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Smokin' Aces (2006)

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When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to turn state's evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a whole lot of people would like to make sure he's no longer breathing.

Director:

Joe Carnahan

Writer:

Joe Carnahan
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1,372 ( 556)
4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Reynolds ... Richard Messner
Ray Liotta ... Donald Carruthers
Joseph Ruskin ... Primo Sparazza
Alex Rocco ... Serna
Wayne Newton ... Wayne Newton
Jeremy Piven ... Buddy Israel
Ben Affleck ... Jack Dupree
Peter Berg ... "Pistol" Pete Deeks
Martin Henderson ... Hollis Elmore
Common ... Sir Ivy
Christopher Michael Holley ... Beanie (as Christopher Holley)
Andy Garcia ... Stanley Locke
Mike Falkow ... Freeman Heller
Joe Drago ... FBI Aid
Jeff Habberstad ... Top Coated Gunman
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Storyline

Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy "Aces" Israel, a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state's evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents dispatched to Aces' Lake Tahoe hideout. When the word of the price on Aces' head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues' gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

fbi | mafia | casino | mob hit | sniper | See All (189) »

Taglines:

The Only Way To Even The Score... Is To Take Buddy Israel Out Of The Game See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Universal [Spain]

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Smokin' Aces See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,638,755, 28 January 2007

Gross USA:

$35,787,686

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,232,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)| Black and White (flashbacks)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut of Common. See more »

Goofs

When one of the prostitutes grabs Buddy's dressing gown, he lets it fall onto her, covering her legs. From one viewpoint, the dressing gown covers the prostitute's legs, and from another, she is still completely uncovered. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Donald Carruthers: You've got to be careful when doing your stakeouts. I did one for... I was on one for six months. I gained, like, 20, 25 pounds. You keep eating this crap...
Richard Messner: Well, that's not my problem, though. I don't gain weight. I tried.
Donald Carruthers: That's 'cause you're 12 years old.
See more »

Connections

References The Shining (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

First Warning
(Liam Howlett)
Performed by The Prodigy
Courtesy of Liam Howlett
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

inconsistent mess that will only appeal to those impressed by noise and violence
15 June 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Buddy "Aces" Israel is in trouble. A Vegas entertainer once, he got to know the local mob and was taken by the lifestyle to the point that he began his own crew. Unfortunately for him and everyone he knows, it has caught up with him and he now finds himself targeted by all sides and in the hands of the FBI, desperately trying to make a deal with them from the security of the penthouse floor of a luxury hotel. However the FBI pick up wind of a hit called in by Sparazza with a strict time limit, a $1,000,000 bounty and cut out Buddy's heart. It is not long before a handful of bounty hunters are heading towards the hotel with one aim – to be the first.

On a transatlantic flight during the day I had time for one more film before landing. As I was just trying to relax I was looking for undemanding stuff just to distract and entertain me. The film I watched first was Shooter and I mention this deliberately. Shooter was only an OK film but what it did was lay out its stall and make it very clear what it was going to do and how it was going to do it – not necessarily in terms of plotting but more in terms of style and approach. It wasn't great but it worked. I assumed that Smokin' Aces would do the same as the trailer made it look like a comic hit-man film – with hyper filming, lots of stars and lots of action.

Now, if you're thinking that I shouldn't assume then you're right, but this is how the film starts and it is how it is at various stages across the film. However it goes from being a bit like Guy Richie (freeze frames, names on screen etc) to being an all out action fest, with guns everywhere and people surviving the way that they only do in action films. The suddenly in the final third it decides that it not going to be superficially comic or superficially action-packed and suddenly seemed to have an emotional side and expected me to care about the characters and their plights – like it had been a serious drama all along (although I'm not sure how I'm supposed to take the ADD kid with the erection in that context).

In doing this it does still do just about enough to keep a story going but to be honest I started to get bored as it changed tone based on whatever it want to do. Another problem I had with it was the violence – it was very brutal throughout, which I don't have a problem with but the mixed tone meant it was confused. With the comic feel the violent death of characters is really jarring, likewise with the action section – it just seemed too much and made it hard to enjoy. The final turn of tone actually makes the violence work because the extent of it works when you actually are expected to feel it – however by then it was too little too late.

Keeping this in mind it is no surprise that nobody is really that good. Piven goes from ham to tragic figure; it is a nice try but the film doesn't go with him and he is left exposed. Reynolds is reasonably good on the level he works on, a good presence – I've never seen him in anything that good but I generally like him when I see him. Affleck, Berg, Garcia, Liotta and a few others are solid enough but not anything special. Keys is good-looking but she is helped by Henson who is sassy and cute at the same time. The real stand out for me was Common. He dropped out of a big tour to make this and I felt bad that he seemed to be going down the "rapper goes to Hollywood to be in action movie" path. However he is actually one of the few who impressed me; not throughout the film perhaps but in the one scene he has with Piven in the bathroom I did think that he showed potential to do more than just be in this sort of thing. Time will tell if he can move away form just being a good looking guy with a deep voice, but he did seem in touch with his character here.

Overall though, the film is nothing to write home about. With an inconsistent approach that sees approach markedly changed abruptly not once but twice, the film is hard to stick with. It probably offers enough noise and narrative to please those looking for noise and violence but personally I was disappointed and found it hard to care that much about.


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