Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) Review

Ocean's Thirteen (2007) Review
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) Review 1
Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Actor(s): George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon
Running Time: 122 min
CGM Editors Choice

What do you know? A sequel with a three in it that’s genuinely satisfying and complimentary to the original. Ocean and his crew of cons come back in style with 13, washing away any bitter after taste following the supremely underwhelming Ocean’s 12. Actually, better is a rather strong word, as the film was mildly entertaining, but the previous film seemed to spend a lot of time talking about a heist rather then ever actually showing us the heist being done. (Except for the montage at the end of course.)

Fear not fans, because this Ocean is all about the heist and a return trip to Vegas sets the perfect stage for the group’s scheme which involves revenge against casino owner Willie Banks (Al Pacino) after he double-crosses one of the eleven. Rueben (Elliot Gould) lies in bed after suffering a heart attack, and soon the rest of the gang arrives at his bedside to plot out how they’re going to bankrupt Banks on the night of the grand opening of his new hotel/casino resort. Despite their initial zeal, the crew soon finds themselves in need of extra financial backing and are forced to turn to Banks’ enemy and their’s Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). With their cons in place, Ocean’s Eleven must insure that Banks looses half a billion in three-and-a-half minutes.

Thirteen is closer in relation to Eleven in ways far beyond just the relocation back to Vegas. The film gets us right into the heist and occupies us constantly with several side scams and red herrings including a hilarious bit where the Malloy brothers (Scott Caan and Casey Affleck) lead a worker revolt in a Mexico factory where they’re supposed to be loading the dice for the casino scam. Director Steven Soderbergh thankfully pairs down the cast list and puts the focus on Danny’s crew, Benedict, Banks and Banks’ assistant Abigail (Ellen Barkin). The absence of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones is explained away with a single line of dialogue, although there are a few cameos from characters from the first two Oceans’ that are too good to spoil.

Thirteen is blissfully zippy as it moves from set-up to set-up and con to con, where as Twelve always seemed like it was taking its time to get somewhere it never went to. Everyone has their part to play in the scam and everyone gets their chance to shine as they execute their share. Remember when Bernie Mac’s Frank gets thrown in jail halfway through Twelve and is not heard from until the very end? Or how Carl Reiner’s Saul bows out of the caper early only to return in the crew’s hour of need in the end? Well, there’s none of that in Thirteen, it is a much more focused effort, this time out. I have to say that Ocean’s Twelve looked like an awful lot of fun to work on, but to describe what the actors did in that movie as work may be too strong a word to use.

I really enjoyed Ocean’s Thirteen a lot. It was light and breezy, while being fun and exciting; why it’s everything that a summer movie should be and everything that a lot of movies this summer haven’t been. If this is the end of the Ocean’s series then that’s fine, I can live with that now that there’s been a do over. But if Soderbergh, Clooney and the gang can keep up this level of quality then why not bring on Ocean’s Fourteen for 2010.

Final Thoughts

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