Smokin’ Aces (18)
Dir. Joe Carnahan
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Joe Carnahan is my kind of guy, he’s a director at the top of his game who delivers thrills of serious magnitude; whatever the subject matter. I loved his cool first big time feature ‘Narc’ - a tensely paranoid cop thriller and his smooth promo short ‘The Hire: Ticker’ which starred Clive Owen and was made for BMW. So it’s fair to say that it was with much anticipation and excitement that I settled down in the glamorous Screen 1 of Cineworld Luton to witness his latest output Smokin’ Aces… I emerged dazed and exhilarated – it felt like I’d been hit by a freight train of stylishly shot carnage packed with gleefully smart dialogue and off the wall comedy moments, delivered by a plethora of unforgettably madcap characters. My pal Kevin who I saw it with was grinning too, we couldn’t really find words to explain what we’d just witnessed… But we knew it had been good!
Smokin Aces is a film that serves a litmus test as to your capacity to enjoy action movies that are given licence to go wildly over the top. I can see many people just not ‘getting it’ – or being offended. I smirked when I read BBC reviewer Stella Papamichael’s description that it was a “garish carnival of drooling lunacy”, she didn’t mean it as a compliment but I think it could be taken either way!?
The plot is simple - the world’s most notorious bounty hunters and assassins are about to wage war in a race to take out Buddy "Aces" Israel, a mob informer with a million dollar price tag on his head. You don’t need to know much more than that as the joy is in watching the assembled hit people going about their business, whilst the FBI try to protect the dodgy gangster squealer. There is a top notch cast including good guys Ryan Reynolds and Ray ‘middle name is hard man’ Liotta as the two central FBI agents backing up Andy Garcia as a careworn senior operative. And then there’s the bad guys who come in all shapes and sizes from the foxy singer Alicia Keys who certainly makes an impression through to TV show regular Jason Bateman who puts in a quality turn as a seedy lawyer. The most praise however has to go to Ben Affleck (never thought I’d ever write those words) giving the best screen performance of his life - from beyond the grave no less after having been casually mown down en route to the finale.
Basically, Smokin’ Aces is a nitrous boost of 'blood, guts, bullets and octane' – good name for a movie that…
Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öööö - this is the action film you need to start the year with!!
Laughs ööö – you'll laugh
Horror öööö – yeah it's blood soaked
Babes ööö – Alica, yes please
Overall öööö (A must see for action fans - highly recommended)
"Quality stuff from Reynolds redeems him from Blade 3"
Visit Joe Carnahan's blog here!!
Darkmatters: H O M E