Dir: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Eddie Jemison, Eddie Izzard
Before we begin, letís get something out of the way: Oceanís Twelve sucked. With that in mind, it appears that this film is one massive apology for the self-indulgent Ďstars on holidayí feel to the first sequel. This is something much more special.
The action takes us right back to Vegas, to a casino about to be opened by its nefarious owner Willie Bank (Pacino). The only problem is, his backstabbing practices have caused Ruben (Elliott Gould) to have a heart attack and now Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew want revenge. The best way to get even is to have Bankís new casino lose $50 million on the opening night. This time itís not about scoring millions of dollars for themselves - this time itís personal.
Oceanís 13 is bigger on jokes than its prequels and they get thrown out thick and fast, often in a blink-and-youíll-miss-them frenzy. Every character in the crew has a lot more to do now too. Casey Affleckís job in Mexico is hysterical, but the best material is given to Matt Damon, who makes his Ďmastermind in trainingí wonderfully bumbling and awkward.
It isnít perfect, though. The setup for the job is a dizzy trick of flashbacks within flashbacks, moody lighting and mumbling exposition. Itís sometimes hard to tell exactly what job theyíre setting up. So Soderberghís flair for jazzy filming almost lets the side down during the first half, but once the plan is set in motion the style matches the content perfectly.
Disappointingly, Al Pacino never really comes across as a fearsome villain, more a shrewd businessman who pissed off the wrong guys. Barkinís Abigail Sponder is a little more frightening, but then all she does is fire slightly fat models, and thatís fair enough.
The preceding Oceanís films have involved some clever plot twists. This time though, youíre shown everything as they go, leaving only small revelations which are easy to spot a mile off. Indeed, the film doesnít break any of the rules it set up in the first instalment - bad guys get outwitted, good guys escape with a wink and a cheeky smile. Nothing has changed.
But donít let that fool you. This is a definite popcorn movie, the most fun film so far this summer. Sit down, switch off and get washed away. Apology accepted.