Smokin Aces 2006 Movie Scene Ryan Reynolds as Messner holding a gun during a shootout in the hotel and showing other FBI officers to hold

Smokin’ Aces [2006]

You can actually feel just how hard Smokin’ Aces is trying to be this cool and entertaining action movie in each and every scene. The fast pacing, slick editing, and lush cinematography make this action-packed adventure a fun but ultimately forgettable experience. We will be following the mafia informant as he’s trying to avoid hitmen trying to kill him before the trial starts. As you can already guess all of these hitmen and hitwomen have different backgrounds and approaches to this mission. The opening act is a bit confusing as a lot of information is thrown at us.

Especially when you consider the fact that this is supposed to be a fun action movie. However, none of that will matter once the bullets start flying. You could say that Smokin’ Aces is an attempt to replicate the popular Ritchie/Tarantino formula for satisfying gangster movies. A relatively complex plot coming together in a fun and humorous way with a lot of memorable characters. A Whether they managed to make such a movie is all down to your personal taste. However, what’s certain is that Smokin’ Aces is a movie worth watching.

It features an ensemble cast led by Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. And I’m sure you’re going to recognize almost the entire supporting cast. I guess the Neo-Nazi brothers are the most fun ones, featuring young Chris Pine and towering Kevin Durand. Although all the scenes with them were completely over-the-top and messed with the natural vibe of the movie. At least they were fun kind of over-the-top. If you’re looking for more of that, do check out the 2010 prequel Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball.

Everything was going great for a low-level mobster Buddy Aces Israel. He was good with everybody, including the big boss and he was making a lot of money. However, Buddy now finds himself in a lot of trouble. Mob boss Primo Sparazza wants him dead and he’s willing to pay one million dollars to anyone who does the deed. This kind of money attracts all sorts of dangerous men and women so Buddy must hide and try to survive the next days. Something that’s going to be quite difficult.

And while all of this sounds pretty straightforward, I assure you it’s not. There will be many twists, turns, and surprises along with at least seven different sub-plots. Yes, this is one of those movies. It’s flashy and entertaining and it will keep you busy for ninety minutes. Don’t ask too much of it because it’s already giving it all it’s got. Director Joe Carnahan’s next outing into this genre was 2014 Stretch, a solid action movie you might want to check out. 

Smokin’ Aces seems to have started a whole new subgenre of movies. First came Shoot Em’ Up and then, two years later, The Tournament. All of them were these visually impressive action movies with a bunch of people trying to kill each other. If you want a more modern example, I guess Guns Akimbo and Boss Level fit the bill perfectly.

Director: Joe Carnahan

Writer: Joe Carnahan

Cast: Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Common, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys

Fun Facts: The entire conversation between Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds in the survilance van was not scripted but improvised.


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