Saturday, 9 May 2009

Movie Review: Smokin Aces

Action movies, generally, are films that are genuinely entertaining to watch. Obviously, the best ones in the genre have a deep and meaningful story but that is not why one watches them in the first place. Its because of the fantastic explosions, or fight scenes, or men getting killed in increasingly creative ways. In the days of old, men could just die in a hail of gunfire, and that was enough for the bloodthirsty public. Then, when that became tired, it was gunfire hitting something explosive. Then martial arts took off, and men were subjected to having their HEAD RIPPED CLEAN FUCKING OFF! Its an escalation, and with all the billions of ways to kill someone, it seems that there will be no end.

Fortunately for the murder craving masses, Smokin' Aces, gives us enough examples of gory and creative deaths. The general premise is that there's a guy called Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven, Entourage), a Las Vegas magician turned police informant, who has close ties with "the mob". A price has been put on his head, so brings in the worlds most notorious hit men to claim the bounty. Meanwhile there's the FBI, CIA, police...something force who want to keep Aces alive in order to use his knowledge to take down one of the most prolific and infamous crime organizations in America.

The cast is where the movie really takes off, with a wide and creative bunch of unscrupulous characters. Star Treks newest star, Chris Pine, plays a neo nazi, among with two others who I don't know the names of. Ryan Reynolds plays the charismatic but troubled FBI agent assigned to Aces' protection, whilst Ben Affleck plays an ex-cop after the bounty. The characters in the movie are ranged, creative and engaging, and somehow they are able to pull off the wide range of people without it being a muddle, and some of the lesser known actors are great at helping us to invest a little emotion in the giant pool.

But its still all a bit confusing. See, like I said, there's the action movies without a plot, that aspire only to create a decent looking movie with explosions and head rippings, and there's the ones with the story, that even the most anal and pretentious people can enjoy mildly. But Smokin' Aces seems to cut from a very distinctly different cloth. That is to say, that it trues very hard to have a fantastic story, but doesn't quite pull it off, it comes very close, but doesnt quite hit the target, with the story zip-zapping all over the place like a ricocheting...bouncy ball. Tired CIA/FBI intrigue, heavy dialogue that would be boring even in a Bourne movie, and overly dramatic acting, are some of the silly choices that deviate from the brilliant acting of Piven. Also, in a strange cameo, there are some fantastic comic acting from the iracable Jason Bateman, who plays a sleazy, sex crazed and drug addicted lawyer, who does well to divert the audience from some of the aformentioned boring dialogue

Overall, its satisfying, but if youre looking for a story driven character piece, search elsewhere, because this party is all about the bullets.

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