Film Review: LOGAN LUCKY (USA 2017) ***

logan luckyTwo brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Stars: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Veteran director Steven Soderbergh, most famous for his OCEANS ELEVEN trilogy and for his Oscar winning ERIN BROCKOVICH and critically acclaimed films like KAFKA and THE LIMEY was supposed to have retired after his last film UNDER THE CANDELABRA . But after reading the script for LOGAN LUCKY, he was supposedly so enamoured that he decided to direct it. LOGAN LUCKY is a stylish crime caper, a sort of anti-OCEAN’s ELEVEN film without the glamour. Everything is seedy on LOGAN LUCKY, the props, the heist and life depicted in the film.

Soderbergh said of LUCKY LOGAN: “Nobody dresses nice. Nobody has nice stuff. They have no money. They have no technology. It’s all rubber band technology”.
The film involves two brothers. Trying to reverse a family curse (as lame as excuses come), siblings Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Mellie (Riley Keough), and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina during Memorial Day weekend. Simple though the plot might seem, the story is complicated by all the baggage brought on by the characters.

These are a few examples: (proving Soderbergh’s liking for the script)
Jimmy is separated and has a daughter that is entering a talent contest, which he should support. She performs John Denver’s famous song “Country Road”, in one of the film’s best scenes.

Clyde has lost his hand during the Iraq war. He still serves a mean martini as a bartender using only one arm, and his hand is sucked into the vacuum during the heist.

Special Agent Sarah Grayson (Hilary Swank) has a no-nonsense role as an investigator who hates tight alibis and coincidences

Warden Burns (Dwight Yoakam) as a 9-year old veteran who believes his prison to be the best and escapee proof.

Because of all these distractions, the film runs almost two hours. Though the story actually gets a bit convoluted and also a bit complicated at times, no one really cares, as Soderbergh always surprises with his style and dead-pan humour, reminiscent of KAFKA, my favourite film of his.

The heist segment is executed with a combination of more wry humour than suspense. The home made bomb form the film’s funniest part. Note that there are no exciting car races in this car race heist film.

The cast is impressive with well-known actors including James Bond 007’s Daniel Craig playing against time as a sprung convict, Joe Bang as well as 6 NASCAR drivers playing minor roles. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch play West Virginia state troopers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are security guards, Kyle Larson is a limo driver, and Ryan Blaney is a delivery boy. Everyone in the cast and crd appear to he having fun and the fun shows.

Not the best of the Soderbergh’s films, but LOGAN LUKCY is still an entertaining watch from a director who knows how to entertain, especially with a good caper comedy.


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