• Publication date: September 23, 2011

His Life is Worth a Million & They're Going to Take It Smokin' Aces: Get Caught in the Crossfire

Buddy 'Aces' Israel (Jeremy Piven) sat from the sidelines for years and watched big time criminals make millions. He aspired to become like them, but lacked the necessary skill to pull off masterful schemes. Inevitably he was caught by authorities and faced a lengthy stay in jail. Buddy wasn't above selling out his criminal associates however, including mob boss Primo Sparazza (Joseph Ruskin). When Sparazza gets word that Israel plans to testify against him and many other mobsters in court, he places a million dollar bounty on his life. A simple shot to the head will not satisfy this Mafioso though: Sparazza demands that the assassin remove Buddy's heart and bring it to him.

Buddy 'Aces' Israel (Jeremy Piven) sat from the sidelines for years and watched big time criminals make millions. He aspired to become like them, but lacked the necessary skill to pull off masterful schemes. Inevitably he was caught by authorities and faced a lengthy stay in jail. Buddy wasn't above selling out his criminal associates however, including mob boss Primo Sparazza (Joseph Ruskin). When Sparazza gets word that Israel plans to testify against him and many other mobsters in court, he places a million dollar bounty on his life. A simple shot to the head will not satisfy this Mafioso though: Sparazza demands that the assassin remove Buddy's heart and bring it to him.

While a long line of hopeful hit men (in addition to a pair of hit women) plan their attacks, the FBI hides Israel in a Lake Tahoe penthouse suite. The location is merely temporary until he testifies against his partners in organized crime; after that Buddy will enter the federal witness protection program and assume a brand new identity. Somehow, however, the narc's hideout is identified and the hunt begins. FBI agents do their best to keep his adversaries away, though they are no match against the professional executioners who eventually breach hotel security.

Yet before anyone can reach Israel they will have to beat the competition, all of whom are ruthless killers unafraid of bloodshed. The ultimate goal is to bump off Buddy, assuming the hit men do not kill each other first. Still not everything is what it seems, and the line between good and bad reverses, blurs, and shifts into an unexpected surprise after all the dust settles.

Fans of Quentin Tarantino's flicks like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs that blend dark comedy with dramatic stories and oddball characters should feel at home. Beautiful songstress Alicia Keys makes her motion picture debut, alongside rapper Common who is also featured on the soundtrack. Music throughout the film is varied across genres and eras including tracks from Wu-Tang Clan member the GZA, 70s rock outfit Mot�rhead, and protopunk group The Stooges.

Smokin' Aces was filmed under the constraints of a $17 million budget and earned an impressive $57 at theaters. Its DVD release garnered an additional $35 million. Public response to the film resulted in a prequel entitled Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball.

Year: 2006

Duration: 109 minutes

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring:

Ryan Reynolds,

Jeremy Piven,

Ray Liotta

Andy Garcia

Alicia Keys

Ben Affleck

Common

Director: Joe Carnahan

Rating: Rated R for graphic violence, explicit language, some nudity, and drug use.