Summer Movie Showdown: "Ocean's Thirteen" Review

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Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and the gang are back in this 2007 follow-up to Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004). A ruthless casino owner by the name of Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses one of the original Ocean's eleven, pushing the group to band together one more time to see if they can break "the Bank."
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Summer Movie Showdown: "Ocean's Thirteen" Review

-- Rating: PG-13 (for brief sensuality)
Length: 122 minutes
Release Date: June 5, 2007
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Genre: Crime/Thriller

"Ocean's Thirteen" is a fun thriller centered around Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew as they come together yet again to exact revenge on a common enemy who has double-crossed one of their friends. Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) goes into business with Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino owner, to build a Vegas hotel and casino. Bank crosses Tishkoff and cuts him out of the deal by getting him to sign over his ownership rights. As a result of this shocking move by Bank, Tishkoff suffers a heart attack and ends up in the hospital. Willy Bank finds this amusing and takes joy in the fact that Tishkoff ended up in the hospital. Ocean confronts Bank and gives him an opportunity to make things right; Bank refuses and Ocean and his crew set out to seek revenge.

The movie starts off slow, gradually building up to the finale. Ocean's revenge plan is extremely sophisticated and well calculated; however, it is easy to follow what is happening. The crew plans to infiltrate Bank's casino and rig his machines to pay out millions to the VIP high rollers invited to the opening of the casino. Bank is an egotistical individual, and the crew plans to shatter his ego by preventing his hotel from earning a Five Diamond Award. Ocean and his crew have a vast amount of resources at their disposal, allowing them to spare no expense as they venture toward their goal.

The concept of this movie-pulling off a heist-is not a new idea. The modern "Ocean's Eleven" was inspired by the original created in 1960, starring the charismatic Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. These movies are about debonair, calculating, and intelligent individuals coming together with a mastermind scheme that seems impossible but pulling it off and making it look easy.

The movie probably wouldn't be possible without the all-star cast. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin, Rlliot Gould, Al Pacino, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, and Andy Garcia all play a role in the film.

The main theme of this film is revenge, unlike the first movie in the series, "Ocean's Eleven," which was driven by a motivation of profit. The crew is already rich and successful, so their primary goal is to help a friend who was wrongly ripped off by a ruthless, powerful businessman. Another important theme in "Ocean's Thirteen" as well as the previous films is camaraderie. It requires a great deal of trust and confidence in one another to carry out a heist plan. Ocean and his crew have great respect for Tishkoff since he was the one who inspired them to get into the gambling business.

In order to defeat Bank's casino security and rig the machines to pay out approximately $500 million, they will have to defeat "The Greco," an AI machine that monitors the games and ensures that all winnings paid out are legitimate. Their plan is to trick Bank into carrying a phone with a magnetron in order to disrupt "The Greco." In order to ensure the machine is down for good, they need to acquire a large drill used to bore the Channel Tunnel to create an earthquake under the casino.

Tragically, the drill breaks as the crew is preparing for their heist. They are forced to contact Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the casino owner they robbed in "Ocean's Eleven," to get additional funds to purchase a new drill. Surprisingly, Benedict agrees since he doesn't like Bank. However, he has a few conditions before he'll give Ocean the funds: he wants him to steal four diamond necklaces that Bank purchased for his wife in celebration of his four Five Diamond Awards. Ocean agrees and plans to swap out the legitimate necklaces for fake imitations. Later in the film, it is revealed that Benedict planned to steal the diamonds from Ocean after he acquired them.

While the premise of the movie is serious and suspenseful, Soderbergh finds plenty of opportunities to insert humor and witty comments. The slow buildup in the beginning and middle of the film are alleviated by the comedic aspect. The theme of camaraderie is displayed as each member of the crew is given a chance to display their talents during the heist. After the heist is pulled off successfully, the crew shows their loyalty for their good friend Tishkoff by using a share of the profits to purchase a property off the Vegas strip for him to build his own casino. To get back at Benedict, Ocean goes to him and informs him that his money, a whopping $72 million, has been donated to charity.

"Ocean's Thirteen" is a captivating thriller that will have the audience cheering for the crew's success thanks to director Soderbergh and the all-star cast. The film slowly builds up to the climax, with bits of humor sprinkled in to keep viewers pleasantly entertained. This thrilling crime movie is definitely worth viewing, especially if for those who enjoyed any of the earlier films in the series.

Rating: 3 of 5