magic mike's last dance review

Magic Mike’s Last Dance review | Stripper franchise has run out of magic

★★☆☆☆ Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum return to conclude the stripper saga in Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Read our review. 


Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike is a genuinely great film. Channing Tatum has never been better than he was in the film, which was partly inspired by his own experiences as a stripper in the early days of his career. Its sequel, Magic Mike XXL, was fun and had a surprisingly heartfelt message about ageing and masculinity. Both films were character-focused comedy dramas with something to say. 

I wish I could say the same about Magic Mike’s Last Dance

magic mike channing tatum

Credit: Warner Bros.

At the film’s start, Mike is bartending at Max’s (Salma Hayek Pinault) fancy party, where a woman recognises him from his stripper days. Max then asks for a dance, paying an outrageous amount for it. 

After a passionate night of pumping and grinding, Max offers to take Mike to London with her for a job opportunity. Max wants to transform an old, dusty theatre into an oasis for women to experience what she experienced when Mike danced for her or in close proximity to her. 

As you can see, the plot here is thin. In a better, more focused film, that wouldn’t matter. Let’s be honest; no one goes to see Magic Mike’s Last Dance for the plot. You see hot guys dancing and grinding, and getting a little insight into who these characters are and what motivates them is just a nice little bonus. This is also what made the first two films soar, but Magic Mike’s Last Dance has absolutely nothing to say about anything, nor does it feature satisfying enough dance sequences either. 

Steven Soderbergh returns to direct the closing chapter of the trilogy, but it seems that Soderbergh has forgotten what made the first film so great and appealing. While Tatum’s original castmates get a small cameo in the film, Magic Mike’s Last Dance is more focused on showcasing newer, younger and more ripped dancers. 

magic mike's last dance salma hayek

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

It all makes Magic Mike’s Last Dance feel like a feature-length ad for Magic Mike Live. Dancers from London’s stage show – which also has Miami and Las Vegas shows – feature heavily in the film, but they are almost all without names or any specific identities. 

In the first film and, by extension, the sequel, all the strippers had something unique about them. None of them were trained dancers, and that clumsiness made those dance sequences memorable and, more importantly, authentic. Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels almost clinical in its approach, not just to the dance scenes but also sexiness itself. 

The very first dance scene, 10 minutes in, between Tatum and Hayek Pinault, is the most cringe-inducing in the entire franchise. It’s supposed to be hot and sexy, but maybe our idea of what’s sexy has shifted since 2012. Maybe watching a man grind their crotch on a woman’s face doesn’t hold quite as much value as it did 10 years ago. 

magic mike's last dance

Credit: Warner Bros.

While Tatum still arguably has the moves, his character constantly claims his dance days are over. This leaves the film strangely void of proper dance scenes until the end. Of course, that last number is staged impressively, but it lacks everything that made scenes like the ‘It’s Raining Men’ number so incredibly sexy. 

Magic Mike’s Last Dance brings the stripper saga to a disappointing, limp close. Strangely sexless, Soderbergh’s film has very little to offer. You’re getting a better deal by watching the Magic Mike Live show or sticking to the first two Magic Mike films. 

Magic Mike’s Last Dance is in cinemas on 10 February

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