Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball Misses the Target

Bikini girl in Smokin Aces 2In 2006, Joe Carnahan unleashed the psychedelic Smokin’ Aces upon audiences, developing a cult following that unfortunately never formulated for his previous, much-better cop thriller Narc. Apparently, Smokin’ Aces was good enough to warrant a sequel – or at least a prequel – because Smokin’ 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 Smokin’ Aces wasn’t that good. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good, either. A victim of its own hype, it lacked the memorable action sequences – and a single meaningful protagonist – 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 who’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 doesn’t matter and apparently we aren’t met to care, as the writers clearly didn’t. The movie is a jumbled mess, and even at an hour and a half (and that’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, it’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 – 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 “cool” shots and styles from other, better movies and replicates them here while failing to capture any sense of suspense or set up.

Smokin’ 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.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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