When I think of The Rat Pack, their reputation of talent, humor, and swagger is the first thing that comes to mind. It'd be easy to assume that it would be a blast to watch Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, and Peter Lawford knock over casinos in Vegas. And yet, the original Ocean's 11 from 1960 is about as eventful as watching a tumbleweed blowing in the wind. There's honestly nothing distinct about the story or movie that makes it stand out except that it stars The Rat Pack.
Ocean's TwelveDanny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt)'s reunite to pull off a heist in France after their first mark Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) promises to take them all down. As much as it tries to be as fun as its prequel, the script is just plain goofy. Their schemes criss-cross all over the place and never seems to end as random scenes like Bruce Willis popping out of nowhere, Julia Roberts playing herself, and random lovestory for Rusty Ryan (which doesn't do much for Catherine Zeta-Jones). Soderbergh's reboot didn't need another sequel, let alone two, but I'll give him props for keeping the franchise going...even if the first sequel is all over the place.
Ocean's EightThievery runs in the family as Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is granted freedom after five years in prison, and she rounds up the girls to steal a pricey jewel from the Met Gala. Ocean's Eight didn't necessarily have to be a reboot, and its writing/direction lifts a lot of elements from the 2001 Ocean's Eleven. It could've used a style of its own including a killer soundtrack and framing the heist as exciting instead of 'going through the motions'. However, there's hardly any women in the first four movies, and this spin-off makes up for that. It doesn't cast men out to let the women shine, and it's a blast to see actresses take on unique roles to steal a thing or two just like the boys.
Ocean's ThirteenOcean's boys reunite to exact revenge on Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino tycoon who swipes their mentor out from an exclusive real estate deal on the Vegas Strip. Soderbergh's Ocean's Thirteen is similar to his Ocean's Eleven; Pacino's Bank feels like a repeat villain and the sole female character played by Ellen Barkin (an assistant to Bank) is treated to an awkward and cringe-worthy love angle with Matt Damon's Linus. (I'd honestly love this one more if it didn't throw away Barkin's character...) The film is still fun as Ocean's heists come full circle and welcomes back the original targets for a piece of the action. Even two movies later, the cast still exudes smooth and entertaining charisma as if the band never fell apart.
After being released from prison, Ocean plans to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously with the help of ten accomplices. But his personal connections to this dream job might get in the way of pulling off the biggest heist in history. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon (and a cast of entertaining supporting men and Julia Roberts), the movie exudes that swagger missing from the 1960 version from beginning to end. Its production design, cinematography, and music has a unique noir style of its own, much more than a basic blockbuster or con flick. The script is fun and lets you indulge in being a crook trying to do the impossible without the jail time. Remakes don't often stand out from the original, but Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven reboot earns that title.
Which Oceans movie is your favorite or least favorite?
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