Reviewed by: Guy Jackson
Thanks to Don for posting a draft of the screenplay on Simply Scripts, I was able to take notice of the ultra-violent "Smokin Aces" today in theaters. I fear if he never would have done that I would have missed this film. And what a shame that would have been...
Smokin Aces was written and directed by Joe Carnahan, who has replaced M. Night Shyamalan as my greatest inspiration for screenwriting and filmmaking as a whole. I have never seen his previous film "Narc" but after seeing Smokin Aces I will most definately give that one a look and every single film that he makes in the future.
The plotline of Smokin Aces is fairly simple. A mob boss puts out a hit against a "snitch" by the name of Buddy "Aces" Isreal that is looking to tell all to the Feds in exchange for Protective Custody and total amnesty. The FBI wants Israel alive obviously, but the bounty of $1 million is just too tempting for the great hitmen in this world and word spreads fast. In less than a day, hitman of all races, genders, colors, and social classes descend upon Lake Tahoe, Utah to kill Israel while the Feds, Bailbondsmen, and Vice Cops all try and thwart them. Buckets of blood spill, dirt naps are handed out, and NO ONE is immune. There were a lot of stars in this film, but that didn't stop them from taking a bullet.
As for the characters, I loved all of them. They each had a quirk about them that made them unique, yet all had that cliche archetype molded in to them as well. My favorite by far though was Georgia Sykes played by a ridiculously hot Alicia Keys. Some of the dialogue that comes out of this woman's mouth is just so funny and witty that I forgot I was watching a scripted movie. Other characters played are a South American torture expert, a master of disguses, Georgia's lesbian assassin partner, a brain dead Russian, and so on. And of course the always great Jeremy Piven as Buddy Isreal. I read his dialogue in the draft on Simply Script, but it just didn't sound as good as he made it in the film. He just knows how to morph a charcter into pure gold Just great characters all around.
The film has a few plot twists here and there, but nothing spectacular. I already knew the twist going in so obviously I wasn't surprised, but a few of the patrons at the theater I was at had the "Oh!" look on their face when the final act played out. So the suspense was there, the action was tight, and the dialogue was witty.
This film moved EXTREMELY fast. If you have even a mild form of ADD you will be lost after the first two minutes of the film. No one liners in this film. Everyone nearly speaks in soliloquy and monologue form, but not to the point where it gets repetitive. The dialogue works and it makes the film that much more entertaining with the different ways the characters speak their lines.
Overall this film is one of the best action/comedy/thriller films to come out in a long time. I enjoyed this film so much even after reading the script and knowing what happens. Some things were changed but the basic plot line remained the same, but the way Carnahan put together this movie, you almost have to WANT to hate it in order to. From beginning to end it's just a blast, the violence was even over the top to satisfy the gorehounds, and just great characters across the board, and of course the gorgeous Alicia Keys running around in bra and panties shooting people up. Ahh....does it get any better than this?
**** out of ****
Amazing movie, and Joe Carnahan is my new idol.
Copyright © Guy Jackson 2007
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