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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is -- a great-looking, trippy action flick
Smokin Aces is one of the best eye candy films I have seen in years.

It is full of interesting camera angles, shocks, thrills, humor and characters that you will remember. I for one appreciate the fact that almost none of the actors were cast as you'd expect. And while SA is not what I would call a retro-style film, there are more than enough nods to the...
Published on February 11, 2007 by Peace Brotha

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Man
I really wanted this to be good. You look at the list of characters that star in this and you figure it has got to be good. I was hoping for a semi serious picture with a great story like Ocean's Eleven(the remake). Instead this was more of a Hong Kong over the top action film with buckets of bloody killings. I don't mind pictures like that, but the box said drama...
Published on August 9, 2007 by RG69


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is -- a great-looking, trippy action flick, February 11, 2007
By 
Peace Brotha (Ohio, United States) - See all my reviews
Smokin Aces is one of the best eye candy films I have seen in years.

It is full of interesting camera angles, shocks, thrills, humor and characters that you will remember. I for one appreciate the fact that almost none of the actors were cast as you'd expect. And while SA is not what I would call a retro-style film, there are more than enough nods to the 1970's that fans of that culture like me will really get a kick out of this film's style.

And WHAT a soundtrack.

Note: there are so many plots and subplots interwoven throughout SA that you will surely need to see this movie once more to catch everything, including some of the more profound statements about the darker sides of the human psyche that the director may or may not be trying to comment on.

Some of the reviewers say there's too much violence. Hello. That's what these types of movies are about. Period.

All in all, SA is a great-looking and trippy action flick that doesn't try to be something that it isn't: "deep." Don't look for Academy Award winning ANYTHING here. But be prepared for an interesting ride that you will surely want to take again, and in 20 years it will be a lot more acclaimed than it is now. Just wait and see.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Man, August 9, 2007
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
I really wanted this to be good. You look at the list of characters that star in this and you figure it has got to be good. I was hoping for a semi serious picture with a great story like Ocean's Eleven(the remake). Instead this was more of a Hong Kong over the top action film with buckets of bloody killings. I don't mind pictures like that, but the box said drama comedy. I'm not sure where the comedy was in the movie. The acting is fine, and there certainly was some offbeat characters. Unfortunately everything has a ton of promise, but very little hits the mark. This was decent to watch and entertaining, but I wasn't blown away like I would have hoped. Certainly worth renting, and probably a buy for a lot of people. I would watch it first rather than making a blind buy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sure it won't win any awards, but it was still fun to watch., June 21, 2007
By 
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Believe it or not, this movie was actually relatively entertaining. Even when some pretty small parts are involved, I am always interested in seeing a movie with a cast like this. Let me list a few people who made appearances in Smokin' Aces: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, Common, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, "that girl from Hustle & Flow," Jason Bateman and Matthew Fox.

The movie was completely ridiculous. Ryan Reynolds started to go a little overboard at the end, but other than that the movie does not take itself seriously at all. If you try to take this movie seriously, you will be grossly disappointed. Smokin' Aces combined just about every possible stereotype into a murder-for-hire movie, but did it to be satirical and did not come across as cliché. It was so ridiculous, in fact, that I considered it almost on par with a Quentin Tarantino flick.

Call me crazy, but I liked Smokin' Aces...for what it was. I was looking for an off-the-wall, shoot-'em-up, action movie and that is exactly what I got. I was even impressed with the creativity behind the story (though the end was somewhat of a let down).
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Way Past Words" ~ Prostitutes, Perverts, Psychos & Professionals of the Murderous Kind, April 18, 2007
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
`Smokin' Aces' released on DVD in '07 is the next step in the evolution of madness and mayhem begun by the '94 cult classic `Pulp Fiction' and redefined in '03 with `Kill Bill.' Like the two previously mentioned films "Smokin' Aces' presents a display of outlandish, wacked out "bad guys" and hard nosed, amoral "good guys" that will keep you riveted to the screen. The action is fast and furious, the bloodshed plentiful and the plot turns will keep you wondering where this film is taking you until the very end.

