Three strung out neo-Nazi kamikaze hitmen, two black lesbian contract killers, one slick but caring psychopath, and one master of disguise. These are the people that are out to kill Buddy "Aces" Israel...and let me tell you, it's fun to watch them try! I may really enjoy a good, heavy film that makes me think about my life and the world, but sometimes I just want to see a great action flick.
Smokin' Aces is it. This movie was made for pure entertainment. It's an out-and-out adrenaline-filled action movie with plenty of shoot-outs and super sharp, high-speed camera work, but it's no Michael Bay wanna-be action thriller. Believe it or not, this movie has a plot...and a twist! Granted, the outcome is pretty predictable once the twist begins to show itself, but I'll give it to Joe Carnahan (writer/director) for writing a fun, engaging story. It's one of those movies that you can figure out the ending a half hour before it happens, but you're still fully engaged in the movie because you want to know how the story will play out up until that moment.
Another reason this isn't a Michael Bay wanna-be? Acting. Let's take a moment to talk about Ryan Reynolds. I've seen him in everything from Van Wilder to Blade: Trinity, and he's always played the wise-ass bad boy. Surprise, surprise, this time around he's the loyal FBI agent...who actually acts! I kid you not, ladies and gentleman, Ryan Reynolds turns in a very good performance. And if that's not enough for you to go see the movie, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven, Jason Bateman, and Alicia Keys turn in some pretty good performances themselves. (For all you Lost fans, there's a cameo from Matthew Fox that will make you chuckle a little bit, too.)
So, even though I've recommended some heavy-handed movies in the past few blogs I've written, I'm letting everyone take a breather this time around. If you're not in the mood to think too hard, and you can handle a lot of bloody killings, grab a friend or a loved one and go see Smokin' Aces. If you like it, you might also want to check out Narc also written and directed by Carnahan starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric.