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Massawyrm Reviews SMOKIN' ACES!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. God. You know, I hate using a phrase like post-Tarantino, as it sounds more like something an overly literate, stuffy, pompous little douche bag would use to look down his nose at something like this. And hell, several of them just might. But really, it’s the only phrase that applies. Some folks are just gonna hate the living shit out of Smokin’ Aces – comparing this to anything and everything I absolutely love that this borrows from. You see, Joe Carnahan couldn’t have put together a film more tailor made for me and my tastes unless he also had managed to coerce Keira Knightley and Nora Zehetner to film a Babysitter/schoolgirl make out scene that somehow found its way into the film for five or so minutes. Really. That’s all that was left on the list. For anyone who keeps Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Snatch, Boondock Saints, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Domino and Killing Zoe all on the same shelf because, well, that’s how God intended it, this fucking movie is for you. The bastard child of all of these films, Carnahan takes the very best elements of each and brings them together in a loud, bloody, frenetic bullet festival of carnage as told through the eyes of someone on enough speed and Red Bull to kill a team of Clydesdales. Imagine, if you will, the last 20 minutes of True Romance stretched out over the course of an hour and a half, just spilling over the edges with cool as all get out felons played by actors you’re not used to seeing in such small roles – and rife with rampant stupidity and bad luck slamming headfirst into the actions of professional killers. It is the styles of Tony Scott, Guy Ritchie, Troy Duffy, Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery thrown into a blender set on puree and whipped into a nice, frothy, bloody smoothie. This isn’t at all the Carnahan you’re accustomed to. This has almost zero in common with Narc or his brilliant BMW short, Ticker. Gone is Carnahan’s trademark grit and look, traded in for a slick, heavily edited, highly stylized series of ass beatings and shootouts set to a thumping, hip soundtrack. Now I don’t for one moment believe that this is a true profound change for Carnahan – but rather his sendup to the films that he was reared on and probably watches time and again when he just feels the need to see Christian Slater lose an eye. But this is gonna get him a world of shit, as the type of douche bags I mentioned back in paragraph one descend with the phrase “Post-Tarantino” and complain about how loud, obnoxious and thinly plotted it is. Not that it isn’t. I mean, plotwise it’s pretty much as thin as they come, just one step above Crank in how much time they dedicate to anything resembling a plot. The plot really comes down to the 10 minutes bookeneded on either end of the film to explain the set up and the wrap up. And even that is just really something of an excuse to get as many badass hitman characters into one building at the exact same time as is feasible only to have them kill each other off one by one. And if that sounds dumb as hell, well this ain’t the movie for you. If you think Post-Tarantino is a swear and far from a positive – then this DEFINITELY ain’t for you. But, if you’re sitting there, chomping at the bit, wondering just how close this film is to the series of films I keep invoking, let me tell you – it’ll definitely sit proudly on that DVD shelf, brother. This movie is seriously fun. At times hilarious, riotous and WAY over the top – this is a comedy for AICN types. It is, however, rooted in reality enough to never get to the level of silliness that something like Crank does, and feels closer to something like Snatch without the accents. The comedy is almost entirely character driven or dependant on how over the top the gore and violence gets. And boy howdy does this little fucker get violent. If you have issues with blood and gore onscreen, this movie is absolutely, positively not for you. Blood and limbs find their way splattered all over the hotel set over the course of 90 minutes in some pretty spectacular ways. High caliber bullets, chainsaws, metal spikes, shotguns, pistols – you fucking name it. This film is a checklist of all the ways to unsafely remove fingers, limbs and eyes. And I hope to god you don’t get too attached to many of the main characters – because they become surprisingly expendable roughly fifteen minutes into the movie. Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that this is devoid of the sharp intelligence and visual acuity that Carnahan has shown us previously. There’s a fine art to making an over the top film as entertaining as this – and this is clearly the work of someone who knows exactly what the fuck they’re doing. This isn’t mindless. It’s not just a collection of cool characters foisted together in a slapdash manner and left to their own goofy ends. This is a carefully woven ballet of cinematic bloodletting – a carefully sculpted effort of crime filmmaking that becomes one hell of a loud clusterfuck of a climax. Yes. This really is an hour and a half of gratuitous, violent entertainment. And no, it’s not going to garner heaps of awards or critical acclaim. It is a fun, explosive ride that will be one hell of a good time – if this is your sort of thing. I dug the shit out of it and absolutely can’t wait to see it again. But it certainly isn’t going to set the critic world aflame, and many will complain that Carnahan has just spent all the juice and capital he earned with his previous efforts – but by the same token, he’s gonna get himself a whole lotta geek love and devotion from loyalists to this kind of filmmaking. Probably the most fun you’re gonna have in theatres this January, this comes Highly Recommended to anyone that has a deep seeded love for at least most of the films I mentioned...and definitely Strongly Ill-Advised for anyone that hates violent films or thinks that Quentin Tarantino is one of the worst things to ever happen to the filmmaking world. While I certainly don’t think this is a niche film, it really is going to have its chorus of loud detractors ready to eviscerate it for being senseless entertainment. And frankly, that’s why I want to celebrate the beautiful, gory little thing. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
ENGLISH MOTHER FUCKER! DO YOU SPEAK IT?!? Cause, you know, if you do, you could always e-mail me here. Or something.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:42 a.m. CST


