Many have hailed the return of director Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike and the Ocean’s Trilogy) as the resurrection of the comedy crime caper. Logan Lucky is the story of brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) and their attempt to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway in what the film refers to as “the Hillbilly Heist”. Can it deliver on such elevated expectations?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Logan Lucky is a film living in the shadow of Soderbergh’s previous work, namely the Ocean’s series. Take the setting: gone is the glamour of Las Vegas, replaced by the backwoods of rural West Virginia. Whilst the change of scenery to the Deep South is certainly a refreshing one, the excitement and scale of Vegas is sorely missed. The film desperately wants to live up to its spiritual predecessors, a feeling which permeates almost all aspects of Logan Lucky. But the setting restricts these ambitions rather than giving the film a much-needed innovative spin.
The male leads are a prime example. Tatum and Driver do a decent job of being likeable and occasionally hilarious, but lack the natural charisma and chemistry of Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Obviously, Pitt and Clooney would always be a hard act to follow in this regard, but the slow, slack-jawed dialogue and delivery don’t do the Logan brothers any favours.
“Daniel Craig excels as eccentric explosives expert Joe Bang.”
The rest of the ensemble cast do an adequate job despite limited screen time, most notably Daniel Craig who excels as eccentric explosives expert Joe Bang. He is by far the best part of the film and every scene is made more memorable by his presence. It’s almost enough to compensate for Seth MacFarlane, whose lowbrow humour and terrible accent are the worst part of the film.
The plot and cinematography suffer for similar reasons, lacking the style and panache of Oceans. Most of the film drags, with the occasional funny scene being just enough to keep the audience interested. Although the final act certainly tries to up the ante, it never quite delivers and instead just seems disjointed in an attempt to be clever. In many ways, this summarises the entire film: nowhere near as intelligent as it thinks it is.