MOVIE REVIEW: A hillbilly heist with heart
DON'T judge a fallen football star by his rusty pick-up truck.
That's the lesson to be had from this hillbilly heist movie, delivered in a distinctive, West Virginia drawl.
Having successfully pulled off three Danny Ocean cons, director Steven Soderbergh is looking for a new bank vault to plunder (he's also producing the all-female spin-off Ocean's Eight).
Logan Lucky turns out to be a playfully subversive variation on the theme.
To pinch a line from the film itself, this redneck crime comedy could be retitled Ocean's 7/Eleven (newscasters coin the term "hee-haw heroes" to describe the mysterious gang that captures the popular imagination with its audacious daylight robbery.)
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is the unlikely mastermind of the multimillion-dollar racetrack heist, staged during one of the biggest days on the NASCAR calendar.
When Jimmy is unfairly sacked from a work site because of his dodgy leg, he figures it's about time he turned his fortunes around.
Having spent the last few months fixing the sinkholes underneath the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he is uniquely qualified for the plan he has in mind.
Jimmy knows he can count on Clyde and their lead-foot sister Mellie (Riley Keough), but the Logans need a safebreaker on their crew.
Peroxide blond career thug Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) would have been a wildcard even if they hadn't had to bust him out of jail.
Further jeopardising the operation are Bang's clueless brothers (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid), liabilities he refuses to work without.
The filmmakers do such a good job of painting the Logan brothers as broken-down characters, their skilful execution of what amounts to a fiendishly complicated heist plan calls for a considerable stretch on the part of audiences.
But watching these losers turn the tables on the authorities is ultimately too much fun for anyone to want quibble over such minor plot details.
Driver's deadpan delivery is a nice complement to Tatum's gruff, physical charisma - which the actor dials down here to further showcase his range as an actor.
Keough does a lot with very little - turning what might have been a caricature into something richer and more memorable.
Craig doesn't have anywhere particularly interesting to go with the role of Bang, but at least he doesn't take it over the top.
A top shelf supporting cast, including Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes and Seth MacFarlane, ensure Soderbergh gets away with it - yet again.
Logan Lucky opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Stars: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Verdict: 3.5 stars