Ocean's Twelve

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Ocean's Twelve
Review (9.5/10)
(By Takato Yamashita)


Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is retired - in so much as a master thief can ever be retired. After all who wouldn't be after undertaking one of the greatest thefts in modern day history and getting the girl (Tess played by Julia Robert) to boot. He's all ready to celebrate his second 3rd anniversary (taking a little time to case out a bank of course) when a certain motivation appears for him Terry Benedict. It seems that somehow Mr. Benedict (Andy Garcia) has found out that Danny and the rest of his crew have something of his - the money they stole - and now he wants it back... with interest.

A sequel to the ultra-cool, ultra-hip remake of Ocean's Eleven, this time we see Danny, Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon), Frank (Bernie Mac) and the rest of the gang jet of to the other side of the ocean for fun and felony. There's one twist this time they are being chased by the very beautiful and very determined Isabel (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who just happened to have a previous relationship with Rusty. Given how much I loved the first film, this one easily ranked among my top 5 in most anticipated movies of 2004. At the same time I was a little leery. After all, the first one was so cool, how could you top it? If anything, this movie could be a set up for one big letdown.

Well let me tell you, at least to this fan, this movie was no let down. It was fantastic. Hip and cool, funny and smart, this movie is on par and possibly better than the first one. Steven Soderbergh has done it again, Ocean's Twelve delivers the same charm as the first film with the real difference being where the first one focused on the robbery - this one focuses more on the characters and the style.

Each character in the movie from the mainstays like Danny or Rusty to the less known gang members like Yen were given something - quite the feat by Soderbergh given the size of this ensemble. Now some Clooney fans may bemoan a lack of focus on their favourite or a Roberts fan could whine that their starlet wasn't in half the movie nor nearly enough (though 'Julia Roberts' was in the movie you'll get it once you see the movie). And if you really want to get picky about it, you could. But this is an instance where the whole of the interactions is greater then the sum of the parts. These guys just seemed to love hanging out with each other, and all the egos were checked at the door with this endeavour. They were a real team and moved like a well-oiled machine.

Playing the critic. Was the heist entirely believable? To be honest no it wasn't, at least not when you compare it to the first one. While it was still a cut above the norm, it lacked the excellence in execution that was the trademark of the great casino robbery. Now to some this might be a pretty big sticking point but rest assured that the job isn't that bad. It's just not as good as the first one and it sort of had to be done a little worse. Once you see the movie you might understand. I've also heard some critics say that the story was too convoluted. This is something I don't agree with. I understood everything just fine, at least plot-wise. In terms of dialogue, I constantly had the feeling that they were trying to pull a fast one on me (in a good way of course).

Now that I'm done playing critic...the big takeaway I got from this movie was that the stars really enjoyed making this movie. I've heard that the actors really partied hard when they were making this movie and that many passed on a pretty big salary. Given how much some of these guys do party, it was probably a money-losing proposition for them. Regardless, this sense of fun permeated throughout the film and kept a level of energy that carried the movie. Without it, the movie wouldn't have been nearly as good. With it, this movie is a gem, and one of the better movies of 2004. It's one that you can take your family to and everyone will come out with a smile on their faces.

One final comment is that they pretty much left this one wide open for an Ocean's Thirteen. As long as the principles involved approach the next one with the same sense of fun, then bring it on.

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