Ocean’s Eleven is probably of the most loved Heist movies of recent times, the Soderberg directed thriller was effortlessly cool, with a charismatic ensemble cast, spearheaded by the superstar duo of Clooney & Pitt. Though the following sequels did not reach the acclaim of the first, it’s been over 10 years since Ocean’s Thirteen. Now the franchise is being revived, with an all-female ensemble, will it prove to be a hit, or an ill-advised spin-off?
Ocean’s 8 picks up following the release of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) on parole, following several years behind bars. The younger sister of the now deceased(?) Danny Ocean, Debbie concocts a plan to gain not only a large jackpot, but revenge on the person that lead to her incarceration. The target, the Toussaint, a lavish $150m Cartier necklace, which will be present at the extravagantly exclusive Met Gala party. She enlists the help of her former partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina) and jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling) amongst others.
Some fans feared that Ocean’s 8 was just a sceptical cash grab, and would be an unnecessary addition. But O8 proves to be a thoroughly entertaining, charming and funny ride. Bullock & Blanchett may not be as magnetic as the original Ocean/Rusty dynamic from the first trilogy, but then again, it’s rare to find a combination that good. Both ladies here do a great job in carrying their roles, with Blanchett being particularly enjoyable in her role as the snarky Lou. The rest of the cast are also enjoyable, Kaling is known for her comedic work, and shines here. Anne Hathaway is having a blast playing the ditzy actress/socialite Daphne Kluger. Sarah Paulson & Helena Bonham Carter, who are also part of plan, fit into the team comfortably too. Rihanna is usually can be divisive in her roles, but her lines are kept to a minimum here.
The heist is of course the centre piece to the film, and that is where the film starts to break up. The heist concludes at the end of the 2nd act. As the 3rd act decides to look into what happens after the crime has taken place. Logan Lucky fell for a similar trap, following the heist with an investigation sequence. It really does slow the film down to a halt, and appears to be just an excuse to get James Corden to do his comic routine and get some cheap laughs. Everything building up to their plan at the gala, and the heist itself is very well done. Fast paces and captivating to watch, the film could have quickly wrapped it all up but decided to go on for just a bit too long.
The film also lacks a true antagonist, Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict was a foreboding villain in the original film, someone the audience would love to see get his just desserts. But here, there really isn’t a stand out villain, sure, Debbie’s Ex could be seen as the foil, but his character is so generic, no one really cares about him or his fate. Our squad also never seem to face any challenges or danger. None of the team really show any nerves or rookie behaviour, considering only Debbie and Lou seem to be the real big time criminals. Any danger the team faces is almost immediately dealt with, taking away any suspense.
Ocean’s 8 does more than enough to warrant a sequel, the film is full of humour, style and there are tonnes of celebrity cameos to keep your eyes open for! Though the large amount of obvious product placement of several products is Transformer levels of ‘in your face’. If the sequel can bring in a viable foe for our team to go up again in the next instalment, things look promising for the franchise!