Smokin' Aces

Featured In Issue 121, June 2007

WSR Score2
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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For strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity, and drug use
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Dual Side/Dual Layer (HD DVD30/DVD9)
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Joe Carnahan
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When magician Buddy "Aces" Israel (Piven) agrees to turn state's evidence against the mob, the FBI take him into protective custody. But with hit men, assassins, bounty hunters, and ex-cons all planning on Smokin' Aces, he will have to work some special kind of magic in order to stay alive. (Tricia Spears)

Special features include commentary with Writer/Director Joe Carnahan and Editor Robert Frazen; commentary with Carnahan, Common, Christopher Holley, and Zach Cumer; four deleted and extended scenes; outtakes (SD 09:29); a "Cowboy" ending (SD 01:05); a look at the assassins of Smokin' Aces in The Lineup (HD 13:27); the featurettes The Big Gun (SD 11:54) and Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts & Effects (HD 04:53); a My Scenes feature that is available to watch while the film is playing; D-BOX Motion Code™; BD-Live interactivity; and U-Control™ interactive features.

The highly contrasted, anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD can look vibrant and highly detailed, but there are times when it looks rather soft. Colors generally look natural, but fleshtones have an orange hue that removes from its naturalness. Edge enhancement is noticeable but does not become a huge distraction. The HD DVD's VC-1-encoded picture improves upon the black levels and overall detail, even in the shadows, over the DVD, and, generally, the details are very well defined. Unfortunately, this level of detail is not consistent throughout the presentation. Still, textures are, expectedly, much better defined than in the DVD, and colors really pop from the screen without any bleeding. This is an enjoyable picture. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack uses each of the available channels quite frequently for both effects and music, but effects can be delivered at such high levels that it can drown out dialogue at times. The LFE channel is incorporated well when needed—which is often—and delivers pounding, tight bass into the room. Fidelity is good, although not pristine, but a high-pitched hum can be heard at times, which can be a distraction. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding has a slight increase in overall fidelity when compared to the DVD, which is noticeable in the tighter bass and more fluid dialogue. (Danny Richelieu)