Logan Lucky – Baby Driver’s younger, less risky brother.
I’d been looking forward to Logan Lucky ever since the first trailer came out. The buzz of
Channing Tatum and Adam Driver working with Oceans director Steven Soderbergh on a ‘hillbilly’
heist film was a perfect fit for the Summer film series, but dropping in August gave a rival film the
chance to steal the show. Baby Driver did just that and Logan Lucky most definitely suffers from
not matching the surreal pace of the heist film before it.
The film focuses around Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a working class laborer who’s laid off a
construction site due to an injury. He’s divorced with a daughter and struggling to earn enough
money to compete with his ex-wife’s new life with her rich husband. He’s stuck in a rut with no
way of turning things around for his family. His brother Clyde (Adam Driver) is in almost the same
position, working in a bar to keep living. After snapping during a fight, the Logan brothers decide
they’re going to rob a racetrack to change their fortunes. Along with the insanely strange convict
Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), his brothers, and the Logan sister Mellie, they plot to infiltrate the
speedway to rinse them of millions. It’s a concept worthy of intense action and gripping tension,
but the pacing and the story direction never quite gets there.
The atmosphere of the film in spot on, with elements of the Deep South of America perfected by
the performances, sets and interactions between characters. Whether it’s Jimmy’s barely-together
caravan or Clyde’s rundown bar, you’re instantly transported to the Bible Belt parts of the US that
are either forgotten or parodied on TV and film. Soderbergh does a great job of injecting humour
without offending or stereotyping his cast too much, owing to an enjoyable ride through North
Carolina. While the atmosphere is great, it never gets close to expecting things to go extremely
wrong or any element of real danger being there. One scene during the heist shows two patrol
guards on the hunt for the smell of smoke, and as each of the main players come into contact
with them they brush them off way too easily; you have a feeling that the heist will go off without a
hitch and everyone will be fine.
Being fully honest, the Oceans series have gone unwatched by your writer and might be a reason
I’m not a massive fan of this outing. There is a feeling of much more ‘playing it straight’ style
performances, rather than wowing audiences with guns, cars and over the top stylistic choices.
The most enjoyable part is seeing Daniel Craig not playing suave or straight acting, His character
Joe Bang is the bomb expert which is reflected in his slightly unhinged characterisation and his
choice of Jelly Babies as the explosive materials – weird but intriguing. It’s not anywhere near
Joker level crazy but it doesn’t have to be – you can see he’s having fun messing around away
from the 007 handcuffs that he’s returning to soon.
On repeat viewing, this film is a solid outing. The writing is on point, the setting is Southern
County joy and Tatum and Driver’s characters of the odd Logan brothers does make you root for
them as the film goes on, but a lack of a true payoff and middling action leaves you wanting much