OCEAN’S 8 More Than Lives Up To The Family Name

185A8F94-55E0-49D9-B920-05CA96567CB8Directed by Gary Ross
Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling & Helena Bonham Carter

After over 5 years hard time, Debbie Ocean (Bullock) is released onto the streets of Manhattan. Instead of sticking to the law this time, she assembles a crack team of specialists to pull of a $150million heist during the social event of the season: The Met Ball.

When it was originally announced that the Ocean’s series was being retooled and gender swapped, it raised a few eyebrows. The slight misfire of Ghostbusters still lingered in the air and the last time a member of the Ocean’s family had graced the screen was way back in 2007. Wouldn’t it just make sense to do an all-girl heist movie without tying it to another set of movies? Maybe. But that’s not what we got. While it could be argued that the original stars of the franchise brought a lot to the series, what really worked was the style and fun. If director Gary Ross and his cast could recreate that, they’ll be fine, and let me tell you, they are more than fine.

Ocean’s 8 is a slick, smart and most of all, enjoyable heist film that rarely fails to impress. The assembled wrong doers all get a chance to shine with nobody really stealing too much of the spotlight. The chemistry bubbles well between all of them (only Hathaway feels a little out of sorts, which makes sense within the film). A big shout out goes to rapper Awkwafina who is incredibly endearing and funny from her first scene onwards. This feels much more of an ensemble piece than the original trilogy, which strongly works in its favour. You don’t walk out thinking about one character, you’re thinking about the team.

The heist itself is a delight, putting us right in the middle of the Met Ball is a thrill, with cameos galore (though none of them very good), it does feel like we’re getting an insider view. The switch of setting from Las Vegas to New York is a step up. While there’s something classic about a Vegas heist, the new location feels classier and smarter. There’s a nice justification as to why a female crew has been assembled (Bullock argues that women blend in at these events, men draw attention), but it’s never really required, we believe that this crew is the best at what they do.

Sadly, the fun must come to an end. The film does overstay it’s welcome. After the heist is complete, we’re treated to an extra 20 minutes on how they’re going to get away with it, introducing a subplot with James Corden as an insurance investigator which feels like it belongs a different movie. Still the film carries itself with enough bounce to keep you engaged for the 110 minutes.

As slick and perhaps even smoother in some areas than its predecessors, Ocean’s 8 will leave you with a grin on your face from start to finish. Bring on Ocean’s 9.

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