Thursday, January 13, 2011

Smokin' Aces 2: Assassin's Ball (2010)

In the world of straight to DVD movies, you have to really be careful. Sure, you'll sometimes run into something that wins you over, but more often than not that's not the case. The same can rarely be said for straight to DVD sequels of movies that played in theaters. While there have been exceptions (the sequels for "Undisputed" for example), what you normally get is a cynical cash grab and nothing more. So, does the sequel to "Smokin' Aces" fit into the cynical cash grab category? Answer: Yes. Yes it does.

Walter Weed (Tom Berenger) is a desk jockey without much going on in his life. That is, until the FBI finds out that there's a plot to assassinate him. Among them are sexy Ariella Martinez (Martha Higareda), who has a unique way of dispatching villains, the tough as nails Finbar McTeague (Vinnie Jones), and the Neo-Nazi family the Tremors. So, why are they after him? Or is all as it seems?

To be fair, "Smokin' Aces 2" does have a game cast whose up for anything. Sure, it's not the high profile case of the original, but it's the best the straight to DVD market can get. The problem though, is that many of them feel underused. Sure, Jones and Higareda do a good job, but we aren't given much time to learn anything about them other than they had a thing going on, and the plot twist nearing the end. Speaking of which, said twist is just terrible on so many levels. There were complaints about the twist in the original movie, but that was nothing compared to the head smacker we get here. Hell, they would have almost gotten away with it if there was something there to care about.

That's the films biggest problem. There's nothing there. I know, it's a direct to DVD sequel, but it doesn't do anything to justify it's existence. Hell, it's obvious because it tries so many attempts at being subversive and edgy, but it tries way to hard in that case. There's nothing I hate more than poor attempts at wackiness and edginess, and when that's all the movie has going for it, why should anybody care? The moment we got exploding circus clowns and a shootout set to the music of Evanescence, I just about gave up.

In the world of direct to DVD sequels, you can certainly do worse than this. That's no excuse for the movie though, which is nothing more than a heartless trudge of excess and pointlessness that offers very little to the table.

Rating: 2/10

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