Main cast: Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan), Adam Driver (Clyde Logan), Daniel Craig (Joe Bang), Riley Keough (Mellie Logan), Katie Holmes (Bobbie Jo Chapman), Farrah Mackenzie (Sadie Logan), Katherine Waterston (Sylvia Harrison), Dwight Yoakam (Warden Burns), Seth MacFarlane (Max Chilblain), Sebastian Stan (Dayton White), Brian Gleeson (Sam Bang), Jack Quaid (Fish Bang), Hilary Swank (Sarah Grayson), David Denman (Moody Chapman), and Macon Blair (Brad Noonan)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
These days. anything directed by Steven Soderbergh seems to be just an excuse for his friends to hang out and do minimal work while collecting a paycheck. Logan Lucky is no different. This is a heist movie with an ensemble cast, revolving around a bunch of goons about to steal the proceeds from the Coca Cola 600 race at the upcoming Memorial Day.
The Logan brothers are, if you ask younger brother Clyde, under a family curse that renders them unlucky. Clyde lost his lower left arm after a stint in the Iraq war, although he can certainly do some skilful bartending tricks in his current gig at the neighborhood bar, which he owns. Meanwhile, his brother Jimmy suffers a limp that once prevented him from pursuing a professional football career. When the movie opens, he’s fired from his work at the Charlotte Motor Speedway because the company deems his limp an insurance liability. He then learns from his ex-wife Bobbie Jo and she and their daughter Sadie would be moving with Bobbie Jo’s husband Moody to across the country. Going to Clyde’s place for a drink to have him and his brother mocked by Max Chilblain, a blow-hard celebrity in town to sponsor the NASCAR driver Dayton White in the upcoming Coca Cola 600, is the last straw. He decides that it is time that he and Clyde do something about their lot.
As Jimmy was working at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he is familiar with how proceeds from that day are funneled down to a vault beneath the motorsports complex via a pneumatic tube system. If they can divert the money into their own pockets – so to speak – they’d all be rich. Their sister, Mellie, will be their getaway driver. They will also have to enlist Joe Bang, a safecracker, to join them… but he’s in jail. No matter, as if that small matter will stand in the way. Joe wants his brothers Sam and Fish to be on board too. So now it’s a party.
Maybe if I hadn’t seen the trailer earlier, I may enjoy Logan Lucky more. As it is, the trailer basically gave away everything but the twist at the end, so there is not much surprise to be had here. Oh, this movie is watchable, mind you, and Daniel Craig is the MVP here as his character easily makes the most impact with his easy charm that is tinged with a hint of menace under his every word and action.
But the rest of the movie is surprisingly… lazy, for the want of a better word. Sam and Fish may as well not be in this movie, as they are here to offer some unfunny hick moments now and then while having little impact on the rest of the plot. Riley Keough tries, but her character is basically that chick who knows her cars and drives one like a demon. Clyde has his moments, but he’s that dim-witted fellow with one arm, while Jimmy is a familiar “guy who breaks many promises to his daughter, but makes up for it by stealing and breaking things” archetype. Practically everyone here can be conveniently slotted into an envelope with his or her archetype written on the cover, although for the walk-on roles by Hilary Swank, Sylvia Harrison, Sebastian Stan, and many others, they could all fit into that envelope labelled “somebody… or the other”.
Still, no one watches heist movies for deep characters first and foremost, right? But even the heist elements here feel pretty standard, boiling down to “let’s hold the tube into the rubbish bag”. Nothing here feels really edgy, dramatic, or suspenseful; everyone here is just going through the motions. The most memorable moment in the entire movie is the horrific scene where Sadie inflicts ear bleed on everyone with her shrill and painful rendition of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads, so yes, if I do recall anything from this movie a few days from now, it’s probably for the wrong reasons.