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OCEAN'S THIRTEEN

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 122 Minutes
Release Date: November 13, 2007

“You think this is funny?”

“Well, Terry, it sure as sh*t ain’t sad.”

Film ***1/2

There were a good many sequels on display during the summer movie season of 2007. In addition, many of the sequels were third installments. For me there were only two three-quels out of the bunch that reigned supreme; one was the third adventure with Jason Bourne and the other was the return of Danny Ocean and his misfit heist crew.

Ocean’s Thirteen is yet another highly entertaining and hugely funny entry in a movie series that I, for one, have enjoyed right from the start. I was one of few who even enjoyed Ocean’s Twelve, which many were disappointed by. The second movie took a different path that audiences weren’t expecting, but Ocean’s Thirteen has George Clooney and company returning to what they do best.

The film opens with the news that one of the gang’s members, Rueben (Elliott Gould), has suffered a major heart attack. This has resulted from a business deal gone extremely sour. Rueben, smelling a good business deal, gets cheated out of his share by his business partner, casino mogul Willie Bank (Al Pacino).

Once Danny (Clooney) and the boys get the word of Reuben’s condition, and all that led up to it, they have only one thing in mind; sweet revenge. So they decide to set in motion a heist somewhat similar to the heist in Ocean’s Eleven. The only problem is the hotel/casino they plan to take down, called The Bank, has more obstacles and boobytraps than any heist crew would ever want to deal with.

In fact, it takes roughly around 30 minutes to reveal just how many setbacks this new casino has in it. As Danny and his co-hort, Rusty (Brad Pitt), discuss the details of the buildings layout with their tech resource, Roman (Eddie Izzard), we learn so many details of the buildings security that for a while it seems like there’s no possible way to take the house down. But Danny and his crew find a way eventually.

Learning all those details is one of the fun aspects of Ocean’s Thirteen. Another fun aspect is the heist itself, which is perhaps the most far-fetched one executed in any movie. It makes the heist in Ocean’s Eleven more plausible than it already was.

And I haven’t even mentioned that Danny and his crew at one point are forced to turn to none other than their former nemesis, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), to help bankroll the heist. Terry agrees to do so for a price, that of $72 million. And plus since Willie is competition, Terry would more than love to see him go down.

In order to make this heist work one of the crew, Virgil (Casey Affleck), has to go to Mexico to work undercover at a factory where the casino’s dice is made to rig a set. Pickpocket auteur Linus (Matt Damon) dons a hilarious disguise to woo Bank’s assistant (Ellen Barkin) the night of the heist, which also happens to be its Grand Opening night. And as for demolitions expert Basher (Don Cheadle), he will have to dig under the casino using a giant tunnel-boring machine in order to simulate an earthquake to scare off high rollers on the big night.

And it doesn’t end there. Special coins will be used to rig slot machines so that who ever uses it will win a big jackpot. And if that’s not enough, the crew is equipped with zippo lighters designed to make dice turn over once they close, which will come in handy during a game of craps.

As you can tell, the idea of the crew’s plan is to create chaos on the casino floor on opening night. This will cause every gamer in the room to win lucky. But there’s also another goal intended, which is to make sure that Willie is robbed of another Five Diamond Award, the highest rating given to any hotel. But the main prize in the taking is $250 million in diamonds that Willie has on display in the penthouse suite.

Of course, I needn’t go into the how much the cast delivers in the movie. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon each put their dynamic charisma on display here, as was the case in the previous two movies. And there are many moments for the rest of the gang to shine, particularly Don Cheadle and Carl Reiner. What’s more, Al Pacino makes a delightfully nasty adversary, as only someone like Pacino can do. And Steven Soderbergh once again delivers a glitzy dose of Vegas eye candy with his super stylish directing.

Ocean’s Thirteen is a perfect illustration that a three-quel is in not all cases a bad thing, especially when you’ve got such a great cast and a terrific director around for the proceedings. Though a Fourteen is questionable at this point, I for one am very much in favor of another heist with Ocean and the boys.

Video ****

The past two Ocean’s movies have shined in their DVD presentation, so it comes as no surprise that the anamorphic picture for this third installment is just as terrific. This release from Warner boasts a tremendously clear and colorful picture that brings the glamour and glitz of Vegas to life. Superb from beginning to end!

Audio ****

A very lively 5.1 mix is supplied here. The standout of this presentation, as was the case with the previous two movies, is David Holmes’ fantastic jazzy score to the movie, which brings the speakers to life on every beat. Dialogue delivery is as clear as can be, and several sequences within the big heist provide magnificent sound quality as well!

Features **

The features on this disc include the featurettes “Vegas: An Opulent Illusion” and “Jerry Weintruab Walk and Talk”. Also included are Additional Scenes.

Summary:

Thirteen is indeed a lucky number, as Ocean’s Thirteen delivers exactly what it promises. Clooney and company deliver once again with another lively and fantastic entry in what for me is a truly entertaining movie series!

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