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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Smokin’ Aces

    From the moment you see what Ben Affleck is dressed in at the pool hall, you know ‘Smokin’ Aces’ is a comedy. The characters and situations are so exaggerated, there is no way this could or should be taken seriously. And in the spirit of Kill Bill, there is plenty of blood and death. Aside from the good cinematography, edit transitions, and some dialogue, most of the film’s technical and structural elements were obviously the work of an amateur. Writer/director Joe Carnahan has made a guy’s film. And as a woman, I was not the target demographic.

    Buddy ‘Aces’ Israel made a successful career as a Las Vegas magician, had an in with the local mob, got too full of himself, took the lower ranks of Don Sparazza for his own, then decided to snitch on Sparazza. Waiting for his deal to be settled with the FBI, Buddy is held at the not-so-secret hiding location of a Lake Tahoe hotel penthouse. Meanwhile, since there is a $1 million bounty out for his heart, the world’s top hired assassins begin their race to accomplish the job.

    Although the story exists because of Buddy, the story is more about the predators than the prey. The tag line on imdb.com reads, ‘May the best hit-man win.’

    ‘Smokin’ Aces’ sports a cast of impressive veterans like Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, and Ryan Reynolds to the relatively unknowns of Martin Henderson, Chris Pine, Christopher Holly, and the introduction of Alicia Keys. Even Wayne Newton makes a cameo.

    For years Jeremy Piven has been best known for his supporting roles and his latest part in ‘Entourage.’ However, except for a few good card tricks, it is unfortunate he couldn’t take center stage. This being Alicia Keys’ first major try at acting, she should realize ASAP that the best way for her to earn a paycheck is to put out music, not movies. Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta’s characters were too flat to be done with depth but they were the right choices to bring the story’s eccentricity back to a cool calm.

    Only one performance stands apart from the rest and deserves extended recognition; Ryan Reynolds. We know and love him from ‘Just Friends,’ ‘Waiting,’ ‘Van Wilder,’ and even the show ‘Two Guys and a Girl,’ but this character, Richard Messner, shows just the right spark of his dramatic talents. His performance was natural, believable, and enjoyable to watch. He has done so many comedies in the past but this could be his transition into more serious roles; especially once you’ve seen the ending.

    Mauro Fiore as the cinematographer really helped this film’s image presentation. His previous works include ‘Driven,’ ‘Training Day,’ and ‘The Island.’ His professional style brought ‘Smokin’ Aces’ to a much better level than what it would have been if it rested on the ideas of the director. The editor, Robert Frazen, has his most experience with television, and so even though the transitions were based on image or dialogue, there wasn’t much ‘out-of-the-box’ creativity.

    As said before, this is a guy’s film.

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