This movie is definitely not for everyone [especially children] but if you like this genre of film you'll love this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Humorous, May 14, 2007
If you like your violence to be action-coated with a veneer of dark humor to help it go down smoothly, then pick up a six pack and a copy of "Smokin' Aces." Maybe you oughta make that two six-packs, since you'll probably feel compelled to watch the film a second time anyway. Then again, maybe the beer is a bad idea, since it may inhibit your ability to comprehend the storyline. Hell, I was sober as a judge, and I found myself hitting rewind at least four times, trying to figure out who was killing whom, and why they were doing it. "Smokin' Aces" pulls its audience in so many directions simultaneously that you'll feel as stretched as Gumby at a tractor pull.

The plot concerns itself with Buddy "Aces" Israel, a Vegas magician who gets intimately involved with the mob, but somehow turns state's witness. While he is holed up in a penthouse suite, the `organization' places a highly publicized and highly valuable contract on his head (or more accurately, his heart - the mob boss wants his second most valuable organ removed). As a result, every psychotic, money-hungry lunatic rushes to compete for the prize. While the premise suggests that a sense of humor is essential to the storyline, the plot is actually much more gruesome than I had expected. More than once, I couldn't decide to laugh or wince as the blood sprayed abundantly. Between the flying bullets, plot twists pile up as fast as the body count.

As "Aces" Israel, Jeremy Piven manages some of the rawest, reddest eyes I have ever seen outside of a medical marijuana center. Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia provide star power, but major props must go to singer-turned-actress Alicia Keys. As if being mentioned as a lust object in a Bob Dylan song weren't enough in 2006, she also manages to own this movie every time her bewigged character appears onscreen.

While many movies combine plot twists and blood, few of them resemble the crimson-tainted pretzel of "Smokin' Aces." Perhaps if you cross "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" with "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," you'll get some idea of what to expect - lots of dead bodies (more than either of the above, and probably more than both combined), an array of insane characters, a great cast, and a monumentally confusing plot. To add to the confusion, the DVD offers alternate endings and plenty of out-takes - enough to keep you busy while waiting for the beer buzz to wear off. B+ Tom Ryan
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smokin' Hot, February 4, 2008
In Sum: Smokin' Hot
Should you Buy? Yes

Smokin' Aces is the second most appropriately violent movie, next to Clockwork Orange. Written and Directed by Joe Carnahan, Smokin' Aces is the complicated story of a second-rate magician with a large bounty apparently on his head for selling out his crime lord friends to the FBI. The cast is great, Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia and the brutally sexy Alicia Keys - who by the way has some great legs (I did not know this). It is an entertaining movie you will think in some respects was directed by Quenten Tarantino - but wasn't. It falls just short of Resservoir Dogs and Fight Club in terms of script and direction, but fits perfectly next to those movies on your shelf, if organized by Genre and then quality. Maybe you go alpha, I don't know, my system is kind of random ... like this post.

As for the HD quality - It looks like this film was made for an HD picture. The shots were great and when necessary, large in scope. Jeremy Piven's character gets put through the wringer in this movie and the close-ups of his face truly revealed how stressed this character was. Adding to the effect was the detail that HD allows. I cannot see this deatil in an SD format. Similarly, Alicia Keys' thighs looked really good in HD - rawr. Ultimately, Being a bloodbath, this movie needed the details that a high resolution picture allows. At certain times my wife had to turn her head away from the carnage. I have never seen her do that before, and I doubt an SD picture would have the same effect. Ultimately, this was one of the best non-effects based HD DVDs I think I have ever seen. That said, as I watch more and more HD DVD, I find myself looking for effects based movies. Regardless, this picture is great - thank goodness its a Universal HD DVD.

As for the audio: spot on as our friends across the pond would say. Seriously spot on. Crime dramas can be very effectively mastered in HD audio, like Smokin' Aces and Miami Vice. The audio mix added to the environment and was very well mastered.

