There is no secret to my dislike of remakes being done in Hollywood with failures like “Footloose”, “Red Dawn”, “Annie” and “Poltergeist”. Lately, there has been the new twist with what is referred to as “gender bending,” where characters that were once male have been remade into female characters, with “Ghostbusters” being the most recent to mixed reviews. “Ocean’s 8” from director and co-writer Gary Ross is a bit of both of these things.
Starring a cast of very popular actresses like Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sarah Paulson (Carol, 12 Years a Slave) with relative acting newcomers Rihanna and Awkwafina, this is a spin-off of sorts of the 2001 version of “Ocean’s Eleven”. Debbie Ocean (Bullock), Danny’s sister who has recently been paroled from prison, decides to fall back to her old ways with a jewelry heist during the annual Met Gala in New York city by reaching out to her best friend named Lou (Blanchett) and a crew of other women with certain special abilities that can pull off the job.
This basically takes place in the New York area, and it showed it well without overdoing it. During the big heist, there are some real beautiful scenes of “The Met” with the right lighting and scenery, accompanied by good cinematography. With a cast where half have either won or been nominated for an Academy Award, the big names did fine, but Bullock and Blanchett seemed to be missing something in comparison to the chemistry that Clooney & Pitt had in their films of this franchise. My shout-outs surprisingly go to Rhianna and Awkwafina, who truly add to both the film and the crew with great attitude and mannerisms.
“Ocean’s 8” makes the point many times that it is trying to have the proverbial torch passed to it from the previous trilogy, but it falls way short in comparison. I did like 2001 version of “Ocean’s Eleven”, but “Ocean’s Twelve” was just OK as was “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Now, if you like the films with cons and the misdirection, you still may enjoy it, as it is also well paced with a good amount of detail, twists, turns, and comedic moments. This film is kind of in the situation that they boast that they are the anchor on the relay race and will win the gold, but drops the baton on the handoff and they do not even medal. I will recommend this film due to the acting by Rhianna and Awkwafina and some of the comedy and twists, but I will only see it again on HBO or Netflix.