Martin Henderson's Forgotten $57M Flop is a Far Cry from Virgin River

Martin Henderson's Forgotten $57M Flop is a Far Cry from Virgin River
Image credit: Universal Pictures, Legion-Media

Virgin River's Jack once engaged in a shootout with Chris Pine's neo-Nazis...


  • Martin Henderson is now one of television's most lovable heartthrobs, but 18 years ago he took on a much darker role.
  • It was an action thriller with elements of the dark comedy Smokin' Aces.
  • Despite moderate commercial success, the film was criticized for its failed attempt to emulate Tarantino.

Murder, blood money, revenge, corruption, gambling, and an incredibly star-studded cast. Such definitions usually fit the films of two directors, Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie. Both auteurs are amazingly adept at providing no small amount of entertaining spectacle, exploiting violence and gore, but delivering more than just shallow sequences of blood and gunfire.

Yes, both seem to revel in yet another star actor's character death, but it's all balanced by a self-aware script that ironizes the brutality in pop culture by making witty references to other similar books and movies.

Martin Henderson, now famous for playing Jack Sheridan, the local handyman, bar owner, vet and just plain charming guy on Netflix 's flagship series Virgin River, once starred in such a movie. Except it was directed not by Tarantino or Ritchie, but by Joe Carnahan, a worthy action-thriller filmmaker whose attempt to emulate the aforementioned two, however, was not well received by everyone.

The movie in question is now a cult favorite among fans of the genre, but it is definitely not as successful an example in Henderson's career as Virgin River. Let's break down what the movie is about and whether it's worth watching in 2024.

What Is the Movie About?

Smokin' Aces is a typical mildly entertaining action thriller movie released in 2006, which featured a great star cast. The movie starred such legends and then rising stars of the big screen and television as Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Andy García, Chris Pine, Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, Néstor Carbonell, Jeremy Piven, Taraji P. Henson and Tommy Flanagan. The film also marks the acting debuts of Common and Alicia Keys.

The plot centers on Las Vegas magician and mob informant (who clearly thinks he's already become a gangster) Buddy Israel, played by Jeremy Piven, who makes a deal with the FBI because a mob boss has started a manhunt for Buddy to bring him the heart of an illusionist. Thus begins a full-scale hunt with a $1 million bounty on his head, but this is not the only party interested in Israel, and the police have their own selfish views on him.

No, we didn't forget to mention Martin Henderson. In the movie he played former vice cop Hollis Elmore, who was hired by a law firm to capture Israel.

Is It That Bad, Though?

While the movie was not a flop at the box office, grossing $57.3 million against a budget of $17 million, it was a flop in terms of critical reception. On Rotten Tomatoes, for example, the film had a score of only 31%. Many professional critics noted that the movie tried too hard to resemble Tarantino's style, but Smokin' Aces was too serious to enjoy the violence on screen.

However, if you want to see something uncomplicated and full of exciting action, the movie will prove to be a good option, considering that Henderson himself, as well as the other actors, delivered an excellent dramatic performance.

Where to Watch the Movie?

Unfortunately, as of February 2024, Smokin' Aces is no longer available for streaming in the USA. However, it can still be rented or purchased. Here's how.

Rent — Smokin' Aces is available to rent on all major platforms including Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu, Microsoft, Google Play and YouTube. The price on each service is the same, $3.99, but only Apple TV, Amazon, Microsoft and Vudu offer the movie in Full HD.

Buy — The same services also offer the option to purchase Smokin' Aces. On almost every platform, a Full HD movie costs $14.99, but Vudu offers the cheapest option at $13.99.