A group of army veterans comes together to
rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve.
Ocean's 11 (1960)
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Written by Harry Brown and Charles Lederer
Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.,
Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, Richard Conte, Cesar Romero, Patrice Wymore, Akim Tamiroff, Henry Silva, Norman Fell
Sometimes there's a reason a film is remade. Sometimes the original is a dud, and the remake exceeds expectations (The Fly, Casino Royale, and Little Shop of Horrors, just to name a few). 2001's Ocean's Eleven is a highly entertaining heist comedy with a stellar cast mixed with movie stars and character actors. The film it's based on is a 1960 heist comedy starring the Rat Pack and no one else of note (Sorry, Cesar Romero). It's biggest crime is its snail's pace and lack of stakes. A heist movie needs high stakes and a great ensemble, or else it fails immediately. And this one lacked both.
Meet Danny Ocean (Sinatra), an army vet who brings together his old army buddies to pull off a giant heist. The reason why is never all that clear, apart from just dollar signs. They want to rob five casinos in one night, and amazingly the robbery is the most boring part of the film. Most of the film is random Vegas shows spotlighting the Rat Pack and their musical talents, which I'm not shitting on. I just don't think it meshes well with a heist movie. We never feel a connection to any of the characters, and it's unclear who the bad guy is supposed to be. The ending isn't terrible, but it does feel a little taken from The Killing.
Overall, I wasn't expecting much but I was expecting something better than this. It's odd when the remake surpasses the original, especially when it's by a lot. The original Ocean's 11 is a straight-up dud, a boring film, and a terrible heist movie. When faced with a choice, watch the 2001 remake every time.