When you make a (meager) living watching movies and then writing about them, you see a lot, a lot, a lot of movies. Many of them are crap. Many of those crappy films get crappy sequels. Whether it’s just part of the job or a facet of my masochism, I greedily eat up all the sequels, even to movies I didn’t like. Case in point, Smokin Aces 2, the sequel to the obviously named Smokin Aces, a film which I thought was a jumbled mess of action and, ultimately, a failure on the entertaining front. What I learned from the sequel, and many terrible sequels before it, is that entering the experience with low expectations is a godsend. So, as you may have gleaned, Smokin Aces 2 isn’t good. But how bad is it, really?
The experience depends on your ability to disconnect the logic center of your brain from your eyes and ears. If you try to care, or follow, everything that happens on screen, you’re going to be full of spite when it’s over. In terms of plot, the story is even more of a mess than the first. As near as I can care to tell, Smokin Aces 2 is what happens when you try to carbon copy the first film and come up with a story involving FBI traitors and an unlikely number of ill-trained assassins.
Putting on my serious hat for just one second, the FBI takes one of their data analysts (Tom Berenger) deep underground to protect him for a mysterious villain who has hired roughly ten assassins to kill said analyst. Technically a prequel to the first film, you’ll see a few familiar faces, notably Lestor Tremor (joined by completely different family members) and Lazlo Soot, the face changing assassin.
The new assassins might as well be faceless for the most part, though you will recognize Vinnie Jones as The Surgeon and newcomer to action movies Martha Higareda as the insanely hot chick in lingerie.
The good guy this go around is Agent Baker (Clayne Crawford), a by-the-books member of the FBI heading up the task force to keep the data analyst safe.
There’s a perfectly good reason I’m not going in depth with the characters or the acting here: there’s no reason to. As I said, this is the kind of movie where you need to disconnect the thinking side of your brain from the enjoyment side. Who cares who the characters are or why they’re doing what they’re doing? As long as you can recognize who is a bad guy (generally they aren’t wearing suits) and the good guy (generally they are wearing suits), you will understand as much of Smokin’ Aces 2 as you need too.
If you care (again, you shouldn’t) there is a big twist that you’ll see coming and some blather about government assassins, blowback, and secret government programs and retribution. But more importantly than all of that, there are lots and lots of guns. And I mean lots.
There are two big action pieces in the flick. The first is an arms heist relatively early when the Tremor family robs a Naval Arms Depot. On display in the hands of both those good and bad are M4A1 assault rifle. Kaitlyn Tremor bursts on the scene compact 1911 .45 handgun, while Daddy Tremor is sporting some vintage weaponry in the form of a P08 Luger.
That gun-centric scene pales in comparison to the finale: an insane 20-minute shooting sequence that takes place in a bar and the secret underground location. In fact, the entire nonsensical and somewhat boring precession of events preceding the murderous mayhem is worth it just to see all hell break loose .
There are a dozen FBI Agents, all armed with Glock 17s, mixed in with the assassins, each wielding a variety of firearms. The hot chick Arielle is dual wielding Beretta PX4 Storm Compacts, rocking and rolling with 13 rounds of ammunition in each weapon – and she makes sure to empty every last round in the weapons.
The Surgeon has left behind his operating tools in favor of a Gold Plated Taurus PT 92 (aka the pimp edition) while Agent Baker is more sensible with a Ruger GP101 revolver.
Kaitlyn Tremor lets rip with some short-lived bursts from her Czech-made Skorpion Machine Pistols before caching a bullet in the brain pan while big Papa is doing his dirty work with a K3 Paratrooper rifle mocked up to look like an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
In perhaps the biggest flawed gun moment, Baby Boy Tremor is swinging around the GE M-134 MiniGun, spraying bullets all over the damn bar. One agent returning fire has a Mossberg 500 Cruiser with a pistol grip and a short barrel. Rounding out the main weapons we see are a Colt Single Action Army revolver and an RPG-7.
Surprisingly, the weapons handling is alright. For the most part, the characters shoulder the weapons correctly when using long guns. One-handed shooting is the name of the game, but most of these shots miss wildly, which is an accurate representation. The final scene is shot stylishly with plenty of slow motion, yelling and bullet flashes.
Throughout the film characters say things that are supposed to be realistic and smart in terms of firearms, like “Suppressing fire!” or describing how an RPG is not a close-quarters weapon and is dangerous when fired indoors. Of course, that doesn’t stop Tremor from firing the RPG at least three times.
As a film, Smokin’ Aces 2 is slightly below average. If you’re in the mood for some gun porn, you’ll get at least a half-chubby from the ending. Wood that it were more . . .