Film Review: Ocean’s 13

After the disappointment of Ocean’s 12 it was with slight trepidation that I thought I’d finish off Ocean’s trilogy and indulge in another round of Danny, Rusty, Linus and friends plotting to part somebody with something rather expensive. This time in the name of revenge.

Thankfully though, they appear to have learnt from past mistakes and essentially gone back to basics. Which for me, is both a blessing and a curse. Rather than continue on with the standard “we’re making a sequel… let’s send them on holiday!” Hollywood cliché that Ocean’s 12 fell head first into, the gang are back in Vegas and thankfully, only after one man and one “play”. The problem is, what’ve they done is nothing more than essentially replay the script and plot from the first movie.

Now don’t get me wrong, that certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world, because the first movie is good, but it means that you have no choice but to compare Ocean’s 13 to Ocean’s 11 and that, I’m afraid just isn’t a fair fight. Thankfully, Ocean’s 13 feels like a movie they wanted to make, it doesn’t feel like Ocean’s 12 which gave off a sense of being more a cynical money making ploy rather than a serious film, and with this, you really feel that it’s the gang back together and having fun. That is massively important as it allows you to forget the first film and be drawn in to everything that is going on. It is almost as if, because they are obviously having fun, as they were in the first film, that it makes everything feel right, it’s almost comforting. This is how they do it, this is an extension to the first film, not an option placed next to it. It’s familiar, it’s right.

However, once again though, and it appears it is a common trait to all the Ocean’s trilogy films, it’s the minor characters in the group that actually steal the show over the flashy, glamorous stars. It’s the humour, childishness and sense of school yard playfulness brought to the story by the likes of Don Cheadle, Eddie Jemison, Carl Reiner for example, that really put a smile on your face. IT’s just sad that once again, they flirt in and out of the story teasing us the whole way. I WANT MORE OF DON CHEADLE AND HIS APPALLING ACCENT!

Of course, I can’t just sit here badly writing about everything I liked in the movie, even though there is more to like than dislike in this film but I need to balance the argument, and so it must be stated that the plot is full of questions and holes, the size of which could easily have been made by an unnoticed subterranean drill; and there are characters and relationships – Roman Nagel (Eddie Izzard) and Greco Montgomery (Julian Sands) for instance – which you really wish they would develop more and yet they never do, but really, I don’t care. They are back in Vegas and with all the glitz, glamour and bright lights, the movie just oozes popcorn fodder fun. And from time to time that is exactly what is needed!

But, and sadly it’s not a small one. Because Ocean’s 13 is nothing more than popcorn fodder fun, and because it’s basically nothing more than a reworking of the ideas from Ocean’s 11, you have to ask why you’d bother to watch Ocean’s 13 when Ocean’s 11 already exists? Ocean’s 11 is arguably the better film – because it’s the original – so where does Ocean’s 13 really fit in? To finish with a poor metaphor, I can’t help but feel Ocean’s 13 is like attempting to recreate that restaurant meal you adore at home; you might get close but you’ll never get it to be quite the same.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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