Director/Producer Steven Soderbergh is an admirably free thinker, a true creative with an eye on the future of filmmaking. He’s very particular about the projects he chooses, emerging from pseudo-retirement to direct his latest, Logan Lucky. Made largely outside the Hollywood system he walked away from, it still managed to score some A-list talent on a modest budget, with James Bond and Kylo Ren likely welcoming the opportunity to play against type, as a down-on-his-luck explosives expert and a goodhearted sad-sack, respectively. Star Channing Tatum plays it safe as yet another nice guy with a bad-boy streak, willing to do anything for his daughter. This time out, that means ignoring his family curse and risking everything to knock off the Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of NASCAR. Logan Lucky soon reveals itself as a heist flick, and an extremely entertaining one at that, full of quirky characters and no shortage of laughs. But in big ways and small it’s also quite derivative of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s ( Insert Number Here) movies. There are already three of those, with a fourth on the way, so the familiarity is disappointing.
The video quality, however, is anything but. Logan Lucky was shot and completed at 4K, and there’s a downright striking clarity to the 2.4:1 image that can’t help but pull us into this world. Tiny textural details pop, grass in particular, in the infield of the racetrack and elsewhere. High dynamic range is in evidence, with interesting lighting choices in some unusual settings, such as the dark construction tunnels beneath the speedway, with ample detail and blacks that are free of distraction. The colors are strong and pleasing, if not extreme enough to really dazzle.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is solid without impressing. Dialogue is eminently legible, even with the affected accents, while the cleanly rendered music—David Holmes’ compositions and an eclectic mix of songs—works wonders to propel the movie forward. The couple of explosions are restrained, and while I suppose that the race day sequence ably captures the thrill of these powerful cars, it’s not intrinsic to the story.
The Ultra HD disc is movie-only, while the extent of the bonus content on the included Blu-ray is a pair of deleted scenes, one of which gives Daniel Craig the chance to flex his thespian chops a bit. But for the Digital Copy, that’s it: no interviews, no making-of, no commentary wherein Soderbergh discusses the bold new approach to his craft. Like the Charlotte Motor Speedway, I feel robbed.