Smokin’ Aces DVD review

Indulgent, luridly mounted actioner with Jeremy Piven

(PG15) US. Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Alicia Keys

This indulgent, luridly mounted actioner sees Hollywood golden boy Jeremy Piven horribly miscast as the crestfallen Buddy ‘Aces’ Israel, a coke-addled Vegas showman and FBI informant turned sitting duck as he waits for one of a number of eccentric mercenaries to bust down his door and fulfil a hit.

Just as Carnahan’s previous Narc paid homage to ’70s cop thrillers such as The French Connection, with Smokin’ Aces he’s chosen to salute the kitsch, style-over-substance chase comedies of the ’80s, making this a poor man’s Midnight Run.

The film’s whimsicality is a big step back for the director, who shows he has little handle over anything bar garish action set-pieces, replacing narrative structure and character development with Ben Affleck in a barrow-boy hat and Andy Garcia as an FBI chief with a bizarre accent. On the plus side, Jason Bateman supplies an amusing cameo as a drink-addled lawyer, and there’s a soulful turn from Alicia Keys as a slinky assassin. Other than that, it’s just a big old mess.

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