A Very Bad Movie
Lookit: I dug the original Smokin' Aces. It was solid, tightly-paced, well-constructed escapist fare that breezed toward a killer Mexican stand-off. Granted, it was little more than a long, elaborate setup for a 20-minute shoot-out, but the setup was painless and the shoot-out was glorious. Also, the capping of Ben Affleck nearly atoned for a decade's worth of cinematic sins.
Smokin Aces 2: Assassins' Ball works from the same premise, but there's no energy and nothing to excite your tingly bits -- just rampant stupidity. The FBI uncovers a plot to assassinate Walter Weed (Tom Berenger) days before he's set to retire. Weed is holed up is some safe house underneath a bar. Every assassin in the world has a hit out on him, so they all converge in the bar above the safe house. The first act introduces the assassins and explores their techniques -- Vinnie Jones is into torture; Martha Higareda works with poisons, "The OC's" Autumn Reeser likes to fuck her victims before she kills them, and there's a group of hillbilly rednecks who shoot clowns strapped with dynamite out of cannons into the buildings of their victims, where they explode.
Anyway, in Act II, all of these assassins -- there must be 12 or 15 -- fight one another for the right to take out the wheelchair-bound Wheeler. Naturally, they blow the shit out of each other in the only way a $16 budget would allow -- lots of green-screen effects, huge explosions that barely cause damage, and exploding gel packs that don't sync well with the sound effects. Act III, once everyone has more or less disposed of themselves, is the reveal, in which we learn of the giant government conspiracy behind Walter Weed, where even Seymour Hersch's name is dropped to give it some faux credibility.
It's dumb. It's retardation squared. The director, P.J. Pesce (also responsible for Dawn of the Dead 3: The Hangman's Daughter and Lost Boys: The Tribe) is like the aborted half-brained butt-baby of Joe Carnahan and Quentin Tarantino. He clearly has no idea what he's doing, nor does he really give a shit, so long as producers continue to hire him to make terrible movies that will sell based solely on their lineage. It took me three days to finally finish an 88 minute movie, and even then, I drifted off a few times.
Smokin' Aces 2 is a very bad movie. The End.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. You can email him or leave a comment below.
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