Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck
Smokin’ Aces starts with mob boss Primo Sparazza taking out a contract on his young protégé Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven) who is planning to turn state's evidence. The once charismatic Buddy Israel, now a shadow of his former self, is hiding out in a Las Vegas hotel. Lured by the prospect of a $1 million reward for the heart of Buddy, everyone from psychopathic German hitmen to bail bondsman Jack Dupree (Affleck), to the insane torture expert Pasqual Acosta, descend on the hotel. The FBI responds by sending in agents Richard Messner (Ryan Reynolds) and Donald Carruthers (Ray Liotta) to try to get Buddy out before the contract is carried out. Inevitability, all hell breaks loose and the large cast that the film starts with is rapidly thinned out.
Smokin' Aces, unlike most other action films, manages to balance high paced action with an intriguing plot. In this it succeeds both in getting your adrenaline pumping and in exercising your mind. The large cast also helps as you're always left guessing as to who will live and who won't. In a genre that has become far too predictable, this helps to make Smokin’ Aces a rare exception.
With an all star cast who are all on top form there is no shortage of excellent performances. Ryan Reynolds in particular deserves to be singled out. His character gives the audience someone to relate to and his friendship with his partner, Agent Carruthers (Ray Liotta), stops the film becoming too heartless. Jeremy Piven also deserves to be mentioned as he gives an excellent portrayal of Buddy Israel as his world falls apart around him. His performance will stay with you long after the film finishes.
Overall, Smokin' Aces is a highly enjoyable film that will keep you guessing until the credits roll. This is a must see for anyone who enjoys a more thought provoking action film or who just wants to see something a bit different to the normal Hollywood blockbuster.
Screenings of this film:
|2006/2007 Summer Term – (35mm)|