Logan Lucky review
Why do people like heist movies? Probably because they represent the anti-establishment and the boundaries that life sets. Though we have our fair share of stories about heroic cops that capture the villains, when we look at it from another perspective, the villain can often come out as the true hero. One often premise is that life has been unfair to someone and they want to balance out everything by taking what’s theirs. Whether their right to do it is usually left to the viewers, but its common that part of the story has an officer looking for them.
Today’s movie is heist movie by Steven Soderbergh, who you may remember having directed the Ocean’s 11 remake and their sequels. This also marks a theatrical return for the director since his Liberace movie, Behind the Candelabra. So we already know that not only can he deliver a good heist movie, but is likely to shoot it in more of an auteur fashion. The big difference here is that while the Ocean movies were about classy criminals stealing from a casino, the heroes here are robbing a Speedway during a NASCAR race. This is Logan Lucky.
Jimmy Logan (played by Channing Tatum) was a once a potential football star whose career was cut short due to a leg injury. Now left with a permanent limp and lack of experience that makes finding work difficult, he’s having a hard time paying for child support let alone support himself. He does have his brother Clyde (played by Adam Driver) for help. Though Clyde himself is an Iraq war veteran with a missing arm. After a fight with NASCAR driver Max Chilblain (played by Seth MacFarlane), Jimmy calls out “cauliflower”, which is code for when he and his brother should commit a crime.
As Jimmy’s previous job as a construction worker game him working knowledge of the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s cash flowing system, they both agree to rob the place. They end up hiring a safecracker whose serving time in jail Joe Bang (played by Daniel Craig). They develop a plan for Clyde to get himself incarcerated and for him and Joe to escape temporarily during the upcoming Coca Cola 600 race. Once a prison riot commences, the two make it out and everyone meets up underground to commence the robbery.
For a simple story about not very bright robbers, this was a fun movie. Was it great? I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s entertaining and gave me my money’s worth at the movies. It’s clear that this film isn’t trying to make a bold statement, but rather provide a simple caper (a lot like this years earlier Going in Style). I’ll say upfront that I honestly haven’t heard of a NASCAR heist story before. Not only how they do the heist is interesting, but you actually do become curious to see just how they orchestrate this. As I said, these are not smart crooks, but they do their best given their situation and the resources available.
Most of the performances are good, like the ones from Channing Tatum and Adam Driver; their passable, but nothing new. My biggest surprise came from Daniel Craig, playing a rare American character. Maybe its because I’m so used to seeing him as James Bond, that almost anything besides that will catch my interest. Thankfully, it pays off, as he plays him in a more comedic fashion then I would have expected. Is there a comedic bug within Daniel Craig we don’t know about?
While the preparation and actual heist proved to be fun, it’s the conclusion where things slow down and not in a good way. The last twenty minutes feels like that they go on for way too long. I tries to expand the story by adding an FBI investigation subplot that not only comes out of nowhere, but I added very little. Despite a committed Hillary Swank playing the role of a detective, they could have cut this out and it would have not changed the story much. It certainly doesn’t ruin the rest of the movie, but it’s like the editing added more padding for a longer runtime.
I’ll give this four prosthetic arms out of five. Lucky Logan is the kind of caper story that has a lot of creativity, but could have used more of it when it came to the ending. This is not much of an action movie, but rather a comedy. I think it’s worth the watch at least once. On a rainy day, it would have to be a TV movie.