Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Chris Pine, Peter Berg, Maury Sterling, Matthew Fox, Martin Henderson and Jason Bateman

Joe Carnahan

Running Time:
109 mins

Out to buy on DVD 17/04/07 (Region 1)


"He's the 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.

Federal Agents, 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.

'Smokin' Aces' 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.

Outtakes (9.30 mins)
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 (11.53 mins)
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.

Shoot'em up: 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.

Feature Commentary 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.

Feature Commentary 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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