Ocean’s 11 started out as a little know Rat Pack film from the 1960s and eventually became a star studded remake with a huge director and an equally impressive cast. Like all films that gross over $100 million it of course needed a sequel, that’s where Ocean’s 12 came in. But in rewatching Ocean’s 12 I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have, it didn’t have the same quirkiness that the first film did. It’s 2007 and we seem to finally be ending the entire Ocean’s saga with Ocean’s 13. Is the film better than the first endeavor, well no but it’s better than the sequel and just as fun as the original.
Ocean’s 13 starts with the near death of benefactor Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould). Reuben had decided to go against everyone’s advice and open a casino with local shark Willie Bank (Al Pacino), but like all of Bank’s partners Reuben gets shoved out of the deal and suffers a heart attack. As the tagline says “When you cross one Ocean, you cross them all” which allows the entire gang to get together for one last job to give Bank his just desserts. The crew decides to rig the entire casino, essentially allowing everyone in the joint to win and leave Bank penniless. Like the other Ocean films, it seems easy but that’s just the first step.
I had to keep my expectations low with Ocean’s 13 since I had been burned with the sequel and I wasn’t disappointed. While this film isn’t the hilarious tour de force I expected it to be, it was an enjoyable way to waste almost two hours. The movie starts with a bang, with Reuben suffering from his heart attack and establishes where most of the characters are and what they plan to do. The movie then separates for a bit with Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty (Brad Pitt) getting the group together to rig every game in Banks’ casino. The other brief subplot follows Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck) and his brother Turk (Scott Caan) as they try to get better working conditions for the Mexican dice makers. I have to admit the Malloy brothers have been my favorite characters in the franchise, there constant bickering is hilarious and in their mini-subplot they don’t disappoint. I seemed to find myself waiting for them to come back compared to the overall story. Ocean’s 13 also does a great job of continuing the in-jokes and one-liners that all three films are famous for.
While I did enjoy the movie there was just something that was missing. It did drag a bit in the middle, they tended to drag out how they planned to do the job instead of actually doing it, but that wasn’t it. The jokes are hilarious but are too far apart, I chuckled a couple times but there were no huge laughs. It also seemed to be that the film tended to focus more on the big players such as Clooney, Pitt, Pacino and Damon. Now I know they are the big names of the franchise but this film had a lot of interesting ideas set up for the lesser characters, like the Malloy brothers, that I would have liked to see a little more of. Some characters, like Don Cheadle’s Basher Tarr have very little to do overall. The film is pretty long, clocking in at almost two hours but I think we could have cut a little from the big character arcs to deal with the smaller guys.
The cast is, once again, what keeps you coming back for more. George Clooney and Brad Pitt are still having fun making this movie, along with Matt Damon, so they all give great performances. I would have to applaud Casey Affleck and Scott Caan with this film, there scenes were the best in the film, easily stealing the show from the bigger actors. The two are awesome together and I would see any film where they are paired again. The new characters are probably the weakest links in the film overall. Al Pacino seems to be doing the same thing he’s been doing in movies for the last five years, simply mugging for the camera. Banks character is no different from your classic movie villain, nothing new to report. Ellen Barkin is mundane as Abigail Sponder; I really believe she was just there to provide the missing female element and a little cleavage.
Don’t get me wrong, Ocean’s 13 is not a horrible movie, it just doesn’t know where to prioritize its time. The bigger actors are amazing but they were already established characters in the first movie, the director and writers could have made a little room for some of the background crew but that’s just me.