Smokin’ Aces (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Disc + DVD-Video)
B/C+ Sound: B+/B- Extras: C Film: C
Carnahan began his directing career with Narc,
it looked like he had a promising future.
After passing on Mission:
Impossible III after working on it for so long, many wondered what was
next. He moved on and eventually wrote
and directed the assassin/gangster action comedy Smokin’ Aces, which boasts an impressive cast including Ray Liotta,
Andy Garcia, Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven as Aces
and even singer Alicia Keys in a non-musical role as one of the assassins.
looks like some people really want a Las Vegas big-shot (Piven) dead because he
has supposedly upset some organized crime bosses by talking to the FBI, the
word is out that the killer will get big money, especially if they cut out his
heart and return it to the payees. This
causes a mad rush to kill him, but finding him is half the problem and all hell
will break loose.
the film gets stupid and carried away after setting up a great premise, one it
idiotically trashes in the latter half of the film with a conclusion that is so
lame, you will not be happy to see it and are not likely to believe it. However, the cast and acting has enough
moments to give this a cautious look, but brace yourself for the self-indulgent
worse. Too bad, because Carnahan had a
promising future, but this makes one wonder how he’ll recover. Will it be the home video hit it was not in
theaters? We’ll see.
VC-1 encoded 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image has some problems because
of the limits of blown-out shooting of the image along with digital
manipulation of it, but it is a much larger problem on the DVD side and
stand-alone DVD version where the detail is a much bigger problem and the
anamorphically enhanced image has detail and depth issues. Mauro Fiore, A.S.C., did what looks like a
quality shoot, but the editing and heavy-handed stylizing spoils it.
Digital Plus 5.1 mix is livelier than the lively basic Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes
from the DVD sides, with some good soundfield moments, but it is nothing
classic. In this case, the DVD versions
are identical in performance. Clint
Mansell’s score is above average at best, with little to distinguish it from
the other “ticky-ticky” scores we have heard to death since the 1980s. Extras on both releases are the same including
a less viable alternate ending, two audio commentary tracks, 18+ minutes of
deleted scenes/outtakes, three making of featurettes and the HD version has the
convenient U Control access feature beyond regular DVD technology.
- Nicholas Sheffo