Comedy Crime

'Logan Lucky' Film Review: 'Ocean's Eleven' with a southern-fried twist

August 17, 2017Ben MK

The man behind such movies as the Ocean's trilogy and The Girlfriend Experience, Steven Soderbergh is a filmmaker with a diverse resume that ranges from the mainstream to arthouse. Now, the director is back with Logan Lucky, a film that not only reteams him with his Magic Mike star, Channing Tatum, but which also marks his first time helming a feature since famously quitting the business in 2013.

A heist movie with a southern twist, the story finds Boone County, West Virginia boy Jimmy Logan (Tatum) down on his luck. Once a promising high school athlete, he's now a divorced dad who works in construction to pay the bills, while his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) enjoys the high life with her new husband. But when a "preexisting" leg injury causes him to be fired from his job repairing sink holes under the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he falls back on his old criminal habits, hatching a plan to liberate the cash from the stadium's highly secure, underground vault.

To do so, however, he'll need a little help, which is where his bartender brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), and hairdresser sister, Mellie (Riley Keough), come in. A war veteran who left an arm behind in Iraq just as he was about to return home from his second tour of duty, Clyde is the first person to admit to the existence of a family curse. Nonetheless, he concedes to joining the crew, and together they set out to put Jimmy's plan into motion, enlisting the skills of incarcerated bomb expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his two brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson).

And what a plan it is. If Soderbergh set a new high-water mark for the genre with Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, then he and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt have raised the bar yet again. Watching the various pieces of Jimmy's scheme steadily fall into place proves not only exhilarating, but downright entertaining as well, and the pair even manage to squeeze in a timely reference to everyone's favorite obsession — Game of Thrones — during a hilarious exchange between rioting prison inmates and their beleaguered warden (Dwight Yoakam).

Of course, it'd be criminal to overlook Craig's performance. Trading his sophisticated English accent for a twangy, rough-around-the-edges demeanor and a platinum blond buzz cut, the once and future 007 uses his character's disdain for sodium substitutes and talent for improvising explosives using bleach pens and gummy bears to bring Logan Lucky to life from his very first scene. Suffice to say, Craig's turn here is the movie's not-so-secret weapon, even overshadowing the one-two punch of Tatum's down-home charm and Driver's deadpan comedic timing.

Some of the other actors, on the other hand, don't fare as well, which is something of a letdown considering how Logan Lucky has been marketed as an ensemble effort. Seth MacFarlane's minor role as a blustery energy drink mogul mostly falls flat, while Sebastian Stan, Katherine Waterston and Hilary Swank's characters could have easily been left on the cutting room floor and most viewers would have been none the wiser. In the end, though, all of that matters little, as Soderbergh once again proves that he's got more than mere luck on his side.

Logan Lucky releases August 18th, 2017 from Entertainment One. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for language and some crude comments. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 59 Mins.

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