As I left the press screening for Ocean's 13, an
employee of the theater asked me what I thought of the film
and how it compared to Ocean's
12, which he didn't like. I told him I loved Ocean's
12 and immediately saw his eyes glaze over as he tuned
out everything else I said after that.
Ocean's 13 goes back to the formula that made it
one of the cooler film franchises by returning to the bright
lights of Las Vegas, baby. While enjoyable, the third film
in the series proves why this is (and should be) the last
one they make.
Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) is ready to give up the con game and build his own hotel on the Vegas strip. That is until his partner in the deal, Willy Bank (Al Pachino), double crosses him and leaves him broke and hospitalized. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and the rest of his crack team of con men assemble to seek revenge on Willy Bank for what he did to one of their own.
Bank is opening up his newest mega casino, The Bank, and is working hard to make sure everything goes perfectly on opening night. He has the highest rollers, the best chefs, an unbeatable security system and lackeys with enough fear of the Devil in them to follow his every command. It's up to Danny and his crew to break The Bank (pun intended) on opening night by sabotaging everything they can, costing Bank (Pachino) millions in the name of revenge.
Unfortunately Ocean's 13's biggest fault is the script. David Levien and Brian Koppelman who had previously written the excellent scripts for Rounders, Runaway Jury and the TV show Tilt fall into all of the predictable trappings for the Ocean's series.
Having a cast of characters that gets larger with each film has put increasing pressure on script writers to come up with something fresh for each character to do during the film. Too many of the characters are just standing around for the sake of being there in Oceans 13, rather than having something to contribute.
Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones passed on being in the movie this time because it was too hard to work them into the script, but that didn't stop the boys from showing up.
An actor of Don Cheadle's caliber is completely wasted
having only a few scenes with lines and only one of them
memorable because of it being so over the top. Bernie Mack
again gets the short end of the straw after barely being
in Ocean's 12. Everyone seems to forget that his
character was a safecracker in Ocean's 11, while
here he is given the task of jive talking lookout. The day
after I saw the movie I was just disappointed about how
good the movie could have been if not for the lazy, lazy
Another let down is that the ending is a forgone conclusion. The audience knows Danny and his team are going to get their revenge on Willy Bank and at no point are we led to believe otherwise. I can remember seeing Ocean's 12 and actually believing that the team was going to be arrested and that the big heist might not happen. Ocean's 13 pulls the exact same trick out of its hat but nobody falls for it this time. All of the conflicts and hurdles in the film that come up are quickly and easily dispatched
Don't even get me started on how ridiculous it is that they buy the machine that dug the Chunnel in order to dig under Las Vegas, simulating an Earthquake cause that was stupid as all hell. Bad script, BAD!
Ok, enough bagging on the movie because the truth is that I really did enjoy it during the two hours I watched it. Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Garcia, Skipper, The Professor and the rest are all back and that old black magic they weave so well is back too. The audience has just as much fun watching them on screen as we want to believe they had making the film. It's the charisma of the actors that carry the film rather than the plot.
Al Pacino adds little to the mix other than his own star
power and name in the credits. None of the actors are really
flexing their acting muscles but rather joining in on the
fun, rat pack swing of the film. Since we've had two other
films to get to know them, almost no time is spent further
developing their characters. From the opening scene to the
closing credits, it's all about the big score.
Ocean's 11 had a great
heist and witty banter. Ocean's 12 had a good heist,
witty banter, some clever twists and a ton of star power.
Oceans' 13 has an okay heist, a handful of funny
scenes and Ellen Barkin's age defying boobs (which I freely
admit I would spend $10 to see on the big screen and $15
for a DVD.)
The lack of explosions, guns and Stan Lee make this one
of the quieter films of the summer, but it is still a good
flick that brings the franchise to a close. Just don't think
about it too hard the next day because like most nights
in Vegas, the less you remember the better.
So long, Ocean. It was nice partying with you.