    by TheBlackKnight

    This movie is going to be spastic joy.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Oh God, Boondock Saints was awful

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    That said, I'm still looking forward to this one. Thanks for the review, Mr Wyrm.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    I read this twice but I"m still not sure. So if I like Tarantino's stuff, then I won't like this? Is that right? Or is it the other way around...

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:50 a.m. CST

    i'm sold...

    by Buzzsawlenny

    critics be damned...every film that previews doesn't have to be "the Godfather" some are just fun....and thats what this sounds like...i'm in

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:49 a.m. CST

    hell yes

    by Buffalo500

    if it’s a cross between Scott, Avery & Tarantino I am most definitely there....

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 10:51 a.m. CST

    um, has nobody seen Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane?

    by Jarek

    Everyone keeps referencing Narc and how Smoking Aces is a departure into new territory for Carnahan...... it simply isn't true. He made a pretty fun post-Tarantino flick before Narc called Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane... all shot on 16mm, but way, way over the top and fun. Seek it out.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:10 a.m. CST

    'Stick It' was very post-'Blue Crush'

    by Spandau Belly

    and V for Vendetta was very post-Kurt Wimmer.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:14 a.m. CST

    There's Post-Tarantino Gold and Post-Tarantino Crap.

    by Nice Marmot

    Everyone's got to judge for themselves. I've been put off by the previews so far. I've seen super-hip, I've seen violence for the sake of violence, I just haven't heard enough of the dialogue or humor. Will have to wait & see.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Troy Duffy?

    by sevadro

    How does Troy Duffy get on any list of talented directors?

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Anybody who puts Domino...

    by PwnedByStallone

    on the same shelf as Pulp Fiction sucks cock by choice, just like Massawyrm does.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Bjork's 3rd album was Post-Post

    by Spandau Belly

    and Boutros-Boutros Gali loved it!

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Tom Sizemore needs more work!

    by kinghenryVIII

    As a bit character in True Romance, I loved the guy. And the Domino remark nails - chuggin' fucking cobb by choice - jeez - fucking thing gave me a head ache for a week. Man on Fire - the way it was shot - worked, but this shit was shit. "Ah, no, go back" "Ah, wait - jump forward" Give the camera to the EPILEPTIC. TELL THE FUCKING STORY ALREADY! I'll rent this.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Sounds bad

    by CherryValance

    As much as I love Affleck and Bateman I think I'll pass. Looks like another January of catching up on Oscar bait.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, noon CST

    PwnedbySly ...

    by fenario80

    Ah, but you can be sure the reverse corollary is not true; i.e., not everyone who sucks cock would put that POS (or Boondock Saints, or KILLING ZOEY!?!, fer chrissakes) on the same shelf with Guy and Quentin. You be giving us cocksuckers a bad name here ...

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:59 a.m. CST

    If this movie is half as cool as it's trailer..

    by StovetopStuffin'

    Then I am so very much there! And Troy Duffy is indeed a very talented director/writer. Unfortunately he's also a complete prick from what we've seen in Overnight.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    it's a rental

    by just pillow talk

    I'll see it for what it's worth, hoping to catch some good shoot-outs/killings/funky characters.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST

    King Henry

    by Massawyrm 1

    That editing wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Domino is a story being told by someone still tripping on Copious amounts of Mescaline, would it? It's an experimental action film - which is what I love about it.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Boondock Saints

    by DirkD13"

    Is that the film that was made by the nutter who got his head so far up his own ass that Harvey Weinstein removed it for him??

