Steven Soderbergh had one cheek firmly planted on the seat of retirement when the temptation of a “no frills” Ocean’s Eleven-esque type script made its way into his hands. Rather than riding off into a comfortable and successful end to his directing career, Soderbergh had that familiar urge to take a lap around the action heist track on last time. Logan Lucky is that irresistible carrot that has pulled the crafty and talented veteran down the rabbit hole one last time.
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is a simple hard working guy, just like so many other people in a quiet unassuming town in North Carolina. He makes a modest, but honest blue collar living working with his hands doing manual labor. Due to another bout of bad luck, Jimmy finds himself out of a job and at his rope’s end filled with frustration. He decides that if he can’t find success through legitimate means, there’s always another option. He recruits his siblings, Mellie (Riley Keough) and Clyde (Adam Driver), for an old fashioned heist. They’ll have to go outside of the family circle to one additional, but very important, missing piece to their plan. Joe Bang (played by Craig, Daniel Craig) just so happens to be one of the best around at his trade. Unfortunately he’s currently doing a stretch in the local correctional facility. This just adds to the craziness of an already outlandish plan to get rich quick. Get ready for some simple fun on the way to a complex, and hopefully thrilling conclusion.
When Steven Soderbergh decided to move forward with this project, excitement followed. Since he decided to take a path similar to his Ocean’s franchise, casting lots of talent would be key in Logan Lucky‘s success…hopefully. And on that note, Soderbergh nailed down a large swath of recognizable talent with the cornerstones being Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig and Adam Driver. Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston and Sebastian Stan are also a part of this ensemble cast. Heck, and since the plot revolves around the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race, why not give fans of this sport something a little special to look forward to? Keep your eyes peeled for a few oval circuit favorites while watching. Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano all have cameo appearances. Interestingly enough though, none of them are actual NASCAR drivers.
Logan Lucky wants to be an action-fueled smart and funny crime caper and that’s a pretty big order if you’re hoping to avoid direct comparisons to some of Soderbergh’s (well three in particular) previous works. The characters will definitely take some getting used to. In the attempt to make them “simple” in their own ways, some viewers may be turned off or distracted by it. And speaking of distractions, everyone having a southern accent might try your patience a few too many times, especially when it comes to Daniel Craig. On the action side of things, yes there is action present but it’s also usually tied to some type of buffoonery in one way or another. Where the strength of this film really shows is in its story. You may not notice it at first, or even most of the way through the movie’s two hour runtime. But when all is said and done, you’ll likely be satisfied with that aspect of it.
Channing Tatum has done better work, as has just about everyone. That being said, it takes talent to take things down the level that Logan Lucky sometimes goes to. While there are many moments of flash and fun, the plot does bottom out quite a few times. Part of that may be due to the acting, or rather the direction that they were given. Either way, you’ll soon realize that there’s a reason for a movie with so many stars was held back until a mid-August release. It will take some serious luck for this heist to turn a profit. Racing is supposed to be all about taking curves aggressively and going all out in the straightaway. Logan Lucky is a middle of the road Sunday matinee at best.