Ocean’s Twelve (2004) – Steven Soderbergh

Soderbergh’s follow-up to the George Clooney, Brad Pitt all-star romp, Ocean’s Eleven delivers more of the same. A cast that looks like it’s having a fantastic time, but this time out, they have Europe as a backdrop.

Terry (Andy Garcia) is tracking each member of the Eleven down, and delivers the warning that he wants his money back with interest. He lets them know he is restraining himself and not committing the violence he wants to. But because the team is so hot, they can’t operate in America, so off they go to Europe in search of a job they can pull.

Unfortunately, Rusty (Pitt) gets reacquainted with a Europol officer, Isabel (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who he had a thing, while she was trying to track down a thief (also him).

As jobs run scarce, and problems arise, they learn that there is an unseen nemesis working behind the scenes to stop them, Toulor (Vincent Cassel), a master criminal that wants to prove that he is the best, and definitely better than Danny (Clooney )and his crew.

It’s glossy, slick, and this time around, the audience knows they are being fooled by everything from the get-go, but are quite happy to go along for the ride because hanging with Danny Ocean, Rusty and the rest is just so much fun.

The film tries to play a little meta when the team has to recruit Tess (Julia Roberts) for the job and have her play Julia Roberts with Linus (Matt Damon) and Basher (Don Cheadle) advising her on how best to be Roberts.

Everyone looks great in the film, they all get a moment to shine, and the film plays as pure escapism. It’s a romp with no real messages at its heart (except maybe don’t believe what your eyes show you), but damn if it isn’t fun. It’s a fun retake on the first film, and because we know the characters, we can dive right into the action.

And there are guest stars aplenty to help and hinder as the film goes along, Eddie Izzard, Bruce Willis, and Robbie Coltrane are but a few of the star-studded cast who make the film such a fun ride.

It’s meant to be a fun escape, not quite disposable entertainment because the chemistry amongst the cast is so great, but it’s easy to see this one and promptly forget it. But the shots, the locations, the cutting, and the style that permeate the film elevate it above the standard popcorn heist fare.

And obviously, I’m not the only one who thought so, because they geared up to follow it with a third film shortly after this that brought the story back to America, and would tie off all the dangling story threads.

I can’t wait to watch it again.

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