Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones
After ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ thrilled us all, my friends and I were very excited for this sequel. About ten of us got together and watched it in theatres with high hopes. ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ had its charms, and the amount of high-quality talent was evident throughout the movie, but ultimately this was a letdown when compared to its predecessor.
Terry Benedict, the owner of the casinos which the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ crew broke into and stole a vast portion of his wealth from, now seeks his revenge on the group. He demands that the crew get together and give back his money, with interest. If they fail to comply, he will either kill them all, or simply make their lives an endless hell. With the heat still on for the group in America, they decide to travel to Europe and pull several high-end heists to save their skin.
This film is far from a total disaster, but it certainly had its weak points. The biggest issue I had with the film was that it tried too hard to beat the original at its own game. Rather than creating something unique with the amazing talent they had at their disposal, they decided to travel down a familiar road. The details weren’t as important, the running jokes not nearly as crisp; it felt like they dumbed the movie down to attract a larger crowd of people. There were a few times, especially near the end where the humor even felt forced.
The first film tried to be somewhat believable, whereas this film just didn’t seem to care as much, with super-thieves and legendary crooks popping up throughout the film. Most disappointing though, was that the twists and turns never led to satisfying conclusions. In short, ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ was only a slightly different take on the original film. They changed the location, added a couple more eccentric characters, paid less attention to detail, and simplified the humor in areas. To me, the idea of these films was to have some fun with the heist framework and throw in some comedic effect, not to make a comedy that occasionally involved something of a heist.
The best things about the first film remained a part of the second film. The chemistry and dialogue between these characters was still rather crisp and the talent within the film still shines brightly, even with a more predictable script. I also like that there were consequences from the actions performed in the first film – that whilst they initially succeeded, the getaway was not as clean as they hoped. This allows us to see these characters when they are faced with a shocking and unprecedented dilemma. It also showcased the various ways these characters used their money. The comedy wasn’t always as effective this time around, but there was enough to keep you in a lighthearted mood throughout.
Ultimately, this movie falls well short of the 2001 remake. While it does lack that special magic which made the first film so great, there is enough to enjoy about the film that I can’t completely condemn it. The cast works well together once again and the heist, albeit a bit more over-the-top than before, was still fun. That whole Julia Roberts joke however, I found treacherous. In the end, this movie isn’t bad, but lacks the conviction and overall quality of the previous film. Thankfully, they wouldn’t end this franchise on such a low note. The number 13 is lucky for some, after all.