Ocean’s Twelve Review

O12-dvd
It has been a while since I saw Ocean’s Eleven. It was a good film, but would this one be able to match up? History hasn’t been kind to sequels for a very long time. Also, throwing in a 12th member could be stretching it since most films are not ready for a huge cast. This film seemed to face a lot of problems with the cast and the budget, but it was still a decently good film. Nowhere near as good as the first one of course.

The Ocean’s 11 gang has been living their lives in luxury since their big heist in the first film. They’ve put it all behind them, but they should have known that their past would find them someday! The head honcho of the casino has been tipped off to who the members were and he pays each of them a visit. He informs them that they have two weeks to earn around 200 million dollars or they shall be destroyed. The heroes will need to pull a really big job to even dream of getting such an amount!

The first thing that I would mention is the size of the cast. Managing so many big players is tricky for a film and this one didn’t pull it off. From the original Ocean’s 11 group, not all of them get big roles. One of them basically leaves to enjoy his riches in the beginning and another one is stuck in jail for the majority of the film. 2-4 other members are there, but they barely get any lines and they’re just there for the effect. They could have called it something like the Ocean’s 6 and it may have made more sense. It’s still fun to have a large cast though and it can give a film potential as long as most of the characters are likable.

The next issue would likely be the budget. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a budget problem and it could be a stylistic choice by the director. Nevertheless, the film felt really low budget at times. The camera angles looked as if someone grabbed their handheld camera and recorded everything. We got a lot of scenes where the picture would just stop and quickly start again. It was to show how the time was passing of course, but it could have been done in a better way. The most noticeable part was definitely when the camera angles kept shifting. Over and over again until you would get dizzy in the theater. It especially happened during the stalker scenes where the camera color turned into a red background. Intriguing to be sure…but it didn’t really work. I also felt like we got cheated out of the operations. We would typically only see parts of their plan and others would be filled in through flashbacks, but as an afterthought.

Luckily, the budget and large cast don’t take away from any of the film’s pros. The opening (Not the unnecessary opening scene) where the villains goes to each hero one by one was pretty epic. I like how one of the characters mentioned Jim Crow as he was taken out of a book or something. (Likely referring to the Jim Crow laws) and one character mentioned how he always did play the race card. It was only notable because I got the Jim Crow reference and it is true that someone’s always ready to use the race card online. The character had a good comeback for that as well. It’s too bad that he got the shaft in this film. The solid opening was definitely one of the best parts of the film.

I’m always up for a good competition between secret agents so the final part of the film had a pretty cool plot. I believe that it could have been handled a little better, but the whole point is that the main characters aren’t very smart so I suppose that some parts were excusable. The scene where the rival gets through the lasers was definitely pretty good. I would have been rooting for him if not for the constant cheating.

Danny is essentially the main character of the film. He doesn’t get to eat up a majority of the screentime, but he still acts like the leader. He takes the situation in stride and the name is based on his last name. He’s a pretty good character for the most part, but the romance angle can definitely be dicey. At least he puts more effort into the whole spying operation than the others. He’s probably the most likable member of the group. He knows the stakes and he’s ready to take the win.

Terry is easily the best character in the film. Easily. This guy meant business and he’s an epic villain. He really just tells it like it is and he doesn’t use any cheap tricks. His wager may not have been very fair, but he’s the first to admit to that. 2 weeks is still a decent amount of time and if Ocean’s 11 is as good as they say…it shouldn’t be a problem. It would have been cool if Terry got to appear more, but that’ll do for now. Epic Name + Epic Character = Win. This guy seriously couldn’t get any better at this point!

Isabel is one of the main antagonists of the film. She’s pretty smart and the only scene where she doesn’t look very good is at the beginning. She’s probably not as cunning as the main characters, but she has picked up many tricks in her line of work. Stealing one of the main characters’ phones was pretty good work on her part. I don’t really blame her for going under the radar at the end of the film since the consequences for the 1077 would be pretty severe, but hopefully she keeps her moral compass on. Stealing from someone and going back to the old ways would not help her character progression.

