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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Smokin' Aces

****½ Smokin' Aces. Action/adventure.

Directed by: Joe Carnahan.
Starring: Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, etc., etc.

We saw this one at the Hercules, in true AAFES fashion, just a couple weeks before the DVD is out. Unfortunately, events conspired against us--the last straw being a malfunctioning cash register at the box office, and we ended up being about 5 minutes late. This is not a movie you want to be late to.

Regardless, I absolutely loved it.

Jeremy Piven is Buddy Israel, a Vegas entertainer who's in way over his head. He's about to turn state's evidence, and everybody is out to get him, from the feds who want to put him in protective custody, to bounty hunters to various mob assassins. It's a race to see who'll get to him first, and if any of them will get to him before he implodes.

Smokin' Aces is action-packed, star-studded, bullet-riddled, and over-the-top. I think that's why I liked it so much. It's the movie equivalent of riding a rollercoaster. A thrill ride. You don't have anything to show for it when it's done, but damn, it was fun while it lasted.

In other words, don't look for a deeper meaning, or even any sympathetic characters in this movie, unless maybe it's the hit woman's girlfriend. That was an affecting plot line, in a Bonnie and Clyde kinda way.

The one thing that made me scream (literally--apologies to anyone who was in the theater) was the ending. I'm not sure why one unrealistic over-the-top detail in a movie filled with them bugs me so much, but ****spoiler**** instant death from pulling a plug from the wall? When the only thing at least one of the patients is hooked up to is an oxygen mask? Please. **** I can live with it, it's just that I keep thinking there are lots of people out there who think that's believable. Maybe I'm underestimating people. . . . . . . . . . Yeah, sure I am. Is that even possible? (Cynicism is me, today. Sorry.)

If I were an astute person, I might draw some conclusions about the fact that I liked a fairly pointless, violent movie more than a heartwarming comedy. Good thing I'm not astute. (Apologies to Harry Dresden for stealing the line--I'll probably be using it until I make myself sick of it, which will likely be long after people start screaming at me about it... not unlike Carl's french fry joke.)

Anyway, I'll be buying the DVD.


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