By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures.
Wow. If Smokin' Aces had come out one month earlier, it could have been the best movie of 2006. In 07, I imagine there won't be a more exciting work of art all year. It out Tarantinos Tarantino and you just don't want it to end.
Movie Review: Smokin' Aces
Prima Parazza is apparently the last mafia leader ever. That's good to know. Anyway, the whole case against him rests against one informant, Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven). So two FBI agents (Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta) are trying to take him into custody before a bevy of rival hitman can take him out.
The plot gets way more complicated than that, in a joyous way, but the film keeps moving at such a fun pace, nothing feels like exposition. Characters explain elements on screen, not in narration, and it's all accompanied with visual action, mob meets and hits. Music connects every scene in one long rave but never feels obtrusive.
There are so many wonderful characters that as the film bounces around throughout the ensemble, you always want to see what everyone is up to. The Mad Max looking gang, the raving diva, the noble agents, the loser informant, the simple thugs, the lesbian hit girls and the master of disguises… they may not be entirely new but the film breathes life into each so that they are more than just plot functions.
Joe Carnahan keeps the pace moving by cutting into scenes and right out at precise moments. There's no air. It's not all handheld shakey cam either. He's got many more styles at his disposal this time. In an age where shootouts are old hat, Carnahan presents stunning new visuals for gun violence.
Smokin' Aces brings so many elements together in one place that it doesn't need to go to epic locations. It brings everything you need for entertainment under one roof, yet it's never crowded. Everything is so smooth, the film visually bridges each element.