After giving Smokin’ Aces a second shot not too long ago and disliking it as much as I did the first time around, even I was surprised to find that I was still interested in the direct-to-DVD sequel (originally subtitled Blowback). In the end, even though the film lacks the “Hey look it’s CELEBRITY A” quality or the huge action set pieces the first one has, I think it’s a more competent film all around.
But it does have it’s eyebrow raising “huh” moments. For instance, an FBI agent is in a hotel room on a stake out. He hears something moving in the closet. He leans in and then gets shot. The camera then stays at floor-level and shows the door open and an assassin walks in. How does that work? Did he shoot him through the wall? Did he cock the door open and shoot him, then close the door by the time the camera got over there?
Anyway, the plot of the movie involves an FBI analyst discovering he’s got a 3 million dollar hit out on him that’s open to all kinds of neredowell assassins. The FBI puts him in a bunker under a jazz club in Chicago (though I’ve never seen a less real looking street in my life), trying to wait out the oncoming blitz of bad guys (the contract has a time limit). At first I was pretty impressed with the set-up, thinking it will be some hard work for these assassins (a sexy assassin, Vinnie Jones, the mask-wearing Lazlo Soot and the redneck Tremor family, with one hold over from the first film). How are they going to get into a military grade bunker designed to keep the President safe?
Then, after about 30 minutes, I started getting suspicious of the analyst (who I didn’t realize is actually played by Tom Berenger). Let’s call this a SPOILER WARNING. See, they kind of telegraph this by making these oblique references to playing cards. So, I assumed he put himself in the bunker on purpose, maybe to sell secrets to the assassins or something. It turns out that he was actually bringing them to the bunker to kill them. Now, there’s all this crazy twist stuff as to what his motives really were and who he really was (delivered by Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson looking like an old school Chitown mobster, but playing an agent of a different sort.
So, like it’s successor, the movie gets needlessly confusing at the end with twist upon twist, but the actual final resolution is pretty awesome and goes against what you might expect. All in all, it’s better than I expected from a straight to DVD sequel. There two main shoot outs are solid, but the CGI explosions suck. I like the assassins for the most part except for the Tremors. Haven’t we had enough redneck psychos, especially the giant, man-child one who’s mentally deficient? Ugh, I rarely get offended, but I was mildly offended by him. Their use of circus folk as cannon-propelled explosives is pretty awesome though.
The movie’s uneven and not of the highest quality, but it was worth the watch, though I do wish I didn’t have to waste a disc from Netflix on it and could have watched in on Instant.