Logan Lucky - Review

When Steven Soderbergh announced he was retiring, it was a sad day for film fans. He is a wonderful director who did the Ocean's trilogy and Magic Mike. He always gave scripts the flare and pizzazz they deserved and made them come to life on screen. So when he backtracked on his retirement and decided to do another heist movie, Logan Lucky was born and the world is a better place for it. Continue reading to see my thoughts on the anti-Ocean's Eleven. Minor spoilers follow.

They never shied away from the fact that they were the anti-Ocean's Eleven. It is actually what drew me to the movie. The George Clooney version of Ocean's Eleven is one of my favorite films ever. So to strip down the glamor, sophistication and style of it, but tell a similar story from the same director is an opportunity not everyone is afforded.

Instead of suave con men, it is three southern siblings played by Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), Riley Keough, and Adam Driver (Girls, Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Instead of glamorous Las Vegas, it is the Charlotte Motor Speedway; and instead of revenge, it is straight up necessity.

The mechanics of both films are the same. Introduce us to the characters, show the basic outline of what they are planning, recruit people to help, show them pulling it off, then show the secret they were hiding and how they really did it, and then show the end credits. When done well, it is a pretty brilliant formula.

Channing Tatum exercised a range in acting that I had never seen before. He seems to be evolving as an actor, and that is a good thing as he is very charming on screen. Adam Driver was as good as ever, and you don't for one minute think that could possibly be the villainous Kylo Ren from Star Wars. Even Seth MacFarlane, who has a small supporting role (and whose act can be very tired) was actually pretty good when he decided to act and not do a voice from Family Guy. Everyone else, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, and the rest of the supporting cast did a phenomenal job. The bar was set pretty high as far as acting goes, and everyone brought their A-game.

Nobody, however, was as good as Daniel Craig. He stole the entire movie, not unlike Don Cheadle in Ocean's Eleven. Logan Lucky proves that Daniel Craig does not need James Bond. He will be successful long after he does decide to give up the role. If he can keep doing crazy outside-the-box roles like the one he plays here, he will still have the hearts of most moviegoers as well.

There are some wonderful moments including an absolutely hilarious scene involving some prisoners and Game of Thrones. Like the Ocean's movies, Soderbergh gives you what you need, and let's you figure things out when he wants you to. It was actually a complex story to tell, and a bit of character development suffered because of it (I would have liked to have seen more of the characters' motivation for doing the job) but Soderbergh knows how to weave a tale.

The thing that makes this film above average is the humanity shown outside of the heist. Family dynamics, superstitions about curses, and how non-traditional families can rally together for the sake of a child all add a depth and sophistication to the plot that the characters certainly don't have. It is shown through a whole beauty pageant subplot for Channing Tatum's character's daughter. It really added some perspective to what they were doing. While Ocean's Eleven was about breaking somebody, Logan Lucky was about making somebody whole.

If you took Ocean's Eleven, mixed it with Little Miss Sunshine, deep fried it, and then smothered it in gravy, the result would be Logan Lucky. It is a familiar story sure, but written with such passion and spirit by Rebecca Blunt that it is fun to watch. Take The Lion King and Thor for example. They are both pretty much the same story, but both are still fun to watch. Both of those stories are derived from Hamlet which is a masterpiece in its own right. Familiar stories can work with a fresh approach or a different angle. This is a prime example of that.

Logan Lucky was a blast, fun from beginning to end. Soderbergh can still make great movies and I hope he decides against retirement longer and keeps making more of them.

Logan Lucky is in theaters now.


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