This movie went relatively under the radar this weekend but the pairing of Channing Tatum and Adam Driver was enough to pique my interest, plus the comedic turn by Daniel Craig. This movie is also the first film that is both directed by and distributed by Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11/12/13), so this is launching a new model of directors distributing their own movies but we’ll see if that pans out for him.
We meet the two Logan brothers (Tatum and Driver) who are in dire straits and could use some cash. Jimmy (Tatum) has just lost his job excavating and tunneling under a massive NASCAR track. While doing that work, he discovered how they funnel and store all the money made during a race and he plans to steal that money with the help of his brother (Driver). However, they don’t know how to break into the vault so they seek out explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). We also have Sebastian Stan, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Waterston, and Hilary Swank, plus tons of other folks.
This movie has a lot of great elements, including an absolutely bonkers cast. I mean, we have some A-list talent here. Tatum and Driver carry the movie and each deliver great performances, where you’re able to forget that it’s even them. Daniel Craig also has an outrageous role that is showcased in the trailers but they really showed most of his comedic moments, meaning this movie might feel underwhelming to you.
At its core, this isn’t a comedy. It’s a heist movie, just like the Oceans movies that Soderbergh also directed. It’s all about figuring out how to accomplish the heist and then figuring out how to improvise as that plan goes sideways. And like these other heist movies, there are plenty of surprises and twists, though it can feel a bit formulaic by now.
Now the Oceans movies were also jam-packed with talent so Soderbergh should be familiar with how to utilize an ensemble cast but it doesn’t quite work here. Most of these celebrities show up for a side arc that is absolutely unnecessary and even detracts from the film. Seth MacFarlane and Sebastian Stan are both racers but serve very little purpose here. Hilary Swank doesn’t even show up in this movie until after you think the movie is about finished (which brings up a bigger issue of how long this movie is).
While some characters here really work, just as the two brothers, others are shoehorned in. Katherine Waterston appears suddenly and disappears just as suddenly. Craig’s comedic turn will be disappointing since all of his funniest moments were featured in the trailer.
The pacing here just doesn’t work. The big heist should be the climax but we get another 30 minutes of closure and “here’s how they did it” moments that take away all punch that the heist sequence had. This movie ends with a whimper rather than a bang.
Logan Lucky is fine. Its trailers lead you to believe that it’ll be a nonstop comedy but that’s not really the case at all. It has an A-list cast that is unfortunately underutilized, which detracts from the main story. I’d wait to rent this one, if it looked interesting, as it’s too big of a risk to spend your hard-earned money on in the theaters.