Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball Misses the Target
In 2006, Joe Carnahan unleashed the psychedelic Smokinâ€™ Aces upon audiences, developing a cult following that unfortunately never formulated for his previous, much-better cop thriller Narc. Apparently, Smokinâ€™ Aces was good enough to warrant a sequel â€“ or at least a prequel â€“ because Smokinâ€™ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball has now arrived on DVD and Blu-Ray. As can be expected, the movie is horrible and a waste of time.
To set things straight, the original Smokinâ€™ Aces wasnâ€™t that good. It wasnâ€™t bad, but it wasnâ€™t that good, either. A victim of its own hype, it lacked the memorable action sequences â€“ and a single meaningful protagonist â€“ for a movie like that to succeed. So, when a direct-to-DVD release was announced, there was little question as to how good it would be.
Assassins’ Ball has a plot that has something to do with a federal witness being placed in a maximum security safe room somewhere underground (the creative bastards really mixed things up this time, as the last one took place on the top floor of a Vegas hotel), and a bunch of assassins whoâ€™ve been hired to kill him. The assassins belong to the Tremor family, which include that absolutely insane trio from the first movie. Awesome. Only not.
The plot really doesnâ€™t matter and apparently we arenâ€™t met to care, as the writers clearly didnâ€™t. The movie is a jumbled mess, and even at an hour and a half (and thatâ€™s the extended, unrated version) really has to draw things out to provide some apparition of a narrative. Once again, the characters are one-dimensional and unlikable; in the few minutes that actually grab the attention, itâ€™s unclear who to root for.
Without a decent plot or screenplay, Assassins’ Ball must rely on the action, and the action is terrible. There are a few gunfights, but nothing really happens until about halfway into the movie â€“ and by that point, most people will have turned it off. The action that does ensue is both sporadic and uninspiring; director P.J. Pesce takes â€œcoolâ€ shots and styles from other, better movies and replicates them here while failing to capture any sense of suspense or set up.
Smokinâ€™ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball had potential, just not as anything that should ever be seen by audiences. This was a pointless sequel that has little to no merit.