Amazingly, this HD DVD had a very cool menu animation and employed U-Control. U-Control is Universal's use of HDi to display extra film information in a Picture-in-Picture format - a feature that is lacking on Pre-Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players. So far the implementation has been spotty. I can, however, attest that the U-Control feature in this HD DVD is awesome, providing information otherwise found by using IMDB and the `internets'. After experiencing this U-control HD DVD, I re-watched Miami Vice paying special attention to the U-Control features. It really is a new movie experience; one exclusive to HD DVD.

Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just an action movie, it's a good movie, May 8, 2007
By 
T O'Brien (Chicago, Il United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Smokin' Aces is a movie that was advertised as 90 minutes of non-stop action with little plot, but really it's more than that, and the reason I enjoyed the movie. Buddy "Aces" Israel is a Las Vegas showman that has gotten himself into deep. He has been driven to testify against the Mafia and go into the Witness Protection Program. Israel is holed up in a penthouse in a Lake Tahoe hotel waiting for his deal to go through, but word gets out that the Mafia members he will testify against have put a $1 million price on his head...and his heart. So starts a race to get to Israel including the FBI, bail bondsmen, bounty hunters, hired killers and even Buddy's own entourage. While the movie has its fair share of action, the plot with all its intertwined storylines keeps everything moving. It twists around enough to keep you wondering exactly what will happen without confusing you. And the action ain't too shabby either. With an excellent score from Clint Mansell to back up the action and twisting story that builds up to a good twist ending, Smokin' Aces is well worth a buy, and much better than the advertising that labeled it just as an action movie.

The driving force for the movie is obviously its rather large ensemble cast. Part of the fun is seeing who actually survives, and don't be tricked, writer/director Joe Carnahan wipes characters out with a snap of his finger. Two of the best parts go to Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta as Messner and Carruthers, FBI agents trying to get to Israel before anyone else does. Reynolds carries himself well in a dramatic role, and Liotta is excellent in support. Jeremy Piven is excellent as Israel, but if anything, he's underused. However, what is there is a very strong performance. Ben Affleck, Peter Berg and Martin Henderson play Jack Dupree, a bail bondsman, and Pete Deeks and Hollis Elmore, two ex-cops trying to get their hands on Israel as well. In her first role, singer Alicia Keys turns in a strong performance as a hired killer, Georgia Sykes, with her partner Sharice Watters, played by Taraji Henson. Just some other names in the cast include Andy Garcia, Jason Bateman in a funny, but brief part, rapper Common, Chris Pine, Kevin Durand, and Maury Sterling as the Tremor brothers, Tommy Flanagan, and Matthew Fox. Maybe the biggest compliment you can say about the cast is that most of these characters could probably have their own movie, they're that strong overall.

The DVD is pretty well put together, although there's already been rumors of a special edition coming out soon. Just some of the special features include four deleted scenes(several of which could have been left in), a different take of the ending, cast/crew interviews describing the characters and their backgrounds, almost 10 minutes of some really funny outtakes, a 5-minute featurette about the stunts and weaponry handling, two feature-length commentaries, and an 11-minute interview with Carnahan about the making of the movie. If you enjoyed the movie, you'll like the special features, but be aware there might be more DVD releases to come. Either way though, Smokin' Aces is a good blend of action and story with a great ensemble cast. Don't miss it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Wild & Fun Ride, February 19, 2008
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Okay, let's get this out of the way: As a tough-guy FBI agent, Ryan Reynolds is a joke.

There. I feel much better.

Other than that, I had an absolute blast watching director Joe Carnahan's gruesome shoot-'em-up, SMOKIN' ACES. This flick puts an extra shade into dark comedy; I found myself laughing one moment, then cringing at over-the-top violence and gore the next. Yet in a movie that doesn't, not for one second, take itself seriously, over-the-top is a good thing. This bizarro race of professional killers to be the first to rub out an informant--and claim a hefty paycheck--delivers action with an exclamation point. It's fast-paced and fun to watch, a rollercoaster ride without all the dizziness.

