Steven Soderbergh is one of the finest directors to ever work in the Hollywood game. Films like Out Of Sight, Sex Lies And Video Tape, Traffic, Solaris, The Limey et al show that he’s up there with the likes of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock. He’s truly one of the greats, with an understanding of how to handle genre, tone and style. He announced his retirement from filmmaking back in 2011, but thankfully he wasn’t true to his word and he returned with 2017’s Logan Lucky, a comedic heist movie starring Channing Tatum (Soderbergh’s new go-to leading man), Adam Driver and Daniel Craig. It’s with a slightly heavy heart that I report that it’s a a solid flick, however it lacks the Soderbergh spark that made Ocean’s 11 (and its sequels) such a joy.
Logan Lucky sees Tautum and Driver star as none-too-bright two bothers who believe their family (the Logans) is a cursed lot. The duo hatch a scheme to improve their lives by robbing the Charlotte Motor Speedway – a plan which involves breaking Daniel Craig’s unhinged Joe Bang out of prison. As you can imagine, things don’t run smoothly and soon Hillary Swank’s tough-as-nails FBI agent is tracking down the stolen loot.
While there’s much to admire in Logan Lucky (Daniel Craig is a hoot and the Game Of Thrones prison stand-off is great), it feels like Soderbergh is running on neutral. For once, the tone is uneven and the plot is unfocused – Tatum seems to be playing everything straight while the rest of the cast is full of quirks. Meanwhile the Swank plot-line feels unnecessary and unfinished – and don’t even get me started on Seth McFarlane’s extended cameo.
It’s light and breezy, but Logan Lucky just doesn’t have the zing and zest of Soderbergh’s other works. It’s far from terrible, but Movies In Focus always expects greatness when Steven Soderbergh is involved.