Q: We're just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?
This remake of the 1960 original is easily one of the best remakes ever made, despite its few (But gross) errors in the plot.
In this caper flick, a professional thief, gambler, and con artist named Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is paroled from prison for presumably other con jobs, and immediately begins scheming the greatest heist of all time: Robbing a vault on fight night that's shared by 3 major Vegas Casinos. To accomplish such a feat, Danny turns to his old friend and professional fixer Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), and together they round up the best, and most unsuspecting crew in the business to make their heist dream a reality, but Danny's in it for more than money and glory...that's right: Revenge on the ruthless owner of three Vegas casinos, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) for stealing away his wife Tess (Julia Roberts).
As the ring of 9 other thieves in Danny & Rusty's crew are the two bickering Malloy brothers Virgil (Casey Affleck) & Turk (Scott Caan), an insider Frank Catton (Bernie Mac-RIP), a security geek Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), a pyrotechnic advisor Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle-uncreditied in the film), the financer Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), the grease man Yen (Shaobo Qin), a retired ex-con Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and the son of a famous pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). Just recruiting these characters is comical enough, but the way that Danny & Rusty carry their all around awesome coolness when swaying Reuben to fund their little big c*cktail party sells the movie for me, just make that scene the trailer and everyone would go see it.
Robert 'Rusty' Charles Ryan is the obvious replacement of Sam Harmon (Dean Martin-RIP: 1917-1995), though while Sam was a charmer with the ladies which worked wonderfully with Dean Martin in the role, Brad Pitt's Rusty is much more suave and cool as the role calls upon Brad's reputation, as did the roles of most actors in the original. Same for George Clooney's Danny Ocean being the dull guy while Frank Sinatra (RIP: 1915-1998) was a bit more enthusiastic. No matter which version of the characters you prefer, they work perfectly with the rest of the cast.
Unlike the original, this isn't a direct remake, as Terry Benedict is more of the replacement for Duke Santos (Caesar Romero-RIP: 1907-1994) but reimagined as a much more serious and tense character that's clearly the villain of the movie, despite that Santos wasn't much of one in the original. Same goes for Basher Tarr being Josh Howard's (Sammy Davis Jr.-RIP: 1925-1990) replacement in that they both have the same type of charm, and both gotta do the dirty work, literally, despite having two major roles in the heists in which their tasks differ from each other greatly.
What made this movie better than its' sequels was that it spent the first hour planning the heist, going through all the moves in practice runs and/or set-ups, yet cleverly doesn't reveal how they plan to walk out the door with $160 million in cash without being stopped. So basically it reveals all the planning that goes into big jobs like this one, but with the colorful cast of characters, makes it a lot more enjoyable than just a classroom lecture like it's played with an equally weird and unnecessary love triangle in the middle of it all.
Said love triangle has Julia Roberts' character of Danny's ex-wife Tess being the replacement for the very same character in the original whom was portrayed by Angie Dickenson. However, Julia played it better than Angie as I consider her a better actress anyway.
The visuals of Vegas are stunning...well, at least the visuals on the infamous four mile Vegas Strip are, as is the interior of the Bellagio Casino. For unlike episodes of "CSI: Las Vegas" which limit the scope to some high aerial shots with any close ups being clouded by grand crowds surrounding any given area, the Vegas Strip in this flick are presented in much more class, as it even films in the more executive areas of the casinos, and utilizes the beautiful background to substitute for unnecessary close-ups which would normally block said backgrounds. But the Bellagio Fountain close-ups at the end serve as the cherry on top of this visually enthralling movie.
While the acting may not be top notch overall, it was superb because of the vast amount of colorful characters and the great actors whom portrayed them. Some being virtual unknowns at the time whom were then launched to stardom in successful careers. Thus, because they made the movie flow so well, even in the long pointer scenes, the rating is definitely worth five stars; especially since they're not all confident with themselves, like Matt Damon's portrayal of Linus makes you remember a time when you did stupid stuff to stay among the cool kids rather than be the loser who misses out on everything cuz they're too afraid of the consequences, while the late great Bernie Mac's performance of Frank reminds you of how annoying it was to be the guy that couldn't communicate with your buds often for clarifications during a string of shenanigans since it was your job to 'keep a cover' (aka: they put you there since they don't like you), thus making you feel really left out...as I was ALWAYS that guy.
Director Steven Soderbergh & Producer Jerry Weintraub certainly enhanced their careers with this classy smooth talking caper flick full of great one liners, superb visuals, a great cast, and a twist that'll blow your mind.
So enough listening to me babbling on about this, since I can't reveal more without spoiling it, so go out there and see this caper, right now!