Review: Oceans Thirteen (2007)

There's not really much to be said about this film that hasn't already made its way across the Internet.  Suffice to say, everything that went horribly, disastrously wrong with Ocean's Twelve was made up for, and then some, in this third installment.  No more foreign lands, no more hiding the ball, no more needless drama.  Just pure, Vegas fun, this time not for profit, but for revenge.
What made Ocean's Eleven fun was watching the interplay between all of the cast.  What killed Ocean's Twelve was the way in which the cast was constantly separated, segregated to maybe two or three characters in most of the scenes.  This is a truly ensemble cast, made up of some of the best actors our generation is likely to see for quite awhile, and they are at the top of their game when you can watch them chew up the lines and scenery, and spit it back out for another to riff off of.
Ocean's Eleven was about profit, pure and simple.  The last big job.  One for the road.  Ocean's Twelve was about redemption (or at least survival), if it was about anything.  Ocean's Thirteen is about revenge.  A dish best served cold.  The simpler the motive, the better the movie, at least in this case, and I really struggle with not considering Thirteen the best of the three.
The storyline is simple - Reuben has put himself into bed with a shark (Willie Bank - aptly played by Al Pacino, doing his bet Al Pacino impression), in a last-ditch attempt to secure his eternal fame on the Strip.  Unfortunately, this shark bites, and Reuben loses everything and suffers a massive coronary when Bank drops him from his latest venture.
Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with Ocean and his crew, who want to hold Willie accountable to the rules of Old Vegas (such as the rule of the men who shook Sinatra's hand).  Unfortunately, Willie Bank is entirely New Vegas - all show and spectacle, and all about getting his from those who are oh-so-willing to hand it over to him.  Or, as Willie responds to Ocean: "Screw Sinatra's hand..."  And that's really what this movie boils down to - the death of Old Vegas and its last attack on the New Vegas.
This puts into motion a scheme that makes the heist from the first movie look like child's play.  The goal: bankrupt Bank in one night - Opening Night.  Everybody on the team plays a big part this time around, and the performances are as memorable as, if not more than, the first film.  Scene after scene goes by as we watch the team outmaneuver their opponents, playing miles ahead of the likes of Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), Francois Toulour (Vincent Cassell), and Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin).  Of key importance is Matt Damon's performance as Linus, this time posing as an attache with an enlarged...proboscis.
The movie is just plain fun, and it's obvious that everyone involved was enjoying themselves when the film was being made.  At no time does anything feel forced, and the running time of just over two hours flys by like nothing.  If you enjoyed the first film, or even if you just enjoy watching some great actors ad-lib and banter like old times, this is the perfect movie for you.