Director: Steven Soderbergh Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, and Farrah Mackenzie Synopsis: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. Rating: PG-13 Year: 2017
Steven Soderbergh cemented his legacy in the artsier realm of cinema when he won the Best Director Oscar for Traffic. The following year he put out Ocean’s Eleven, starring George Clooney, and began paving a broader legacy within the world of pop culture.
Eventually, every quirky, heist flick since is compared to Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s’ trilogy. This includes other quirky, heist flicks by Soderbergh himself. And while the Brothers Logan clearly took inspiration from Danny Ocean and his eleven, Logan Lucky gleefully shakes up the expectations that those films first established nearly two decades ago. To understand what I’m getting at, look no further than the main cast.
George Clooney isn’t exactly stretching his acting chops by playing a suave, sophisticated gentlemen like Danny Ocean. On the other hand, Channing Tatum isn’t working from his established wheelhouse as Jimmy Logan, a working class bumpkin who gets it in his head after losing his job that he’s going to rob blind the very NASCAR track his construction crew was contracted to work on.
Similarly, Adam Driver doesn’t exactly spring to mind for a character as soft spoken and socially awkward as Jimmy’s brother, Clyde. And if you told me you’d always wanted to see that British actor who’s known almost exclusively for playing a dour James Bond take on the part of a eccentric, redneck math wiz, I’d call you a damn liar. Still, all three talents manage to disappear into their respected roles while having a blast doing it.
The one exception would be Seth MacFarlane, who is very much in his comfort zone as rich, loudmouth NASCAR franchisee Max Chilblain. He’s the closest Logan Lucky comes to a proper villain except he’s more like the caricature of a villain. With distractingly unkempt hair, a mustache and an overblown drawl, MacFarlane stands out in every scene he’s in and not in the good way.
Going the other way, Daniel Craig deserves special recognition for the way he transforms into Joe Bang, an explosives expert who the Logan boys bust out of prison in fittingly elaborate fashion. Craig is having so much fun, it’s contagious. I couldn’t help but crack a smile each time Joe flashed his pearly whites or spoke in his falsetto twang.
It’s refreshing just how against type these Smoky Mountain misfits are. Despite their dirt-splattered pickups, unsophisticated vocabulary, and relatively quiet lives, these men are smarter than your average bear. Like all great heist flicks, each conman possesses a unique skill that makes them a vital asset to the team. This irony is also played for some good laughs.
And there are good laughs to be had. There is a moment in Logan Lucky where a reporter on the tube refers to the crew behind the Charlotte Motor Speedway robbery as “Ocean’s 7-Eleven.” It’s the type of hayseed humor that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Coen Brothers movie. It’s important to note because not everybody is going to be in on the jokes here. They’re an acquired taste.
Yes, this is a quirky heist film. A gaggle of offbeat personalities do come together to pull one over on the rich and influential. But there is only one similarity between the ‘Ocean’s’ films and Logan Lucky that truly matters: They’re fun.
Did you all get around to seeing Logan Lucky? If not, you should! And if you have, what did you think? Are these the types of original movies you want to see Hollywood make more of? Let us know in the comments below!