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Smokin' Little Movie

Last night, sorta by accident, I wound up watching SMOKIN' ACES. I had heard of it before, but never been interested enough to go out and look for it to rent or anything. By midway through the film, I was so hooked that I told Newell to go on to bed without me, it wasn't quite over.

Now, first of all, I like the genre of GRINDHOUSE meets PULP FICTION. If you don't like gore, shoot-em-ups, and strong language, this isn't your film. If, however, you DO like those things, this is a wonderful little film. It revolves around a washed-up Vegas comic -- Buddy "Aces" Isreal -- who has intel on the Mob and is working on a deal with the Feds.  This sets a team of FBI guys on his tail to get him and bring him in. Then there is the fact that he skipped bail, and that accounts for the bounty hunters... And then there are the several teams of assassins trying to collect on a mob hit reward. By the middle of the film, it just become fascinating to see who is going to survive till the end of the movie.

Jeremy Piven -- someone who I have always felt doesn't get enough credit for his amazing versatility -- turns in one of his most nuanced performances yet (in my opinion) as Buddy Isreal.

Ryan Reynolds actually impressed me as one of the FBI agents -- I usually don't see him as anything more than a likeable, good-looking dude who doesn't really have to do a lot. In this film, he shows some nice subtleties.

Chris Pine sure didn't look like clean-cut Captain Kirk in this film. It showed he has a lot more range than I would have guessed.

In the tradition of a Tarentino film, there are recognizable faces all through this film (Ray Liotta; Ben Affleck; Alicia Keyes...tons more.)

The dialog is snappy and better than many in this genre -- the action looks like John Woo on steroids -- and there are enough blood and bullets to keep Hong Kong happy for a decade. And yet the plot is anything but simplistic, having twists and turns till the very end.

If you couldn't tell -- I loved this movie, and highly recommend it to fellow devotees of the genre. :)

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