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Blu-ray Review: Ocean’s 8

September 19, 2018

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

A female-driven spinoff of Steven Soderbergh’s slickly entertaining Ocean’s trilogy, Ocean’s 8 focuses on Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the sister of George Clooney’s title character, and the results are very mixed.

The story here begins as Debbie is just getting out of jail after five years, with her brother having passed away while she was locked up. Needing money to get her life back on track, she puts together a crew to help her pull off a major jewellery heist.

Debbie’s crew includes a fellow crook (Cate Blanchett), a semi-retired thief (Sarah Paulson) who steals shipments of big box goods to resell, a fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter) hoping to get back in the spotlight, a jeweller (Mindy Kaling), a street grifter (Awkwafina), and a computer hacker (Rihanna). Their mark is a diamond necklace that has been locked away in a safe for decades and is valued at 150 million dollars, which they plan to sell for parts in order to make them all rich.

Debbie plans to steal the necklace by getting it around the neck of a movie star named Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), and replacing it with a fake while she is in attendance at the prestigious Met Gala, but there are inevitably unexpected complications. With the story here only being tangentially connected to the other films, and not really building upon them in any sort of meaningful way, Ocean’s 8 feels like an entirely needless spinoff that could have just as easily been its own property, instead of somewhat shamelessly capitalizing on the name recognition of this preexisting franchise.

Director Gary Ross keeps things running fairly smoothly, but Ocean’s 8 lacks the more sophisticated air that Soderbergh – who is still credited here as a producer – brought to the other films, and the story also has much lower stakes. While the cast has some fine interplay together, the characters simply aren’t very interesting on their own terms, not because they are women, but simply because they are thinly written and never really come together or clash in ways that would make them compelling to watch.

The result is an entirely inconsequential film that serves as a lightweight and star-studded diversion, and there are moments when it is passably enjoyable on these very narrow terms. If that’s all you’re looking for, it sort of gets the job done, but Ocean’s 8 is ultimately a misfire in that it doesn’t really carve out enough of its own reasons to even exist in the first place.

The Blu-ray also includes a couple of short deleted scenes, as well as the three featurettes A Heist in Heels, Ocean’s Team 3.0 and Reimagining the Met Gala.

Ocean’s 8 is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 110 minutes and rated 14A.

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