With the exception of Reynolds, the ensemble cast is hard core entertaining. Ben Affleck's role as a bail bondsman trying to get in on the action is surprisingly small; Chris Pine as the front man of three very degenerate brothers is hilarious; Alicia Keys is smokin' hot. Ray Liotta and Andy Garcia are solid; Jason Bateman in a very small (but interesting) role is hysterical. Yet Jeremy Piven, the Las Vegas entertainer turned FBI informant, steals the show. With a grand legion of personal issues, augmented by the realization he could be killed at any moment, Piven's character devolves into meltdown mode in a manner that is fascinating to watch.

SMOKIN' ACES is brutal and gory and disturbing; it's not for your aunt who does needlework on Wednesdays. But it is a film that gets up and moves; it bobs and weaves and ultimately entertains. It has a look and feel I find hypnotically appealing.
--D. Mikels, Author, Walk-On
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I won't be popular for my review, but here goes....I loved this movie!, June 26, 2007
This review is from: Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
Maybe I just LOVE the grittiness and despair in this movie. I think it was in the same genre of Tarantino....or Pulp Fiction, Sin City, or Kill Bill. And like those movies, you are either going to love it or hate it. I for one, loved this movie! The story is simple, Buddy Isreal is a magician/mob informant who has finally outlived his usefulness. Whether the result of his growing drug addiction, addiction to the "fast life", or his "big" mouth, the mob boss wants him dead, and has placed a price on his head of $1 million dollars. Now comes the introduction of several bounty hunters who want Buddy and want him bad. The bounty hunters in themselves are entertaining, and make up a lot of the movie. They include: an ex-police officer (Ben Affleck)and two of his closest friends; the sexy Georgia Sykes (Alicia Keys) and her partner (who appears to be in love with her); and a freakish group of brothers (who are clearly unstable). But while the bounty hunters fight each other to locate the target (Isreal), a "chameleon" killer (we think)is hot on Isreal's trail. The question becomes who will reach him first?

Meanwhile, the FBI, headed by Andy Garcia wants the information that Buddy has to offer about the Mob organization that they have been trying to bring down for years, and a secret that they are trying to protect. Assigned to locating and bring Isreal in are Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds, who are absolutely fabulous is their roles.

Surrounded by a "hip hop" gangsta and a Russian "track suit wearing" bodyguard, Buddy tries to "play" his cards close to the chest, stay alive and keep partying while he is doing it. Finding that Buddy has made their lives expendable as well, we wonder who will stand up and protect Buddy in the end, because it seems that the odds are high that someone will "Smoke Isreal", but who will it be?

What I found to be the most compelling about the story was the underlying struggle of the young agent to understand the difference between what is "right from wrong" AND "good and evil". Sometimes things aren't what they seem, and the decisions that are made aren't as easy as we would think.

The only question I have is why is this movie marketed like Ben Affleck has a large role in the movie? I do think that Affleck showed that he is a talented actor (I don't think I have enjoyed any of his recent movies with exception of this one), but he definately did not "carry" the movie. There were a ton of exceptionally, talented actors. I was extremely pleased and surprised by the performance of hip hop singer "Common". Although I have never been a lover of his music, I thought that he added another dimension to the role that he played. I thought that he and Alicia Keys were both absolutely brilliant! So maybe I just like these kind of movies, and think that some of the other reviewers were kind of hard, but I definately think that Smokin' Aces deserves or warrants a 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Pulp Fiction, but give it a watch!, May 12, 2007
By 
Stop unfairly comparing this to Pulp Fiction. Aces is a terrific film in its own right with 2 interesting plot twists (one of which I saw coming from a mile away, but the other was really impossible to). Lots of action and hip dialogue. Yes, it is not as clever as Tarantino's best, and some stuff doesn't quite seem to fit (the Tremors and the freaky Karate kid). But, I really like the cool ending. Some nice gray area themes at the end, but one key theme by the end is the importance of personal loyalty in a crazy, violent dog-eat-dog society. I think poet Matthew Arnold would like this one (see the last stanza of his Dover Beach).

The HD DVD looks and sound great, and there are some nice extras -- especially funny are Ben Affleck's pool shooting outtakes!
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Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD]
Smokin' Aces (Widescreen Edition) [DVD] by Joe Carnahan (DVD - 2007)
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