Ocean's Twelve

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     After Ocean’s 11, the remake of the 1960 Ratpack movie, grossed $183 million, just in the United States, a sequel was inevitable. The cast of Ocean’s 11 have become a new ratpack and they all wanted to do another film, including director, Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. And as if having Clooney, Roberts, Pitt and Damon wasn't enough star power, Catherine Zeta Jones was added to the cast. Ocean’s 12 picks up the action 3 years after Ocean’s 11 ended.  The boys have all been dealing with their new-found wealth in various ways. Danny Ocean (Clooney) is trying to go straight and make things work with his wife, Tess (Roberts). Rusty (Pitt) is running a high-class hotel. Meanwhile, the guy they robbed, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), has been looking high and low for them. His search is unsuccessful until a french burglar with low self esteem, named the Night Fox (Francois Toulours), tired of hearing about the great heist pulled off by Ocean’s 11,  decides that he will help Benedict find the boys.  In short order, Benedict has visited all of the original 11 plus Tess and threatened to kill them unless they pay back the money with interest. BTW, eleven plus one equals twelve. Anyway, our boys plus one decide they need to get some money pronto and soon they are off to Europe to pull a few jobs. Unfortunately, for the 12, the Night Fox still has something to prove and he tries to foil their every move. Meanwhile, the Night Fox is being pursued by the police led by a good-looking ex-girlfriend of Rusty’s (Zeta Jones).  I will say no more about the plot but much mayhem ensues.

     I really loved Ocean’s 11. It is one of my favorite movies. It’s not deep but it is one of the best put together films ever. The cast had a very nice chemistry and they all seemed to be having a good time. So expectations were dangerously high for the sequel.  The fun and the chemistry are still there but like the Matrix sequels, Soderbergh and Clooney tried a bit too hard to top the first movie. And while each character’s role magically fit together in the first film, it all seems a bit contrived in Ocean’s 12 to make sure that each cast member gets enough face time. That being said, Ocean’s 12 is a good, fun movie. In Ocean’s 11, the audience was mostly on the inside of the caper. And the twisty bits were easy to guess.  There are a few more layers to the plot of Ocean’s 12, although the plot twists can be figured out pretty easily, since you know that the boys plus one are not all going to end up dead. But it’s a cool plot, a bit like The Sting, although The Sting is still the gold standard for this kind of film.

     All of the original cast, even the really minor players, are back for the new movie. They all do well again here and it’s nice to see them. A few of them get shortchanged this time. Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner and my favorite of the 11, Eddie Jemison don't get to do enough. Jemison plays the computer geek, Livingston Dell. Bernie Mac has the worst of it. He sits alone in jail for a very large part of the movie. The movie has a lot of fun with Julia Roberts, including a bit where Julia plays Tess playing Julia and there is some amusing confusion between Danny's, Ocean and Moder (her real life husband).  Zeta Jones fits in well as both, the cop and the love interest for Rusty. Vincent Toulours, who plays the Night Fox, is good too. He hasn't made many movies in English. I have only seen him in Birthday Girl. He is well known in France where he is married to Monica Bellucci and he is the voice of Hugh Grant in the French versions of his films.

There are several amusing cameos in Ocean's 12, including Eddie Izzard, Jeroen Krabbe, Robbie Coltrane, Bruce Willis and Albert Finney.

     Ocean’s 12 suffers from being a sequel to a remake but otherwise is an entertaining film to see over the holidays. All the star power, both behind and in front of the camera, make Ocean's 12 worth watching. And instead of being mostly set in in one locale, Las Vegas, Ocean’s 12 moves from Amsterdam to Rome to Paris. And needless to say, when it ends, the possibility of Ocean’s 13 is staring you in the face.