Ocean’s 8 fails to cash in

Published Jun 17, 2018 at 9:00am

A new, all-female cast does little to make Ocean’s 8 anything special, let alone a worthy successor to the previous trio of fun heist flicks.

Starring Sandra Bullock and Kate Blanchett, Ocean’s 8 is a sequel to the Ocean’s 11 trilogy starring starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and a host of other familiar faces from the 2000s.

Switching everybody out for all women is not enough to justify this random entry into the popular series, arriving in theaters more than a decade later.

That’s not to say the cast is bad. From Bullock and Blanchett to Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna, the filmmakers put together a solid, entertaining crew. It’s the heist itself, the overall story and the characters that make Ocean’s 8 more of a bore than it should be.

In the new film, Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister to Clooney’s Danny Ocean, and she’s ready to get into the family filching business. Exactly like the Clooney movies, Bullock puts together a crew of random criminal experts in order to steal the most expensive diamond necklace in the world at the annual Met Gala.

The film then plays out exactly like you’d expect. There are the recruitment scenes, the planning stages, the occasional hiccup and then, finally, the near-perfectly orchestrated snatch and grab climax. It’s all fine, if all you’re looking for is an average heist movie, but Ocean’s 8 lacks the magic and energy of the previous films.

Clooney’s Ocean’s 11 movies — adapted from a Frank Sinatra Rat Pack caper from 1960 — were beloved for their charm, their style and their razzmatazz. The heists were fun, the twists were clever and the characters were memorable. Little of that remains in Ocean’s 8. The difference might be that Clooney’s director, Steven Soderbergh, has been replaced this time around by director Gary Ross. Ross has made some fine films in his career, but he lacks the distinctive style that Soderbergh put into his Ocean’s films.

Most of the new cast are entertaining enough, but their characters never rise to any level of being very memorable. They lack distinctive personalities and stakes, and just seem to be going through the motions, Bullock’s character included.

Ocean’s 8 would have been better served by just creating a new franchise about an all-female team of thieves, instead of trying to bank on an existing popular franchise.