The boys are definitely back, but the chemistry that worked for the first two films falls flat. While the movie is still fun, the plot is too convoluted, stretched out too long and too thin.
In this round, Reuben (Elliot Gould, “Playing Mona Lisa,” “Kim Possible”), one of the original 11, is double-crossed by his new partner, Willie Bank (Al Pacino, “Donnie Brasco,” “The Devil’s Advocate”), and Reuben has a near-fatal heart attack after losing everything. The boys decide to get revenge and take down Willie’s newest casino to teach him a lesson and win back Reuben’s losses.
Director Steven Soderbergh is able to keep the same look of the previous films, but unfortunately, the tone is different in this one. Perhaps this is due to yet another new writer, or that the plots have been tried out with this bunch of characters and should have been left alone after the last sequel.
This film had a much slower pace than the first two and left the audience bored at many points as it threw in too much detail about what was going on. It took forever to get anything done.
Instead, the film focused on making sure all of our favorite characters were given plenty of screen time, including a couple of characters who were introduced in the last film. However, there were far too many characters to keep track of, especially with the new characters thrown in.
A cameo bit from the last film, Roman Nagel (Eddie Izzard, “Ocean’s Twelve,” “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”), was played up to be more important than it needed to be, while a new character – Greco Montgomery (Julian Sands, “A Room with a View,” “Boxing Helena”), the inventor of the unbeatable security system – was given hardly any screen time at all.
And the girls we’ve come to know and love in the previous films, Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts, “Pretty Woman,” “Mona Lisa Smile”) and Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones, “The Legend of Zorro,” “Chicago”), were not here at all. The rationale was simply, “This isn’t their fight.” And despite the fact that Ellen Barkin (“Someone Like You,” “Sea of Love”) gets to play a new character in the film, she came across as nothing but an easily duped sidekick. There were no strong females in this film.
As a result, this is strictly the boys at play doing their thing. It’s all about the con, and it’s all about revenge. There was no clever subplot to offset the con like in the previous two films. Consequently, there were a lot fewer witticisms on-screen and none of the amazing surprise twists that the audience has come to expect.
To counteract the flaws of the plot, the director chose to make some odd filming choices. There were plenty of creative camera angles, frequent dizzy pans and far too many split screens. It all very quickly became too artistic and too nauseating, and it didn’t compensate for the lack of plot.
Overall, it was a fun movie with some amusing moments, but most of them were in the previews. This film simply lacked the same zip that audiences have come to know and love. This may be the summer of sequels, but this particular film was no triple threat.