Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Gangster > Comedy > Smokin’ Aces (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Disc + DVD-Video)

Smokin’ Aces (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Disc + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: C     Film: C



When Joe 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.


When it 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.


Unfortunately, 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.


The 1080p 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.


The Dolby 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


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com