Man, do I love Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven.”
It’s a layered but satisfying heist movie, a buddy movie, an easy revenge picture, and an all-around good time. Sure, you’re rooting for the criminals, but that’s what movies are for.
I wish I was reviewing that movie instead.
“Ocean’s Thirteen” is a lot like the first movie; a casino owner, Willy Bank (Al Pacino, mugging it up as usual), has wronged Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), the moneybags of the trilogy, nearly killing him, so the band, led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), gets back together to ruin Bank’s newest casino and rob of him of millions.
To do that, they’ll have to recruit some new team members, bypass an impossible-to-fool security system, pull off several long-cons, and get out with no traces of their presence (you know, like in every heist movie).
Not a bad setup, but a big part of what made the first story so fun was getting to meet the characters for the first time. Here, we are thrust into the action midstream, and while I normally applaud that sort of thing, here it just feels overdone.
That’s basically my problem with “Thirteen” (and to be fair, “Ocean’s Twelve” too). We’ve seen what came before, we’ve watched them pull off the impossible, and by now we can spot all the tricks coming.
It’s such a waste too; the cast is still solid, but there’s no more fun to be had. The effortless charm of “Eleven” has evaporated, and all we’re left with is a film that’s trying (and failing) to recapture the glory days of the first movie.
Let’s hope there’s not an “Ocean’s Fourteen” around the corner.
“Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007)
Written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring: George Clooney (Danny Ocean)
Brad Pitt (Rusty Ryan)
Al Pacino (Willy Bank)
Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould)