Logan Lucky is a well-paced heist film with a big dose of Southern hospitality.
If the idea of Ocean's 11 crossed with Magic Mike takes your fancy, you'll like Logan Lucky.
In his first feature film since 2013's Behind the Candelabra, director Steven Soderbergh delivers an entertaining heist comedy with a Southern twist.
Logan Lucky follows blue-collar labourer Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), who is laid off from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway due to a football injury-related limp that is considered a "pre-existing condition" and a liability. While visiting his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) to pick up their daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) for beauty pageant practise, he learns that she and her new husband, a wealthy car dealership owner, are moving to Lynchburg.
Upset by the news, Jimmy hatches a plan with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), a one-armed Iraq veteran who works as a bartender, to execute an elaborate robbery during the Coca-Cola 600 race on Memorial Day weekend and tap into the underground pneumatic tubes which shuttle cash around the track.
But the Logan brothers can't do it alone and recruit their hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough), explosive expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his redneck brothers Sam (Brian Gleeson) and Fish (Jack Quaid). As Joe is incarcerated and insists that he be returned to prison after the heist, the crew have to carry out simultaneous operations and arrange for the inmates to stage a "riot" so he can escape and assist Jimmy in detonating the main cash pipe.
Without giving away any of the details of the heist, first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (thought to be a pseudonym) constructs a considered and thrilling scenario, which is also smartly edited by Soderbergh under the alias of Mary Ann Bernard.
Much like his character in Magic Mike, Tatum portrays a down on his luck guy with a kind heart, and does a nice job of adopting a local accent while holding the various plot threads together even though the audience is never led to believe he's some sort of tactical genius.
And though it seems a slightly odd choice to cast Driver as he looks nothing like Tatum, the Girls actor brings pathos and determination to proceedings, as does the sharp Keough, with her deadpan delivery and piercing sideways glances.
Yet it is Craig who really steals each scene, with his famed blue eyes and shocking bleached buzz cut, the actor shakes off his Bond past and garners some of the biggest laughs with his exasperation and belligerence.
However, Logan Lucky has some weaker performances, with Holmes a little too polished to get away with playing white trash, and Seth MacFarlane's introduction as NASCAR driver Max Chilblain sees the film verge into Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby territory, with his attempts at a British accent particularly poor.
The soundtrack is the real star at times too, with David Holmes' score centred upon John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads and music by Bo Diddley, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.
In all, the story elements are a little unbalanced, with Soderbergh oscillating between serious social commentary and more humorous ploys - but there's plenty of offbeat components to make Logan Lucky well worth the watch.
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