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Logan Lucky movie review: An Ocean's 11 for Trump's America

Ranjan Crasta | Updated on: 8 September 2017, 9:10 IST

Director Steven Soderbergh is finally back and he's doing what he does best – implausibly complex heists by motley crews.

Logan Lucky, his latest, has all the elements of the Steven Soderbergh we came to know and love in the Ocean's trilogy – ensemble casts, excellent musical accompaniment, dry wit and an OTT plot. However, with Danny and the gang replaced with a bunch of redneck hicks, the effect just isn't the same.

Same story, new setting

For his return, Soderbergh has changed the rules of the game. Gone are the slick suits, the glitz and glamour, the suave sophistication. Instead, Logan Lucky is rooted decidedly in hillbilly America, with suits traded for denims and overalls, large casinos swapped for the decidedly more accessible spectacle of Nascar, and slick talking replaced by heavily accented slurring.

The movie's plot follows the antics of a family seemingly cursed by bad luck. Jimmy Logan (Tatum) was all set to be a football star until he injured his leg. His brother Clyde (Adam Driver) lost his hand during a military tour. As Clyde recounts in one of the movie's opening scenes, their latest losses are merely the most recent in a long line of unfortunate incidents.

When Jimmy loses his construction job at the NASCAR arena, and finds out his daughter and ex-wife are moving to another state, he decides to rob the NASCAR vault to solve his problems. Together, the unlucky brothers embark on a high-octane plan to get rich, and buck the 'Logan family curse'.

They are aided in their plan by their sister Mellie (Riley Keogh), explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), and his idiot brothers Fish and Sam (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson). Will the unlikely squad succeed? Obviously, but not without the inevitable hiccups.

Pushing its luck

Simply old wine in a new bottle, Logan Lucky may have a new setting, but it's nothing you haven't seen before. In fact, while the southern setting may breathe life into an otherwise played out plot, it also takes away from the movie's believability.

In Ocean's, the team that Danny puts together is one that is absolutely suited to the task at hand. All masters at what they do, they come together to make magic happen. Logan Lucky's gang, however, have none of this expertise, with Joe the only one given any actual, albeit unexplained, talent. Despite this, the audience is told to believe that they are capable of hatching a plan that is so meticulous it would give Nolan's Joker a headache.

If you're willing to suspend disbelief, and are able to stomach the heavy accents (they sound almost like a parody of the American south) then you may enjoy the movie. It should come as no surprise that Soderbergh makes the heist a lot of fun. There's great music, well shot scenes, funny dialogue, the works.

However, while one would imagine the movie would end with the heist, it doesn't. Instead, it drags on for an extra half hour in the most painful fashion possible, with a bumbling investigation starring Hillary Swank. It tries to explain how the plan actually worked, but ultimately achieves little, because the movie is so damn implausible. Instead, it serves to water down any high the movie actually managed.

Should you see it?

Baby Driver did everything this movie seeks to do, just better. If you feel like an upbeat, high-octane flick though, this will sort you right out.


First published: 8 September 2017, 9:10 IST