Steven Soderbergh is arguably best known for directing the Ocean’s Eleven films. It should come as no surprise that Logan Lucky, his latest feature, borrows quite a bit from those popular heist films, and while the movies are similar, there’s also a lot that makes them unique from one another. Logan Lucky is not a new Ocean’s movie, it’s a strange and unique take on a familiar concept. The end result is mostly entertaining, although somewhat flawed.
As Logan Lucky begins, the audience is greeted by the adorable Sadie Logan (Farrah Mackenzie) and her father, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum). The two share a moment as Jimmy is fixing his old truck. After this opening scene, the audience is quickly introduced to Jimmy’s ex-wife, Bobbie Jo Chapman (Katie Holmes), his brother, Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) and sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough). Finally, we meet Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who is imprisoned for robbing a bank and brings most of the personality to the film.
This eclectic cast of characters is what fuels Logan Lucky. Jimmy is the down and out father trying to make ends meet (and a master heist planner). Clyde is the straight man, having lost a hand while serving in the military and now tending bar at a local dive. Mellie seems at first to be a quiet hair stylist and the only sane member of the family, but looks can be deceiving. Finally, Joe Bang is the over the top, wild bank robber that really brings everything together.
Most of the film takes place in rural Virgina and North Carolina. Every member of the cast puts on their best southern accent, and it works for the most part. While there are certainly more than a few stereotypes involved, the main cast offers a fairly believable performance, accent and all. Even the pea-brained duo of Fish Bang (Jack Quaid) and Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson), Joe Bang’s family add a bit of humor and nonsense to the proceedings.
For Ocean’s fans, what separates these films are the leads and the locations. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Bernie Mac all brought strong and unique performances to the Ocean’s films that provided a very specific tone with all of the banter, humor and action. None of these huge personalities are present in Logan Lucky, with only Joe Bang coming close, but the film makes up for it by offering what is essentially a “redneck” take on the Ocean’s series. If Jeff Foxworthy wrote an Ocean’s movie, Logan Lucky is probably pretty close to what you’d get, although the film offers a bit more intelligent and witty humor than what Foxworthy would likely come up with.
Without the unique tone and witty banter of the Ocean’s films, Logan Lucky is still able to hold its own through most of the movie. There are some pacing issues early on while the heist is being set up, and the film drags at several points, but once things get going and the twists start to unravel, the film really begins to hold its own against the Ocean’s series. Unless you’re a huge fan of redneck humor, most people will find Ocean’s Eleven is still a far superior film, but Logan Lucky is a unique blend that offers something new to a tried and tested formula.
About Logan Lucky
Synopsis: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Stars: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig
Runtime: 1 Hour, 59 Minutes