Ocean's 12 review by Tom Blain

Almost as much fun as the first, but not

The remake of Oceans 11 was a fine piece of enjoyable cinema. An all-star cast was put together, including George Clooney as the leading man and Brad Pitt as his right and man. Eleven was directed by one of the industries premier directors, Steven Soderburgh. Soderburgh does a fantastic job of transcending both Hollywood and the indy scene. His camera work is always fresh and sometimes groundbreaking, which makes him the perfect man in charge of a Las Vegas heist. The movie it remade was a piece of rat pack droppings from the 60s, which is hardly memorable given that none of the rat pack could act worth a damn. Finally a remake that improves upon the original.

So when news of Oceans 12 broke the first thing I thought (after pondering the logistics of the title) was this could be a great sequel. The original was a fun romp a movie with characters that could live on past for a number of movies. With Soderburgh directing once again, they couldnt screw a good thing up, right?

They start Oceans 12 off about three years after the big heist. The crew from the first, is slowly assembled once again. The reason? They got pinched. Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), tracked them down one by one and gave them an ultimatum: his money back plus interest or their lives. So with the group re-assembled, they just have to pull off a heist big enough to pay him off. This time another couple of road blocks exist. One is a hot shot French thief named Franois Toulor (Vincent Cassel) who declares open competition on the team. Two is caper-detective Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) whos relationship with Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitts character) gives her insight to the groups interworkings.

For the first 30 minutes or so, I thought Oceans 12 could have been better than the first. The heat was turned up on the crew to pull off something big in order to stay alive. The stage was set for Ocean (or more or less the writers) to out-do themselves in terms of creating a suspenseful heist. The heist in the first movie was well thought out, well orchestrated and full of deception. The heist, afterall, is the main reason to watch a heist flick and the more that goes into planning, the better the film becomes.

In Oceans 12, you dont really get that payoff. What you get is a charade; a bad plan that appears to be broken down. There isnt much thought or creativity put into the plan that we watch unfold. Of course, what you see is never really what you get, so there is some explaining to do at the end. This is the point in the movie where you think, Ok, here comes the real gusto. But even the big explanation at the end seems to thuggish and blue-collar-like. I found myself wonder where all the trickery was? Why do enlist a team of 11 to 12 professionals and specialist to do a job that could be pulled off so simply.

There were other disappointments as well. The cool demeanor was what held the movie together. Ocean and Rusty are the coolest of the cool, and they pretty much glue the group of misfits together. But every once in a while the movie loses track of that. For example, when they flash back to how Toulor got past a series of randomly moving sensors, they show how he danced through them like a gymnast. The dance is something they showed him preparing for in earlier sequencesbut if the laser sensors are randomly moving, how could he prepare? In a movie where technique is everything, this laser dance sort of breaks down and becomes hokey. The same goes for Julia Roberts scenes. There are a few references to the actress herself in the movie that are somewhat funny, but extremely over-played.

But this movie is not without its fun. The pace still keeps you going despite certain disappointments. The dialogue is sharp, and there are a few good laughs. The European scenery is captured beautifully by Soderburgh. Its much more pleasing to the eye than the casino trash of Las Vegas. The new characters added to the sequel fit perfectly with the ones we are familiar with from the first. All in all, it is still enjoyable to watch such fun set of characters interacting again on screen, even if parts of the story are a bit of a let down.




5 out of 10 Jackasses
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