WTF Happened to Smokin’ Aces (2006)?

Joe Carnahan is considered one of the most fiercely independent directors in Hollywood today. Bursting onto the scene with Narc, it served as a cinematic calling card that landed him on the A-list as far as directors go, but rather than accept projects that felt compromised to him, he would step down if he thought he wasn’t a good fit. This happened with Mission: Impossible III, and it happened with the Death Wish reboot. He chose to make films that were personal to him, and while the results have sometimes been mixed, many (us here at JoBlo included) consider his movie, The Grey, to be a masterpiece. Of his films, one that’s always had a mixed reaction but is developing a cult following is 2006’s Smokin’ Aces.

Smokin’ Aces is an interesting film to revisit. It was an early action role for a young Ryan Reynolds, who leads the ensemble cast as an FBI agent tasked with protecting a high-profile snitch named Buddy Israel, played by Jeremy Piven at the height of his fame on entourage. A who’s who of assassins descend on the Lake Tahoe resort that he’s holed up in. The movie provides early roles for Common, Alicia Keys, Joel Edgerton, and most notably, Chris Pine, who went from this to starring as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot. The cast also included vets like Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia and more.

While not an immediate hit, the film was a smash on home video, earning a DTV prequel, and has since become a favorite in the crime genre to fans. In this episode of WTF Happened to this Movie, we take a look at the story behind Smokin’ Aces and how Carnahan came to direct this comic action mashup. This episode of WTF Happened to this Movie is written by Brad Hamerly, narrated by Mathew Plale, edited by Jeremy Hamley and produced by Ben Cantler. Watch previous episodes below and let us know what you think of Smokin’ Aces in the comments!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.