When Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) loses his job doing construction work at the Charlottesville Motor Speedway because of a ‘liability issue’ he decides that he’s going to rob the place. Jimmy forms a plan using his own insider knowledge and he recruits his brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), and explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to carry out the caper with the brothers hoping to break the Logan curse. A redneck heist ensues.
It’s hard to escape the comparisons between Logan Lucky and director Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy of films. There’s a heist that needs to be pulled off and we’re then drip fed just enough of the details to keep up with what’s going on and then at the last minute there’s a big reveal of what actually happened. In fact the film itself refers to the heist as the Ocean’s 7-11 and that’s not far from the truth. It might be a bit reductive to say this is a hill billy Ocean’s 11 but it’s also absolutely on the nose. From the initial assembling of the unlikely gang through to the final reveal, it all feels like the Ocean’s gang have just traded Nevada for West Virginia.
That’s not to say that the film isn’t a lot of fun; I had a great time watching Logan Lucky. It’s an interesting set of characters and Channing Tatum does a really great job of leading the unlikely gang. It actually reminded me of the cast of My Name is Earl transplanted into a Steven Soderbergh heist movie and that’s certainly no bad thing. As good as Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are they are upstaged by Daniel Craig as explosives expert Joe Bang, in a really great reminder that Craig is a lot more than James Bond. This is quite a long way from what he does in James Bond and he does it brilliantly.
Logan Lucky is a very by the numbers caper film, we have some of the plan laid out for us, but not quite everything. There is enough detail to try and figure out what’s going on but I always had the feeling there was more to the plot than we were privy to and come the end…well I think it’s worth going to see what happens. Something about the film just works very well, these are all elements that I’ve seen before but the sum of everything on screen makes it a really engaging and enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
There are some subplots that seem to go nowhere though. Seth McFarlane is introduced as some kind of energy drink kingpin but that never really fully develops or pays off. Oh and McFarlane has a terrible English accent, but I think that must just be something Steven Soderbergh likes to chuck into his films now. Katherine Waterson crops up for a few minutes as a doctor in a mobile clinic, seemingly just to swoon over Channing and his Tatums and to make some commentary on the state of the American healthcare system. We get some hints at the troubles between Jimmy and his ex Bobbie Jo Chapman (Katie Holmes) but they’re never really played out or expanded on. Then right towards the end we get a surprise Hilary Swank who does very, very little.
It’s a really good fun film but it’s very surface deep. There’s not really a greater message or any hidden depth to things, it’s just a bit of fun. There are too many dangling plot threads to be a truly great film, and perhaps with another draft or two this could have been something that had a bit more to say. As it stands, it’s worth watching but it could have been more.