
They say imitation is flattery. Sometimes, that may be true. In the case of Smokin’ Aces (2006), it’s just boring. This movie tries to be a Quentin Tarantino picture, but is anything but. Sure, it dips into gritty and edgy, but it also has the subtlety of a speed freak, and the color grading of a film student music video.

If you wanted to say this film had anything going for it, I guess you could say it had a star-studded cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, Common, Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson, Matthew Fox, and Jeremy Piven.

We were hoping this film may look as fun as the concept was — basically a rat race centered around saving (or killing) an aspiring mafioso-turned-FBI-informant. In an unfortunate chain of events, mayhem erupts at the hotel the titular character is currently vacating.

There’s nothing dazzling here, and most of the gags are groan worthy. It’s hard to even find a compelling plotline here, although some of us found ourselves wishing Alicia Keys had a more prominent role.

Honestly, we would have been fine with anything that made this film stand apart. It’s just pedestrian, and it left us as unhappy as our last BAD film, Mr. Deeds! We knew we couldn’t just shift topics like last time, we probably only get one free-pass per every 100 films. 

If you were to find redemption in this film, it could be in brief moments of insanity, like when Liotta and Nestor Carbonell overact a shootout, or when Piven cries, does magic tricks, and tries to shoot himself. Beyond that, you’re gonna find yourself bored, and wishing you were watching anything else… even a Dumb and Dumber sequel.
If we’re glad for anything, it’s that perhaps this helped launch Chris Pine’s career, which is good enough. That and the fact that we’ll never have to watch this film again will help us sleep better at night.

Did you survive watching the entirety of Smokin’ Aces?  Let us know on iTunes!

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.

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