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Ocean's 12 (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None

HOW do you go about bettering one of the coolest films of recent years?

It's a tricky question, given the sheer quality of Ocean's 11, the ultra-enjoyable remake of the former Rat Pack movie, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (among others).

Never one to rest on his laurels, however, director Steven Soderbergh has assembled the same crew, drafted in some new players and upped the stakes considerably, making Ocean's 12 an even slicker affair (if that were possible) that gets by on the considerable weight of its charm alone.

Set three years after the Las Vegas job, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his 11-strong crew are eventually tracked down by Terry Benedict's vengeful casino boss (Andy Garcia) and given two weeks to pay him back with interest.

Jetting off to Europe, therefore, it is up to Ocean and crew to pull off enough jobs to pay their debt, while also finding out who tipped Benedict off.

To compound their plight, however, they have to contend with a rival master-thief, in the form of Vincent Cassel's rich-brat, The Night Fox, who is intent on destroying Ocean's reputation, as well as the unwanted attentions of Catherine Zeta-Jones' sultry Interpol agent, who just happens to be a former love-interest of crew member, Rusty (Pitt).

And while they held all the cards previously, now they are on the back foot and continually forced to play catch-up, prompting the inevitable fall-outs and clash of personalities.

Set against the backdrop of some stunning European locations (such as Rome, Lake Como, Amsterdam) Ocean's 12 is a breeze from start to finish - a smart, knowingly smug yet frequently enjoyable crime caper that revels in its own playfulness.

It may lack the freshness of its predecessor but the camaraderie that exists between each of the performers translates so easily to the viewers that it's easy to forgive some of its excesses.

Of the returning cast members, Clooney and Pitt revive their easy-going chemistry, thereby confirming their position as a modern-day Redford and Newman, while the likes of Damon and Don Cheadle make the most of beefier roles.

Julia Roberts, too, has a witty and clever part to play late on, while Garcia exudes menace as the determined Benedict (although he could use more screen time).

Of the newcomers, Cassel easily slips into the feel-good tone, while Bruce Willis, Robbie Coltrane and Eddie Izzard all contribute nice little cameos.

Only Zeta-Jones seems to be struggling with the material given that she seems to be taking things a little too seriously.

The plot, itself, is hopelessly contrived and probably possesses one con too many, but it largely plays second fiddle to the personalities on show - who, to be fair, are the main reason for seeing it.

When cinema looks and feels this good, it's difficult to be too picky - so kick back, enjoy the ride and let Soderbergh and crew work their magic once again.

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