I didn’t really care for Yen’s character. It’s really for the same reasons that I don’t care for Groot or Chewy at times. He doesn’t speak English and he is always bouncing around. He just didn’t really work in this film. At least provide us with subtitles so we can follow what he’s saying. The characters can understand what he is saying somehow, but it doesn’t make his scenes any more enjoyable. He got a bigger role than most of the other characters, which is too bad. Maybe he’ll be better in the next film.

Reuben is a pretty solid character and he’s one of the more experienced members of the Ocean’s 11. He definitely takes the whole charade a little more seriously than the others. He defeated the stock market and he has more money than all of the other members. This is definitely a guy that you don’t want to underestimate. His disguise was also more thought out than the others. (Most of them didn’t even bother with one….) I wouldn’t have minded if he got more of a role.

Rusty probably gets the largest role from the main characters aside from Danny. (And that is arguable) He used to hang out with Isabel and he jeopardizes the team’s goals more than once. He typically doesn’t regret anything because it’s all worth it to him. I did not like him though and he’s one of the more unlikable members. He let romance get in the way of the team’s glory and that’s one of the things that you are not supposed to let happen. He let his skills degrade over the years and the team may have done better without him.

Tess is with Danny and she ends up coming to help for the final case. She was all right I suppose, but I believe that her character could have been a lot better. I definitely expected her to beat up Danny at the end and she didn’t disappoint. She was just a little too generic in the film and she didn’t get any moments that really helped to separate her from the pack. Her opening scene was decent since she talked back to the villains, but that was about it. Isabel was definitely more impressive.

Linus is basically the rookie of the group. He doesn’t really understand all of the lingo involved and he fells bad about stealing from those who are not in an equal position to fight back. The other don’t harbor any doubts since their morals have already been thrown out the window. Linus decides to throw his out as well as he joins in on the fun. He was a decent character although it’s too bad that he joined the group in the first place. From a character standpoint anyway, he was basically corrupted. His ending is pretty good though and at least he got to have a short turn as the leader.

Toulour is the big rival in the film. He doesn’t really get much of a role until we’re nearing the end of the film, but he quickly makes up for this with his scenes. He really does earn his title as the greatest thief out there. It was a little too easy for the heroes to find out what his true identity was, but I guess he wasn’t really hiding it. At the end, we really have to accept that he is a better thief than the Ocean’s 11. (Especially when you consider that there is 1 of him and 11 of the other guys) His laser scene was just intense! He does cheat though so he’s not as likable as he could be. I guess anything goes in such a battle, but I would have liked to see him go for the gold on his own. He didn’t even need to cheat at that point.

Notice that I didn’t mention all 11 of the members. That’s because the rest of them didn’t really get a role in the film. They were really just there to be there and that’s not the best role to have. The old man did make the right move in leaving, but he had a pretty bad attitude about it so I can’t say that he was likable. One member was only there to complain about the team’s name and the Jim Crow one was taken out before he could really do anything. So, the film really cheated on the large cast since most of them didn’t really do a whole lot. We’ll see if they have better luck with Ocean’s 13!

The soundtrack was decently good for this film. It’s not going to win any awards, but at least I remembered a tune or two by the time the film had ended. That’s more than the average movie and the film deserves some credit for that. Now, it just needs to try to add more tunes to the sequel.

One thing that bogs the film down a little is the romance. I definitely would have been happy if they could have reduced it a little. It takes away from the story and we just want the plot to start up again. It’s all we could want in the end to be honest. The film also drags on just a little by the end, but it’s good that they made the 2 hour attempt.

Overall, This was a decent heist film. I definitely preferred the first one, but it wasn’t a bad sequel. I think it could have been better if we had gotten to see their operations all the way through and if they had cut out some scenes. We get many shots of the characters just walking around or talking to each other where the plot has to come to a halt. Seeing more of Terry would have been nice as well. Still, the writing is pretty solid in the film and the characters are decently good. There were a lot of missed opportunities, but the film did a decent job with the cards that it had. I recommend this film to those that want to see a retro thief against thief mission. If that’s not your style, I recommend checking out Justice League Unlimited for some pretty deep plots.

Overall 6/10

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