Logan Lucky is “Ocean’s 11” with a Redneck AccentSep 13, 2017
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by: Rebecca Blunt
Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes
Best known for his 2001 all-star reboot of “Ocean’s 11” and the inevitable pair of sequels that followed, Steven Soderbergh has mixed his basic heist-plot by moving the setting from the slick, neon-tainted environs of Las Vegas to the good old country boy backdrop of NASCAR racing. Working from a story and script by first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt, Soderbergh manages to infuse the complicated robbery movie with a deep-fried energy that works, even if it doesn’t quite rise to the level of the George Clooney-Brad Pitt-Matt Damon level of “Ocean’s 11.”
This time around it’s a pair of brothers who are driving the crime. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum – Magic Mike, 22 Jump Street, Foxcatcher) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) are as country as it gets and riding a streak of really, really bad luck. Jimmy has just lost his job working at Charlotte Motor Speedway while Clyde spends his evenings tending bar at one of those roadside bars that only the locals wander into. Eager to change the Logan family luck and get back at the company that did him wrong, Jimmy comes up with a scheme to take advantage of a weak point in the speedway’s cash transportation system. They enlist the aid of Joe Bang (Daniel Craig – yep, James Bond) who is more shaken than stirred as a safe-crackin’ genius who is serving out the final few months of his prison sentence.
The best heist movies pit their protagonists against seemingly impossible odds that hinge on pulling off a complicated and clever plan with precision timing. Of course, things are bound to go wrong on the job and that’s where the fun really begins for Soderbergh and crew. It’s pretty clear that Tatum and Driver are having a ball with their characters, but it’s Daniel Craig who really blows things out of the water with a hilarious interpretation of a man who walks a fine-line between explosive genius and insanity. It only takes his first few minutes on screen to forget Craig’s performances as 007. He is Bang. Joe Bang…and you just know he’s gonna blow some stuff up.
Katie Holmes is adequate as Jimmy’s ex-wife, now married to a car dealership owner who likes to tool about in muscle cars to match his ego, without the ability to drive stick. Seth McFarlane shows up as a racing team owner with ego issues of his own. Oscar-winner Hilary Swank rounds out the major players as an FBI agent determined to catch the thieves.
Heist movies work not just because you find yourself pulling for the thieves to get away the crime, but because you’re surprised at how they manage to outsmart everyone and overcome the odds to get the job done. That was part of the magic of “Ocean’s 11” – the flashback at the end of the movie that reveals the details of the plot Soderbergh only partially reveals. If you liked that aspect of the Vegas robbery, you’re in for a treat with “Logan Lucky” because Soderbergh does it again – a sleight-of-hand movie-making delight.