By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
From director Steven Soderbergh, the filmmaker who brought audiences Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13, comes a different kind of heist comedy, but one that plays like a less famous, redneck relative of that trilogy. Logan Lucky doesn’t have the suave and debonair, fast-quipping crew that Danny Ocean leads, but does have a wonderful assortment of colorful yokel folks that should make the Cohen brothers giggle with glee. Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and a sensational Daniel Craig, Logan Lucky has plenty of spark, stellarly written and executed comedy, and makes for a distinctly lovable and rather amusing cousin to Soderbergh’s Ocean’s series.
Channing Tatum stars Jimmy Logan, a recently laid off construction worker with a bum leg and an infamous family legacy of bad luck. Though Jimmy doesn’t believe in the family’s superstitious history, his brother Clyde (Driver) certainly does. A war veteran and now bar owner, Clyde’s belief in the family curse makes him super reluctant to partake in a risky, but potentially lucrative scheme that Jimmy cooks up. With the help of their baby sister Mellie (Riley Keough) and an explosives expert named Joe Bang (Craig) and Bang’s loutish brothers Sam (Brian Gleeson) and Fish (Jack Quaid), Jimmy believes his family’s luck is about to change. Jimmy and his motley crew attempt to pull off a meticulously planned heist that will relieve the Charlotte Motor Speedway of loads of cash.
Written by Rebecca Blunt, Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky is an absolute joy to watch. Blunt’s script matched with Soderbergh’s direction is a marriage made in cinematic paradise. From the first few moments until the ending credits, I was engrossed, often highly amused and thoroughly entertained. It didn’t even matter that it was another clever heist movie from the director, or from any director for that matter. Soderbergh and Blunt work their magic and keep the genre fresh and exciting with hilarious dialogue and moments of pure comedic bliss. Audiences will absolutely fall in love with the characters who feel like they were abducted off the set of a Cohen brother’s movie. Now even though Soderbergh and Blunt may have cribbed the character types, their movie feels like their own entity with its own style.
The movie has fantastic performances from the entire cast with Tatum playing his role completely straight-faced and earnestly. Also earnest in his role is Adam Driver whose redneck vocal cadence and delivery had me cracking up and chuckling in my seat. Riley Keough delivers solid work as the Logan baby sister who actually seems more sensible and responsible than her ne’er do well brothers. The film features amusing work by Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Dwight Yoakam, David Denman, Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid. The real scene stealing moments come from Daniel Craig who is an absolute riot as the explosives expert Joe Bang. It is definitely a role quite different from James Bond or any other character he has portrayed, but he does it so well. It is so much fun to see the usually solemn/somber actor having a blast with his character and drawing laughs from the audience. Logan Lucky also stars Katie Holmes, Farrah Mackenzie, Katherine Waterston and Hillary Swank.
Though the plot doesn’t offer audiences anything dynamically different from other heist films, it still makes wonderfully great time at the cinema. I highly recommend Logan Lucky for fans of heist comedy movies, particularly the Ocean’s movies, and fans of comedies featuring redneck-type characters. Who knows? Maybe, if the movie gets enough ticket sales and a large enough fan base, Soderbergh and his writer Rebecca Blunt will cook up another adventure for these good ole boys and baby sister. Steven Soderbergh decided to come out of retirement to make this film. Let’s hope it wasn’t just a one-time deal.