A Family Heist Affair: Logan Lucky
In Logan Lucky, a family tries to reverse its bad fortune by quietly robbing a motor speedway. Channing Tatum stars as Jimmy Logan, an ex-athlete working as a contract employee for a construction crew in North Carolina. When someone notices Jimmy walks with a limp due to a sports injury, his employer releases him due to liability issues. On top of that, Jimmy learns that his ex-wife, Bobbie Jo Chapman (Katie Holmes), is moving to West Virginia with their daughter with Bobbie Jo's new husband. An upset Jimmy goes and tells his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) about his predicament. The conversation gets interrupted by Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane), an obnoxious British man who sponsors a NASCAR racer who will be at the track where Jimmy used to work. Clyde sends an expensive message to Max before hatching a plan to help his brother.
As teens, the Logan brothers committed some small crimes, but they want to do something big. They want to hit the track where Jimmy worked, hitting the pneumatic tubes the track uses to send money from the concession stands to a nearby bank vault. Lacking the expertise on doing the heist themselves, the Logans pay a visit to Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who's in jail for other thefts, and looking forward to his upcoming release. Together, they hatch a plan that meets his needs. They get a hold of Joe's brothers, Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson) to help. Once Jimmy, Fish, and bang case the surroundings and a plan is in place, Jimmy and Clyde also get their sister Mellie (Riley Keough) to help get Joe in and out of the jail. Joe gets fellow inmate Namaan (Jon Eyez) to create a diversion to keep Warden Burns (Dwight Yoakam) occupied. The caper gets assigned to FBI Agent Sarah Grayson (Hilary Swank), who won't let roadblocks hinder her investigation.
Logan Lucky is a fun and clever caper that sees director Steven Soderbergh return to directing for the first time since he directed the HBO film Behind The Candelabra: My Life With Liberace. He once again examines people who are a little bit unconventional. The Logan siblings have had a hard time dealing with loss, whether it's a job or Clyde's loss of an arm serving his country. They are there for each other, no matter how wrong their actions might be. The Bang brothers are even more that way, but their actions usually lean toward the wrong side of the law. The screenplay credit on Logan Lucky goes to a Rebecca Blunt, but IMDb suspects that Blunt is a pseudonym. In any case, Blunt crafts a caper full of twists right up to the final shot. While I can sympathize with the characters, I cannot condone their actions. That is a bit of a detraction from the overall appeal.
The ensemble delivers with their performances. Tatum, who previously worked with Soderbergh in Magic Mike and Side Effects, does a solid job as Jimmy. He's a man who can't seem to catch a break. He certainly has support from his family, including daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), who likes that her father takes an active interest in her beauty pageant. His power of observation helps him with the projects he takes. Driver never flashes a smile as Clyde, but he shows he's still a man of action when somebody pushes his buttons. Craig gets the biggest laughs as Joe, an unapologetic career criminal who knows his explosives. He concocts a unique explosive that proves to be effective. He also makes sure the plan keeps his priorities in order. Yoakam also gets some laughs as the incompetent warden who covers himself when others pry into the actions of the inmates. Swank is fine as the undeterred Grayson, and Katherine Waterston has a charming role as a potential love interest for Jimmy. Cameos come from NASCAR names such as Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson, as well as country singer LeAnn Rimes.
Logan Lucky tells the tale of a man who needs a break, and really deserves one. His frustration leads Jimmy Logan to push his luck in a different direction. He shows he does have a plan, but doesn't share every detail with the crew he assembles. In this way, he does his part to try to get a change in the Logan luck.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Logan Lucky three stars. Looking for a real lucky break.