Smokin’ Aces

I was told that this movie was meant to be a little “over the top”.  If that was their desire, they got their wish.  I would say that this movie was too over the top.  However, in its defense, I did not at any point that I remember have to follow a bullet into anyone’s head.

I realize that one must suspend reality when watching certain films, but this can be pushed to the absurd.  Here we have another movie where guns never run out of bullets and characters never die no matter how many times you shoot them.

The movie is also problematic because of recurring questions involving character motivations.  The best example would be the main character, Richard Messner, played by Ryan Reynolds.  At one point his partner, played by Ray Liotta, has been shot multiple times (and I mean multiple) and is dying.  Don’t worry.  I’m not spoiling things too much for you.  There will be many other deaths for you to be surprised by.  Anyway, there is a point where Liotta’s character is obviously dying, his partner realizes this and appropriately begins to call for a medic (as if he were in the army).  Almost simultaneously, a girl with a 50 caliber sniper rifle in a neighboring hotel opens up on the open area outside the elevator where Liotta is.

You do not really have to exaggerate the effects of the 50 cal.  It makes a mess and keeps on going.  I forgot to mention that this area is full of FBI agents who begin to get in the way of the bullets with negative results for those who do.  I am not sure how many FBI agents are killed or wounded in this frantic scene, but it is a lot.  Reynolds’ character oddly only has eyes for Liotta.  He continues to scream, “Medic!” during the whole scene, and by the end it is clear that none of the other dead or injured agents are of consequence to him,… or the director.  They are just more fodder for the guns and the camera.

Later he meets Alicia Keys’ character in a stairwell.  She was present at the incident mentioned above, and was obviously materially involved to the point that she was firing at the agents outside of the elevator (she may have even killed one, I am not sure now).  They point guns at each others’ heads, but Keys’ character tells Reynolds’ Character, that she had nothing to do with his partner’s death.  What does a good FBI agent do in a situation that is totally out of control with a gun at his head?  Well of course, he accepts her at her word (without saying a thing), and they both simply move along.  This is logical, of course, because none of the dead agents was important but Liotta’s character.

On the positive side, there are several good acting performances.  Liotta was excellent, as was Martin Henderson as Hollis Elmore.  Alicia Keys was surprisingly good.  But, even though he got top billing for some reason, don’t expect a lot of Affleck.  He is in the movie for a total of about five minutes.

At the end, it seems like the director realizes that he has killed everyone that he wants to kill, and has to come up with an out.  I personally found the ending that they chose hokey and disappointing.  I loved the idea of the plot for this movie, but I was more than let down by the execution.  I would not recommend Smokin’ Aces, but I would like to see this plotline done well in another film.

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