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June 11, 2018

Ocean's Thirteen (2007) --- "Revenge Is A Funny Thing But What Are The Odds Of Getting Even? 13 To One."

Plot Summary
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses Reuben Tishkoff, Danny's friend and mentor. First, Ocean's gang plan to hit Bank in the paycheck by reversing the precept that the house always wins. Next, they will deal a crushing blow to Bank's ego by ruining his reputation as the only hotelier to earn the Royal Review's Five Diamond Award for each of his properties. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
    First came Ocean’s Eleven (2001) which was an intelligent, and entertaining film that did quite well with its diverse cast, witty dialogue, and documentary-style cinematography. Next came Ocean’s Twelve (2004) with extra cast members and a different heist story instead of the typical casino/bank heist. And finally, there is Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) which is just as intelligent and witty as Eleven but it also handles the extra cast members and improved story like Twelve. Ocean’s Thirteen, in its own right, is also vibrant, fast-paced, humorous, engrossing, and pays attention to the smallest of details. Just when you think all hope is lost for your favorite crew, we quickly discover that everything possible was planned for from the start. I understand that those who were disappointed with Ocean’s Twelve were hesitant to watch this film but I think that if you skip this film then your missing out.

    Writers Brian Koppelman (Premium Rush) and David Levien (The Illusionist) have written a complex and witty script. Ocean’s Twelve was about paying back a wronged enemy while Ocean’s Thirteen was completely about revenge on a chauvinist casino owner after he wronged one of their own. The films open up with large portions of dialogue that set the premise for the crews’ actions for the rest of the film. How the crew exacts their revenge will leave you speechless, especially with all the hidden surprises throughout. The film’s pacing is set up so that it allows the characters plenty of room to showcase their various and hidden talents. One way that this is the film is an improvement from Eleven is because the story focuses on the actual heist itself while the planning of said heist is relatively short. Another difference is the absence of a romantic sub-plot. It worked for the first film but it was not necessary here so I am glad that they cut it out and showed us what we came to see, a great heist story. The humor is great as the one-liners and jokes are delivered in a subtle, witty and slightly self-referential manner that gives the film its signature humor.

    Director Steven Soderbergh - who was also the film’s cinematographer and producer - crafted a sharp, vibrant, and enjoyable film. A technical improvement to this film is its use of computer hacking and cunning gadgets along with quick wits and adaptable skills that are necessary to pull off this difficult heist. The return to Las Vegas as the film’s setting is colorful and fascinating with all the neon lights, water fountains, unique architecture, and worthy set decorations to bring this world to life. Audiences are given just enough information to suggest how Las Vegas’ casinos operate as well as how cutthroat the world is without overwhelming us with too much detail.  
    The acting was superb all around. Once again our favorite group of compatible actors has gathered together along with some characters that were unexpected. The original 11 return to reprise their roles -  George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, and Carl Reiner - as well as Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict and Vincent Cassel as the Night Theif from Twelve. Ellen Barkin offers a fun performance and she adds a female touch to an otherwise male-dominated film. Considering how great Al Pacino (The Godfather trilogy) did in The Godfather trilogy, it is no surprise that the filmmakers had him play Willy Bank, who proves to be a bigger jerk and more aggressive than Garcia’s character. Garcia was great as the villain in the first film but he was not menacing enough and his threats were empty. However, Pacino knows how to convincingly portrays a successful and rich hotel-casino owner without boredom or impatience.
    Overall, Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) is a smart, witty, and entertaining film about revenge and a casino heist. Director  Soderbergh successfully shows his skill as a director, cinematographer, and producer. The writers also created an improved and developed storyline that still managed to withhold some secrets until the very end. The all-star cast was wonderful, especially Al Pacino as the villain. If you loved Ocean’s Eleven but you were hesitant to see this film because of Ocean’s Twelve (I personally enjoyed Twelve), then I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of the series.

"The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself. I changed my house, the way I dressed, the way I ate - for what? For nothing."
- Reuben Tishkoff

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
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Analyze That (2002)
Bank Job, The (2008)
Be Cool (2005)
Burn After Reading (2008)
Italian Job (2003)
Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
Ocean's 8 (2018)
Public Enemies (2009)
Tourist, The (2010)
Tower Heist (2011)

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