Danny Ocean and his rascally gang is back. This time in a heist whose motive is not gain – atleast not monetary gain – but revenge! So while Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty (Brad Pitt) are driving the planning and laying the setup, Linus (Matt Damon) slowly eases himself into the shoes of the top-player and the rest pitch in with their bit in bringing the enemy down! Their target this time around – Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a ruthless casino owner who double-crosses one of the members of the Eleven – Reuben(Elliott Gould), and usurps his casino & money and drives him into a heart seizure. The gang must get even with Bank and for doing so, they attempt to hit him where it hurts most – his egoistical pride in having won the Five Diamond award for each of his hotels. And not only that, they also hatch a stupendous plan to rob him of his casino money by letting the people win…..and win big! And helping the gang in this setup is their old nemesis Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who turns financier for the group for he has his own little enmity with Bank.
Whilst Ocean’s Eleven included an elaborate gig that centered more around the players themselves and Twelve raised the people-centric-ingenuity up a notch, Thirteen relies more on gadgetry and gimmickery to get the breakthrough. Of course the gizmos were also there in the earlier versions but now, they play a much more up-front role. So whilst there are doctored mexican dice and rigged card machines and a giant quake-inducing piece of machinery, the people themselves are kinda subdued; maybe because one of them is sick and on the deathbed! I would have told more of the plot but that would reveal more than I intend to….but let me just say that the planning is of such immaculate and so subtle yet in-your-face that Bank doesn’t realize what hits him…until it really does.
Performance-wise, all of the actors are A1 all throughout the movie. The camaraderie between the eleven stands undiminished across all the three movies and maybe is increased a notch in this because of the reason that they’re fighting to get revenge for one of their own. Brad Pitt has less of a seducer role this time around and even Clooney doesn’t get to play his loving husband/cool criminal role. Both of the leading ladies from Twelve are conspicous by their absence and this is reasoned by the assurance that it simply is “not their fight” meaning its not just another heist to get some money but an attempt to “get even”! Matt Damon gets to romance a girl this time around as he attempts to seduce Bank’s right-hand-woman Abigail to get to the set of Five Diamonds that are so much of a part of Bank’s ego. Don Cheadle gets to play his ranting mechanical engineer and everyone else reprises their roles with ease and panache. Al Pacino as the wily Willy Banks is spot-on and plays the role with aplomb. Andy Garcia is ok…and oh, his Terry Benedict ends up on Oprah – courtesy the Eleven who donate his share of the booty to charity because he tried to double-cross them with the help of the Night Fox!
All in all, Ocean’s Thirteen is a pacy and zany movie that stays good to the theme of few small fish cheesily stripping a big fish off his money. The sub-plot of the real hotel-reviewer being treated shabbily whilst projecting one of their own men as the reviewer kinda reminded me of Dunston Checks In where a similar theme exists. I was also left wondering who the Thirteenth person in the gang was? These Eleven plus Benedict made up Twelve…..so who is #13?? Anyone care to tell me??