Friday, February 12, 2010

Smokin' Aces 2: Assassin's Ball - 2.5/5

Sigh. Sigh sigh sigh. Really, when you have something as stylistically fun as the original "Smokin Aces" and give it a franchise of 'let's use the same idea and just follow killer hit men around', how could you go wrong? Well, in all honesty, you go wrong by trying to go right and that's the blunder that "Smokin Aces 2: Assassin's Ball" makes.

Weed is an FBI desk jockey that ends up on the wrong end of an assassination contract. With the help of his FBI coherts they strike a plan to keep him safe until the contract expires. Unknown to them, a handful of assassins are already on the job and looking to score big. That's not the only issue as it would seem everything else is connected in ways the FBI has only inklings about.

"Smokin Aces" wasn't the brilliant film that many cult fanatics made it out to be, but it was damn fun to watch with its fantastical premise, wonderful visuals, over the top characters, and epilepsy inducing editing. What befalls our beloved sequel is that it tries desperately to regain that odd charisma of the first, but is unable to blend the parts together this time around.

At times, "Smokin Aces 2" feels almost too campy, for example, although the idea of strapping dynamite to clowns and blasting them into a building might seem awesome it comes across as a bit too much like violent Looney Tunes for its own good. Yet 5 minutes later, the film almost gets too serious with its back story of what it takes to be a patriot to the country and family issues. I like both sides, the ridiculous over the top action and ridiculous assassins and the serious Thriller like covert ops backing plot, but never do the two blend all that well. We spend way too much time on both when a focus on one or the other would have done the film wonders.

We also have far too many characters to really give a rat's ass about. We spend quite a chunk of the film burning a light coating of back story for each assassin when in the end most of them turn into 2D caricatures of what they should be. The acting doesn't help a whole lot as most of them are given scraps of what should be solid acting foundations and only a few characters actually chew with what they have (our lead FBI man for example).

Stylistically its snazzy and comic bookish in visual style, but the substance behind it doesn't make the cut. Again, its a fun watch that just has far too many flaws for its own good and it makes this one sit on the dead end of its contract. It needed to make a focus decision but never got around to it. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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