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Film review: Logan Lucky – Steven Soderbergh makes laid-back return with star-studded heist comedy

After a four-year hiatus, respected director Soderbergh returns to the big screen with this Deep South heist movie that comes across as a redneck version of his classy Ocean’s trilogy – only not as good

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 3:06pm

2.5/5 stars

After a self-imposed “retirement” from filmmaking, the once-prolific Steven Soderbergh eases himself back into the directorial saddle with his first film in four years. Logan Lucky feels overly familiar to anyone who has followed the director’s work.

The redneck Deep South heist movie is an all-star alternate to Soderbergh’s A-list Ocean’s trilogy, only this time it is low-rent criminals doing the swindling and the target is a racetrack, not a high-rolling casino.

Scripted by first-timer Rebecca Blunt, the film revolves around the West Virginia-based Logan family: Jimmy (Channing Tatum), his one-armed bartender brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and their sister Mellie (Riley Keough).

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Jimmy formulates a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway track during a Nascar race on Memorial Day. The cash flowing into the venue – ferried around by a complex system of pipes below ground – is the bounty for the Logans.

Helping them out is the brilliantly named explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig in a rare non-James Bond outing), a muscular, tattoo-clad thug with a bleach-blonde crew cut. Oh, and Bang is in jail. Part of the elaborate plan is to bust him out – and back in – before anyone is the wiser.

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Inevitably there are complications, not least the unwelcome attentions of a British racing car driver named Max Chilblain (comic star Seth MacFarlane, almost unrecognisable). With Hilary Swank and Alien: Covenant ’s Katherine Waterston also on board, it is all very casual and laid-back, though the film lacks the insouciant charm of the Ocean’s films.

While the actors all appear to be having a blast, it never quite translates to the story. Only Craig’s turn really leaves an impression, and you’re left with the feeling that, for all its brio, Logan Lucky doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, as they say in those parts. Soderbergh has been here before – and he has done it better.

Logan Lucky opens on November 9

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