Fearful Symmetry

Film. Books. Comics. TV. Music.

Smokin’ Aces

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What now?

What now?

Smokin’ Aces (oh and that missing ‘g’ is so annoying) is well, if not THE worse, then certainly the worse film I’ve seen in a long long time. I mean I wasn’t expecting some art-flick masterpiece but, given the trailer I’d seen I was hoping for at least a fun romp. But it’s just a mess and not even a glorious mess. A pastiche of half a dozen other films it miss-fires on all levels.

There’s this bloke, Buddy Israel who was originally a magician but got mixed up with the mob. Now he’s planning to turn stool pigeon and the big crime-boss wants him dead, and what seems like about a hundred assassins are out to get him. On the other side, trying to protect him are a group of FBI agents led by Ray Liotta who seems to be mentally counting his pay-cheque in every scene and some bail-bondsman led by a smug under-performing Ben Affleck. They all end up bumping into each other in, not actually in Las Vegas, but it may as well be, hotel.

You know you might be in a bit of trouble when the first few minutes of a movie is all exposition with dozens of characters appearing on the screen one after the other with little labels telling you who they are. The various assassins give the word comic-strip a bad name. There’s a couple of almost blank-acting masters of disguise (I like the way one can make a perfect Mission Impossible-style latex mask and wig in about five minutes) and a group of nazi-maniacs who look they have wandered in from Mad Max. Alicia Keys isn’t too bad as one-half of two girl team, but another rapper, Common, is wooden as hell.

There’s a lot of sub-Tarentino dialogue (Jesus Quentin, you’ve got a lot to answer for) and half the characters’ actions make not a great deal of sense (one character falls in love in about two minutes and abandons their long-term partner to certain death or imprisonment). There’s a long aside that for no reason (well it could have been attempted humour) features a kung-fu fighting hyper-active kid and a dildo-owning fat granny in a trailer – I so wish I wasn’t making this up.

This all leads up to a big ‘twist’ – half of which I got with the first hint of a clue, the other half I never got as, given the rest of the film, makes not a great deal of sense.

The colours are lurid and annoying and the direction MTV-influenced pedestrian. Avoid.

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Written by Fearful Symmetry

June 30, 2009 at 11:20 am

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