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST

    DOMINO = way underrated

    by Harry Weinstein

    I think it's the FREDDY GOT FINGERED of its particular year, where most of the audience simply didn't "get" what the filmmaker was going for, and critics were drooling for the chance to rip it to shreds. DOMINO takes Tony Scott's own addiction to digital editing tricks, contextualizes it inside a reasonable framework (lead character wasted on mescaline tells her story to the cops), and proceeds to go nuts with it. If anything I find DOMINO almost too restrained and low-key for what it's setting out to do.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 1:37 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't put DOMINO on the same shelf as PULP FICTION

    by Harry Weinstein

    It goes on a different shelf with TIME & TIDE, TOO MANY WAYS TO BE #1, THE NEST, RUN LOLA RUN, JIANG HU: THE TRIAD ZONE (not to be confused with JIANG HU; if it's not THE TRIAD ZONE, you don't want it), and Guy Ritchie's REVOLVER.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Boondock Saints

    by Lando Griffin

    I attempted to watch that a couple weeks ago when it was on cable out of curiosity - I couldn't get past the terrible acting and changed the channel. What garbage.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST


    by QuinnTheEskimo

    I love Tarantino films. I love all of them. And I think Smokin' Aces looks like fun. But can someone please explain to me why in the name of God so many people love the Boondock Saints. What a truly awful film. It's like something Tarantino would write if he had brain damage. It in no way deserves to be the cult classic that it is. Everybody loves this film and I don't fucking get it.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Boondock Saints

    by Bob of the Shire

    Terrible. Just terrible.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 2:57 p.m. CST

    About the films on that shelf

    by BannedOnTheRun

    I'd put True Romance at the top, slightly above Pulp Fiction and way the hell above everything else. Tony Scott's one of the few directors who makes each punch looks like it really fuckin' hurts. See also The Last Boy Scout.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Re: Boondock Saints

    by Harry Weinstein

    No fucking clue as to why otherwise sensible people like this awful movie. Guess it's the Ron Jeremy factor.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST


    by BannedOnTheRun

    Heidi Fleiss. And don't forget Strange Days.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 4:18 p.m. CST

    killing zoe?

    by carpemundus

    this is gonna be good, but killing zoe isnt in the same class as the rest of these. domino either - there was a firefight!!!

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 5:41 p.m. CST


    by QuinnTheEskimo

    I really hate the Boondock Saints. It actually makes me angry. The fact that so many people love a movie that is so bad makes me want to put a gun in my mouth.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 7 p.m. CST


    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    omg dude, i thought i was the only one who remembered Mean Guns haha <P> and yes Boondock Saints is over-rated. Rocco is kinda funny and Dafoe makes me laugh but the action is meh <P> smoking aces looks great...reminds me of a japanese flick called "Sharkskin Man and Peach Hip Girl"...check it out if u can find it

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Boondock Saints sucked cock by choice....

    by Jimmy Jazz

    God, what a smug piece of detritus thyat was. The favorable comparison to that piece of crap does nothing for me. But Domino was a sorely underrated film that I feel will be reapraised in the future. The favorable comparison to Smoking Aces piques my interest. SO there is that. Then there is the fact that Blood, Guts......and Narc kicked ass in their own special ways. The guy is batting 1000 in my back. I will be there opening weekend

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm reviews SMOKIN' ACES!

    by QuinnTheEskimo

    And evidently no one gives a shit. This is the smallest talkback I've ever seen. The other day when Herc said, "Don't write in this talkback" more people responded.

