So did I stay away?
Here’s a movie that should’ve been done about 10 years ago. Back then, Quentin Tarantino was still the auteur of choice. First Reservoir Dogs, then Pulp Fiction. And then a whole slew of copy cats films that always featured extreme violence, gore, and strange, larger than life characters.
But for every Usual Suspects of that era, there was a True Romance (uggh).
Enter Smoking Aces 10 years too late.
You have Buddy Israel, an Illusionist (not sure what him being an Illusionist has to do with anything except that he’s always playing with cards), a bail bondsmen team, 3 Road Warrior Assassins (might as well have taken them from that movie), FBI agents, 2 women assassins (one is a lesbian who is in love with the other…who is straight), a ruthless torture expert (again, why this matters when he’s not sent in to torture anyone), a disguise master….
You get the idea. A lot of crazy characters all with one mission: Get Buddy Israel.
Grand violence ensues. Blood, guts, gore, chain saws.
Smoking Aces makes the mistake that so many movies of the early 90s made — there were no characters in ‘our’ corner. Except for Ryan Reynolds’ FBI agent (a small role) everyone was a hitman, scumbag, or violent killer. What do I care if I have nothing invested. In fact, I wanted everyone to die.
At the same time, it was slightly entertaining…but when the movie ended, I was left with one question: What was the point of all that?
The big positive of this movie was a very small role played by Jason Bateman. He plays a loser, acoholic lawyer. The TV show Arrested Development re-discovered this guy, and every role he’s in, he steals the show (even in the Breakup opposite Vince Vaughn).