Remake of 'Ocean's Eleven' bests Rat Pack original

by David Jain | 1/11/02 6:00am

What do you get when you combine Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and a host of celebrities in Las Vegas (not to mention over $150 million )? The answer: director Steven Soderbergh's hit remake of "Ocean's Eleven."

When criminal Danny Ocean (George Clooney) gets out from prison, he can't help but begin to plan his next major robbery. With the help of a rather eclectic group of atypical thieves, he attempts to organize an intricate casino theft ring.

When Ocean decides to go through with a plan, he'll definitely pull through until the very end.

A few minutes into the movie, we're introduced to Ocean's sharp right-hand man Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt).

The two devise a plan that will blindly rob three Las Vegas casinos (The MGM Grand, the Bellagio and the Mirage) in one night without the slightest hitch.

The catch? The casinos just happen to be owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), a ruthless businessman who's been on Ocean's revenge list in the past, and who's currently dating his ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts).

In order to partake on his massive mission, Ocean enlists a group of eleven men, a rag-tag group of seasoned thieves.

There's the demolition genius (Don Cheadle), the brainy pick-pocket (Matt Damon), as well as few extras for safekeeping, including an aging retiree, Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner).

The slick and stylish Ocean makes every attempt to ensure that his heist is a true success. From the beginning to the end, the audience is looped through a countless number of surprises and twists.

Perhaps Ocean's most difficult task is his quest to win back his ex-wife, Tess. Time after time, Ocean encounters Tess, who plays an elegant and chic museum curator.

For Ocean, the easy part of his job is stealing the money; the hard part will involve stealing back the heart of his long awaited love.

The film contrasts the young and old, the best and the brightest, along with the worse and clumsiest.

It offers an incredible script, courtesy of Ted Griffin, under the award winning direction of Soderbergh, who has recently been on a roll with such films as "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic."

A spin-off of the 1960s Rat Pack film of the same name, the new version of "Ocean's Eleven" is better than ever.

While the remake may not resemble the original in its entirety, it's certainly a great match. The characters, gangsters and robbers are all cleverly designed to fit their roles, each with a sleek and professional look.

Underlying the murders, robberies and dishonesty is an important message. For the young at heart, the flick demonstrates the everlasting value of trust and camaraderie among friends and thieves. Without even one of the players, the operation could become a complete failure.

From the first scene to the last, "Ocean's Eleven" takes you through a brilliant and skillfully set movie that will stick in your mind for days and weeks to come. It's a vivid and bright account that speaks for itself and clings to its audience.