Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball full movie review - A sequel to Aces could have been great. This isn't.
I must admit, despite being lukewarm to it at first, Smokin Aces 1 became one of my favourite bad movies. Lots of shooting, random cool characters and kinetic energy, despite the second half not being as awesome as it could have been.
Smokin Aces 2 took basically the same concept, a bunch of assassins after a single target, and takes a lot of the life of it. While I didn't like the first much either the first time, I highly doubt 2 will get better if I have the misfortune of seeing it again.
When I say Aces 2 has the same concept, I mean down to the last detail almost. A hit is put out on desk jockey Walter Weed, and a large group of high profile assassins come out of hiding to attempt to score the bounty on his head. A protagonist FBI agent (even with the same goatee) is assigned to protect him, and not all is quite as it seems. Even some of the twists (notably the end scene, which is awesome anyways I must admit) are right out of the book of Aces 1. That being said, I really did like the plot twist at the end regarding who set up the hit, even if the leadup was a bit convoluted. I just wish it was used in a better movie.
But this is straight-to-DVD fare, so who needs that much of a plot? Aces 1 was such a cool concept, trying it again can't hurt. However, that would rely on having new cool assassins, and this bunch falls flat. The sole spot of awesomeness is Tommy Flanagan reprising his role from the first as Lazlow Soot, master of disguise. Vinnie Jones is an amazing actor for a movie like this, but his character is unimpressive (his introcutory scene comes across as Saw-like almost) and his screen time is far too short. A female assassin is brought in as sex appeal, but is otherwise useless.
Then there's the Tremors, who made the first movie for some. Except this time, only one of the originals returns, Maury Sterling (aka the unmemorable one). Gone are Chris Pine's psychotic laments and Kevin Durand's intimidating bullheadedness with a chainsaw. They are replaced with a new brother, a sister and the father. Michael Parks is suitable as Fritz Tremor, although more of him would have been welcomed. Baby Boy Tremor is just annoyingly dull, like something out of a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. AK-47 Tremor is possibly the worst movie character ever imagined, an annoying little woman whose sole moment in the film is when she is shot in the head (spoilers anyone?). That and they contribute the most head-shakingly bad weapon ever: exploding clowns.
The direction in the film tries hard to be like the first, involving lots of 24-style splitscreens, which can be cool at times but messy at others. The action scenes are an exercise in getting stuff blown up and minor characters offed quickly. At least the one time someone goes into the fray guns blazing, things end badly, causing me immense laughter at the stupidity.
Aces 2 has its entertaining moments, but overall its a mess of a movie that pales to the original. Aces 1 surely had a concept that could be reused and possibly done better, but Aces 2 just confirms that its not as easy as it looks.
Someone give Tommy Flanagan a better role.