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST

    for the record

    by Vern

    From Massawyrm's list, I hated DOMINO, BOONDOCK SAINTS, SNATCH, and especially fucking DOMINO. Even without the most annoying editing of all time that movie would be garbage. I mean how do you make a movie about a real person who is a bounty hunter and the daughter of a movie star - and then you make it not about bounty hunting and it doesn't matter at all that she's the daughter of a movie star? Talk about a missed opportunity.<p> (By the way, I hated NATURAL BORN KILLERS too but "it's a representation of our oversaturated media culture" is a better reason for that type of editing than "dude, she's on mescaline it's trippy.")<p> Anyway, despite hating all those movies I did enjoy SMOKIN' ACES. It's not like Tarantino at all, it's like Guy Ritchie, but I think the characters have a little more resonance or something. Still, it's hugely flawed, especially in the end when they throw in the gratuitous plot twists and backstory.<p> The moral of the story is, you don't have to like all these movies. Many reasonable people will hate this one while liking some of the other ones, others might enjoy this more than some of those. (Especially fucking DOMINO. Jesus, you people.)

  • Jan. 3, 2007, 11:44 p.m. CST

    "Not like Tarantino at all, it's like Guy Ritchie"

    by conniebrean1

    Ritchie just trys to be the English Tarantino. And fails. Also, Swept Away is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:17 a.m. CST

    For the record

    by Massawyrm 1

    I don't even love all of the movies in the list. But those are the arguable Post-Tarantino "classics" - the ones that are loved and discussed and argued. And all referred to together. For everyone that loathes Boondock Saints to the core - there's a Saint in waiting ready to kick his ass. And for every, like, 20 Domino haters, there's one of us, standing here, getting yelled at by like, 20 people. And called douche bag. We get that alot really. Man do some people fucking hate Domino.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Boondock Saints truly does suck...

    by Junior Frenger

    ...things I'd rather not describe. Boondock Saints really does suck. I don't like some of the other movies mentioned, but I can understand the argument for why people like them. Boondock Saints? Not a fucking clue. That movie is a turd.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:31 a.m. CST

    ...or more to the point.

    by Junior Frenger

    Tarantino could wipe his ass on a greasy paper bag and it would make a better script than Boondock Saints...and I think Tarantino is the most overhyped, overrated filmmaker alive!!!

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Domino. Yes, I'm defending it. Sorry about that.

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    I thought the whole point of Domino was that it was a subjective film where the story takes place very much in the mind of one character - Domino Hahvey (the bounty huntah). Maybe I'm rationalising, but I thought that was one of the few places that Tony Scott's jumpy, annoying style actually worked for the story. She exaggerates, she leaps around in time, she choses what to emphasise - for me, it captured her mindstate pretty well. It's still not a great film, but it doesn't deserve the kicking it gets.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Troy Duffy

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Far and away the best thing about Boondock Saints was that it gave the world the Overnight documentary. If, by some freak accident, I ever get handed everything I ever wanted on a plate, I am going to watch that film again six times so I know what not to do. Way to blow it, Mr Duffy.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 3:11 a.m. CST


    by Yommers

    Because I do have all those great movies you mentioned on the same shelf, love them all, and yet this movie did absolutely nothing for me. The crazy gunfights were pretty entertaining sometimes, but most of the movie was pretty fucking dull for me. I guess I just felt like it was trying too hard to be high and insane. Sucks, I wanted to love it. The .50cal was pretty kickass though.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 5:15 a.m. CST

    "like Snatch without the accent"...........

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    And of course Aces has no accents at all!! Bloody Colonials!!! On the Boondock Saints issue, I have never seen that movie sitting on the rental shelf here in the UK. Was it ever released??

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Big_Bubbaloola - Boondock Saints in the UK

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    I rented Overnight, the documentary about Troy Duffy, from my local Blockbuster and Boondock Saints came with it as a bonus disc. BS is not a good film, but once you've watched Overnight (which I recommend), you pretty much have to watch the film, if only out of morbid curiosity.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 7:49 a.m. CST

    How Domino could have been less terrible

    by Spandau Belly

    I also found this film really annoying, but I think if they'd trimmed it down to 90 minutes it wouldn't have grated on people as much. Going past 2 hours? That's asking a lot when you've got a whizbang edit every half a second. I felt like I'd been in a blender when that movie ended.<br>Just to be clear, I don't think I would ever have liked Domino, but I think it could've avoid such negative press with a by keeping it short.

  • Jan. 4, 2007, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Franklin - Thanks matey. I will seek it out.

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    I have heard very good things about the documentary. Empire mag raved about it. Apparantly Duffy stiffed his god given opportunity rather spectacularly. I think the Empire reviewer actually wanted to nut punch Troy after watching it!!!!!!