Picks and Pans Review: Smokin' Aces

UPDATED 02/05/2007 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/05/2007 at 01:00 AM EST

Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Alicia Keys, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia

CRIME

You'll likely experience a time-warp sensation upon viewing—only if you must—Smokin' Aces, an ensemble shoot-'em-up that echoes 1994's Pulp Fiction and the endless stream of inferior carbon copies that cluttered multiplexes for the next decade. This latest knock-off, written and directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, a much more compelling film), boasts all the obligatory ingredients: a star-studded cast, gore galore and rat-a-tat-tat, jokey tough-guy dialogue. All of which totals up to a profound yawn.

The confused plot has to do with competing assassins (including Chris Pine and Keys) who want to keep a Las Vegas entertainer turned mobster (Piven) from squealing to the feds. At the same time, FBI agents (Reynolds and Liotta) are frantically trying to prevent the hit. Aces plays like a brightly colored cartoon on fast-forward. The actors whiz by, hamming it up, and then disappear. (R)
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