biggest target in Vegas"
Las Vegas' number
one entertainer Buddy 'Aces' Israel (Piven) wanted more than just the glitz
and glamour, he also wanted a piece of the action. Becoming friends with
the local Mob boss Primo Sparazza, he becomes a connected guy but when the
pressure becomes too much, Aces becomes the FBI's star witness against the
Vegas Mafia. This puts a one million dollar price on his head and the best
contract killers in the business want a piece of that action.
hit men and women, guns, drugs, blood, guts, mobsters, hookers and a snitch,
it could only happen in Nevada.
After making a real
impact with 'Narc' in 2002, writer/director Joe Carnahan gathers together
an impressive ensemble cast for this latest action drama and for the most
part delivers. Set in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, some of the world's greatest contract
killers converge to collect on a $1 million paycheque to take out a snitch
that could bring down the Las Vegas Mafia. This is an intriguing concept
and one with plenty of scope for violence. Carnahan definitely delivers
on the violence but the story is a little hit and miss.
It is very clear
that since 2002, Carnahan has been watching Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez,
Guy Ritchie and Tony Scott movies because it is extremely obvious that he
draws from all of these director's styles and approaches. Long pieces of
cool dialogue, introductions the characters including their names on screens,
stylistic violence and a few twists and turns in the plot that are supposed
to keep you guessing until the final bullet is fired. Most of these factors
work very well but there are points in the story that telegraph what is
to come far too much. This takes a lot away from any story it is trying
to tell, as you know everything that is coming.
While the style
out ways the substance throughout, the excellent cast have fun in their
roles. Every one of them has come to the movie because of director Joe Carnahan's
reputation after making 'Narc' and he has managed to gather together an
impressive ensemble. Each one of them has a suitably sized part to play,
meaning there is no real star of the movie and everyone is fair game. This
keeps you guessing all the way and as Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta,
Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys and Jeremy Piven are introduced, you don't know
if any of them are going to make it until the end. There are some entertaining
smaller roles for Matthew Fox (Jack in the smash TV show 'Lost), Chris Pine
as the head of a psycho Nazi killing team and a scene stealing turn from
Jason Bateman as a drunken lawyer.
is a stylistic action movie that steals its style from many movies and directors
that have come before. There is a lot of fun to be had by action fans here
however and the ensemble cast do a great job with the violence and the rather
predictable plot but this is a movie that shouldn't be shot down as it has
a lot of rounds in the chamber.
Presented in Widescreen
1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
Deleted & Extended
Scenes (9.36 mins)
Entitled 'Longer Bar Sequence', 'You Ain't No Chinese', 'Elmore crawls
out of the lake' and 'Alternative rooftop parking lot, these deleted or
extended scenes suffer from the lack of a commentary track or introduction
to explain why they were removed.
Watch the cast make a hash of their lines and scenes but you can also
see Ben Affleck been completely awful at pool. The Line Up Jeremy Piven,
Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Chris Pine, Peter
Berg, Maury Sterling, Martin Henderson, Taraji Henson, Kevin Durand, Common
and Jason Bateman talk about Buddy Israel, the Bounty Hunters, the Lethal
Ladies, the Feds and the Tremor Brothers.
The Big Gun
Writer/director Joe Carnahan talks passionately about his film in his
interview, intercutting footage from his own video diary and behind the
scenes footage from the production of the movie.
Stunts and effects (4.52 mins)
Director Joe Carnahan and stars Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta,
Alicia Keys, Chris Pine, Peter Berg, Maury Sterling, Taraji Henson and Kevin
Durand talk about the training they had to got through to handle the weapons
for the movie and impact of the 50mm super gun.
with writer/director Joe Carnahan and editor Robert Frazen
This is the more technical commentary of the pair but this is still
fun while talking about the structure and style of the film. This informative
track reveals many a behind the scenes secret from the movie and give you
an insight into how this inventive filmmakers works.
with writer/director Joe Carnahan, Common, Christopher Holley and Zach
Cumer The man at the helm is joined by the actors that played Sir Ivy, Bernard
'Beanie' Alfonso and Warren for a fun and very chatty commentary. The group
talk about the excellent ensemble cast, revealing what it was like working
with each of them and the fun they had on set. This is the better of the
two commentaries but both are well worth a listen.
Previews of 'Children of Men', 'Alpha Dog', 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels', 'Hot Fuzz', 'The Hitcher', 'Las Vegas: Season 3' and 'Heroes'
With two commentaries,
deleted scenes and a collection of good but slightly short featurettes,
the DVD treatment for 'Smokin' Aces' is very good. Fans of the movie should
be very pleased but the featurettes could have gone into a little more detail
about how the action scenes were created.
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