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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Less talk, more rock

By Aaron Zundel

“Ocean’s Thirteen”

Warner Bros.Directed by Steven SoderberghWritten by Brian Koppelman and David LevienStarring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Elliot Gould, Ellen Barkin, and Eddie Izzard Rated PG-13/122 minutesOpened June 8, 2007Three out of four stars

In 2001, Steven Soderbergh’s remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” rolled into theaters, delighting unsuspecting audiences with genuine wit, humor and heart.

Three years later, the highly anticipated sequel, “Ocean’s Twelve,” followed. Unlike its predecessor, a confusing storyline and cheap conclusion sucked out much of its charm and left audiences cold and confused.

After leaving such a bitter taste in the mouths of moviegoers, many wondered if the “Ocean’s” franchise was dead in the water. But Soderbergh and Co. weren’t ready to throw in the towel.

Banding together with all the debonair smugness of the original 11, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and the gang are back. The question on everyone’s mind now is: Did they deliver the goods?

The answer is yes. Well?mostly.

With drastically different standards to live up to, “Ocean’s Thirteen” is bound to draw comparisons with its predecessors. The good news is it feels more like “Eleven” than “Twelve.” The bad news is it’s still missing some of the charm and soul that made the first movie so memorable.

Absent is the rich character development of the 11. Don’t worry, they’re all still the same ragtag group of loveable wise-asses–but this time around they’re so busy trying to do their job that they don’t have time to go anywhere personally. However, this weakness might also be the film’s greatest strength.

Whereas “Twelve” spent a lot of time meandering aimlessly before hitting the good heist (or three), it seems that Soderbergh and his “Thirteen” were determined not to make the same mistake twice. From the very first shot of the film, the action is set in motion, and for the next two hours Danny, Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon) and the rest of the gang scheme to get revenge on Willey Bank (Al Pacino)–a wealthy and exceedingly dishonest hotel mogul.

Even with such singular focus, the film manages to sail into some new and entertaining territory. This time, instead of gaining $500 million for themselves, the gang is more interested in seeing Bank lose $500 million. The tactics they employ dictate that they must now ally themselves with Bellagio owner and former Ocean rival Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) in order to complete the job.

These twists, along with fresh faces Eddie Izzard and Ellen Barkin, keep “Thirteen” fresh, fun and funny enough to warrant a second chance for a series that many feared had broken its bank.

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