Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Plot: Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.
Reviewed by Clifford Kiyabu
for months now the 4th installment in the Ocean’s series, Ocean’s 8 (2018), has sparked my curiosity. Especially after learning that it was not a remake, reboot, or reimagining, but rather a spinoff from the existing Danny Ocean storyline, which had me excited with anticipation. Considering that I have not seen any of the films in over a decade, I recently decided to do a complete revisit of the Steven Soderbergh Trilogy in preparation of the spinoff. Revisiting them have left me with mixed feelings, however. Ocean’s Eleven is, in my opinion, the superior in the trilogy, with Ocean’s Thirteen coming in a close second place. don’t get me wrong, Ocean’s Twelve is a good movie, just not nearly as entertaining as id like it to be. It suffered from being the middle child that tried a little too hard to win their parents approval.
this review will contain spoilers to the current installment so if you have not seen it yet and do not wish to be spoiled I recommend you stop reading now…
Ocean’s 8 picks up present day, following the release of Debbie Ocean (Bullock), younger sister to Danny Ocean. After meeting up with her longtime friend and partner-in-crime, Lue (Blanchett), the two set off to recruit a ragtag team of uniquely skilled women to aid them in the ultimate jewel heist, and possibly, get some much-needed revenge in the process. Overall I had a fun time with Ocean’s 8. Like its predecessors before it, the film has a certain charm to it that wheels you in from the start. However, while it did hold my attention for the entirety of the runtime, I was somewhat disappointed. To say Ocean’s 8 is a bad movie would be quite a stretch. however, it wasn’t really a great movie either. Much like Ocean’s Twelve, 8 tries too hard to capture the personality and magic of its predecessors and falls flat on doing its own thing. While the heist scene was pretty entertaining, it felt too safe. Never once in the film did I feel any risk for these characters. In the previous films, the main characters were constantly put in situations where it seemed like failure was more than a possibility. In Ocean’s 8 we never quite feel a sense of danger for any of Debbie’s crew.
Another issue lies in the fact that this film is filled with a cast of top-tier talent. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. each of these amazing ladies is truly a force to be reckoned with. They can, and have proven how marvelously talented they are. Bullock and Blanchett aside, the rest of the cast feels so underused here. But, the biggest sin Ocean’s 8 committed, in my opinion, lies with its villain. Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) is so forgettable as a character and villain, that you already begin to forget him by the time the credits start rolling, which is a real shame. Because for the Ocean’s films the villain has always played a key role in the formula. Terry Benedict (Andy García) is a character that you could help but love to hate, and he was nicely fleshed out and given some depth over the span of the entire Trilogy. In Twelve, we had Baron François Toulour AKA The Night Fox (Vincent Cassel) an egotistical thief who proved to be a formidable adversary to the Donny and the gang. And in Thirteen we got Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a narcissistic casino resort owner give’s Terry Benedict a good run for his money. As you can see each of these villains stand out. They’re almost iconic in their own way for the franchise. But as for Becker, he comes off as a throwaway character that didn’t deserve the effort put in for such a noteworthy revenge. And that’s a real problem for Ocean’s 8. The villain is so two dimensional that you really don’t care why Debbie is going out of her way to pay him back for selling her down the river.
Overall; Ocean’s 8 isn’t a bad film by any means. it’s easily much better than Ocean’s Twelve. but struggles behind Eleven and Thirteen. would I recommend seeing it? Sure, if you’ve got time to spare, then it’s an okay way to kill a couple hours. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.