Apparently having learned a hard, valuable lesson from 2004's "Ocean's Twelve" — being that Americans don't cotton to sequels that draw inspiration from Italian films of the swingin' Sixties — director Steven Soderbergh and his mighty cast go back to the heist-driven hijinks that made "Ocean's Eleven" such a hit in 2001 and kick-start a franchise.
The film is almost all-heist, all the time, after taking a mere few minutes to set up the story: Greedy casino owner Willie Bank (Al Pacino) screws over not-as-greedy casino owner Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), which doesn't sit well with Reuben's pal Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and the gang (Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, et al), so they plot to rig all the games on the opening night of Bank's new venture for revenge.
"Thirteen" proves to be a lucky number, indeed. Fast and fizzy, the flick pops along on its own effervescence, gliding through an easygoing mix of jokey exchanges and high-tech trickery. Almost on part with the well-oiled "Eleven," the proceedings benefit greatly with the addition of Ellen Barkin as Bank's smoldering right-hand woman; she's up for this boy's club barrage.
DVD features are rudimentary, but the star of the show is the star-studded show itself. —Rod Lott