Ocean's Thirteen

 
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by:Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Starring: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin, Ellliott Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan
Released: June 14, 2007
Grade: B-

In Ocean’s Eleven, they robbed a casino in Las Vegas and stole close to $200m.  In Ocean’s Twelve, they went to Europe and stole a famous work of art.  Their back again for Ocean’s Thirteen but this time their motive isn’t robbery.

Willie Bank (Pacino) prides himself on having the best hotels and casinos in Vegas.  Every hotel he owns has received a Five Diamond Award, a prize which signifies the best of the best.  Bank may be successful but he’s not a nice guy.  He’ll do anything if it can get him more wealth and power.

A member of Ocean gang, Reuben (Gould), went into business with Bank to build a new luxury casino in Vegas.  It should come as no surprise that Bank screwed him over and took full control of the project.  It was a massive financial blow to Reuben and he suffered a heart-attack not long after.

Reuben’s friends have come to the rescue and want to get even with Willie Bank.  Their plan is to manipulate every game in the casino on opening night so that the players win big.  They’ve found a way to rig the pokies, blackjack, roulette and craps.  By ensuring that the high rollers in attendance, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his team intend to take the casino for all its worth.

It’s an elaborate plan and it takes a long time to get ready.  Most of the film is spent explaining all the nitty-gritty details.  It’s interesting without being exciting.  I know it’s only supposed to be a fun movie but I had trouble believing it all.  Ocean’s crew have an uncanny way of getting whatever information they need in a short period of time.  They can crack any security system and seem to have many influential contacts.

My biggest problem with the film was its lack of humour.  There are only a handful of really funny scenes.  From memory, stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were much funnier in the first two movies.  I’d have much rather have seen more creative improvisation from these stars as opposed to the long-winded scenes explaining how the casino games would be rigged.

Director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) has returned and gives the film a great look.  There’s no doubting that he’s one of the best directors in the business.  I particularly love the way he zooms his camera in and out.  He’s got style and the film’s tone give him the perfect opportunity to use it.  The soundtrack is ideal and the colourful setting makes it great to watch on a big screen.

I’ve a hunch that this will be the last in the Ocean’s series.  It’s been an enjoyable ride but it’s time that Soderbergh and his talented cast move on to something with a little more originality.  As I’ve said of so many other sequels of late, the original was better.