Taking Out the Trash: Ocean’s Eleven (and Sequels)

I would like to apologize for the lateness of this post. Due to circumstances, I have been unable to write this until now. But to make up for missing my deadline, I am going to be doing a review of not only Ocean’s Eleven but also the original Ocean’s 11 and the two sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.

The original version of this beloved series was packed with the biggest names in Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and others make up the ratpack as they hit five of the biggest casinos in Vegas. The targets: the Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, Sands and the Flamingo. How did they rob these casinos? Using infrared paint, explosives and well-placed connections, the eleven rob the casinos on New Year’s Eve. While everyone is singing Auld Lang Syne, the men are emptying the safes and leaving the the owners with nowhere to turn.

This movie did not do spectacularly at the box office, but the idea had been pushed around for a remake. With modern advancements in technology and police work, the plot and concept of the movie had become outdated. So the plot was twisted and picked apart by the 2001 remake. Steven Soderbergh and Ted Griffin created a new story for Ocean and his band of thieves.

After being released from the New Jersey Penitentiary, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) starts building his crew. Using old friends and “proper villains,” Danny looks to knock over three casinos: The Bellagio, The Mirage and the MGM Grand. But they might be in over their heads.

The heist is set and, just like in the original, Danny and his team kills the power to the city of Las Vegas. Using this outage, the team executes their plan perfectly. Breaking into this vault, “which rivals the security of most nuclear missile silos,” is not something that simply anyone can do, but these eleven have every aspect figured out.

After the Bellagio job, they walked away with $163 million. Not a bad day’s work.

After becoming famous in the criminal world, Ocean’s eleven take it easy, or at least try to. Just a few short years later, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) finds them (with a little bit of help). To pay off Benedict, they have to raise around $198 million. The crew can’t work in the US, so they go abroad to find some jobs. Cue Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and her team of Interpol agents. Danny and his crew don’t normally have to worry about cops, at least as long as someone isn’t romantically infatuated with one. Rusty (Brad Pitt) and Isabel have a history, now she is trying to bring them all down.

This movie gets away from the casino (but don’t worry, we will go back). The Night Fox aka François Toulour (Vincent Cassell) bets that he can steal any object before Ocean, so they make a deal. If he wins, he proves that he is the best thief in the world. If he loses, he agrees to pay the debt to Benedict. Let the games begin.

The heist: The Fabergé Imperial Coronation Egg.

Although there are some impressive scenes from Toulour that prove he is a skilled thief, he doesn’t look at the resources around him. Danny and Rusty take advantage of their connections to get close to the egg; even pulling in Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts) to play Julia Roberts. In the end they steal the egg and their debt is paid. Unfortunately (but actually according to plan), everyone gets arrested and then escapes the custody of Interpol.

In total they had the $198 million paid off, plus the $20 million Faberge egg.

After getting out of jail and with their debt paid, the crew return to America. Longtime crew member Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) builds a casino with Willy Bank (Al Pacino), only to get screwed out of the contract.

They try to play nice, but the only option left is to break the Bank (I told you we would come back to a casino job). This time they need a little more help and extra funding. So they turn to their last hope, Benedict.

With everything set, the eleven start the job. Thanks to Bank and his high limit tables, they know they are going to be able to make plenty of money. But it’s not just them, it’s everyone in the casino. It doesn’t matter if they win, as long as Bank loses. With everyone in place, the gang uses loaded balls, loaded dice and rigged shuffle machines to take everything from Bank.

The team took Bank for $500 million, but they walked away with much smaller figures. After donating Benedict’s cut, $72 million to Camp-T0-Belong, the others split 4 diamond necklaces and their own winnings: at least $928 million.

These movies, including the original, are incredibly similar. The only real differences between them are the actors and the level of complexity in the robberies. With the new movies, a comradery between the crew is apparent, and the humor is subtle, but effective.

This is one of my favorite trilogies (behind The Lord of the Rings) and Ocean’s Eleven is my favorite casino robbery movie.

Overall, this is a fun, smart and exciting series of movies that are fun for anyone over the age of 13. Loveable and well-rounded characters like Pitt, Clooney and Damon all bring this series to life and invest you in their success.


Ocean’s 11: 6.1

Ocean’s Eleven: 8.1

Ocean’s Twelve: 7.5

Ocean’s Thirteen: 7.7

Images from AlphaCoders.com

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