Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball - Review
JOE Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces was a violent guilty pleasure of a movie that boasted a top-drawer ensemble cast (Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Piven, et al) blowing seven bells out of each other.
Its pointless sequel, again produced by Carnahan and directed by P.J. Pesce, features a B-list cast (Tom Berenger, Vinnie Jones, Clayne Crawford) in a derivative plot that’s merely attempting to cash in on the success of the original, albeit for the straight-to-DVD market.
Hopelessly violent, utterly nonsensical and half-heartedly performed, it’s a weary excuse for some exaggerated gunplay that even feels overlong at just under 90 minutes. The only connection from the original, meanwhile, is the presence of one of the same deadly assassins.
The plot finds a wheelchair-bound FBI researcher named Walter Weed (Berenger) targeted for assassination by some of the world’s deadliest criminals days before retirement.
With the assistance of a dedicated FBI agent (Crawford) he is placed in protective custody in the underground lair of a “cover bar”, while a select band of fellow agents await the arrival of the various assassins and attempt to put a stop to them.
Pesce, whose previous credits include From Dusk ‘Til Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, Sniper 3 and The Lost Boys 2: The Tribe, attempts to gain some fun by finding all manner of ludicrous ways of introducing his various assassins, such as having Martha Higareda pose as a sexy, stockings and suspender-clad killer nun to dispose of a predatory priest.
And he shows some tongue-in-cheek sickness by having a deranged family of killers fire midget clowns strapped with explosives into an FBI bar.
But in the main, such scenarios flirt with the boundaries of good taste and have no real excuse for being, while a ‘twist’ ending aspires to The Usual Suspects style cleverness without ever coming close to reaching it.
The performances, meanwhile, are pretty insipid, with Berenger looking bored, Crawford lacking any leading man charisma and Vinnie Jones playing, well, Vinnie Jones as usual.
Come the blood-soaked finale, you’ll have had more than enough of this tedious cash-in.
Running time: 88mins
UK DVD and Blu-ray Release: January 25, 2010