The Rat Pack, Las Vegas, casino heists - it couldn't get much more iconic than this, surely? Unfortunately iconic does not always mean brilliant, and while "Ocean's Eleven" certainly isn't terrible, it isn't that wonderful either.
11 wartime buddies (Sinatra, Lawford, Martin, Davis, and crew) plan a series of heists across five Las Vegas casinos in a single evening. Along the way, they pause only to knock back innumerable whisky sodas, hang out in bars, and belt out a couple of classy little numbers. The women (including a cameo from Shirley MacLaine) are mostly classy little numbers as well - this is, after all, very much a 'guy's guy movie'.
Superficially it has a certain style about it - something that "Swingers" clearly recognised and exploited - but it doesn't take long for that to pall. There are just too many main characters for any of them to develop any depth, too many shots of casino signs sparkling in the night, and too little pace and plot to pull the whole thing together. The heist and its consequences partially redeem the film, but in the end it's just not quite enough.
More exciting in concept than execution, "Ocean's Eleven" is prime remake material - and Hollywood producers must have been salivating in the back-lots at the idea of Steven Soderbergh putting one together with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. Unfortunately, it's doubtful that the original would have the same effect on anyone - these 60s army chums only just pass muster.