I wasn’t going to write a review for this film but apparently I’m the only one not really feeling it, so here is more of a rambling about Steven Soderberg’s latest Logan Lucky, which he came out of retirement to film. The film stars Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as Jimmy and Clyde Logan, to blue-collar brothers who attempt to pull of a heist during a Nascar race in North Carolina. It’s pretty simple and straight forward, maybe a bit too simple for my liking. Though Lucky Logan provides plenty of laughs and is entertaining at times, the film lacks purpose and motivation. You could say that I require more of a “moraility clause” to really understand why the characters in this movie are kin to pull this off besides money. Not that it’s required for a heist movie, but could have helped thicken out the plot and not have me asking a million questions by the end. Here’s my initial thoughts on Twitter and then I’ll explain:
So I almost gave this film a passing grade because it is entertaining and fun…most of the time. All the performances (except where noted, will get to that in a sec) were very solid, the 3 main leads in particular. Tatum and Driver are convincing as southern brothers, one a former football star and the other a military veteran. Though these are standard southern architypes, I appreciated that their backgrounds did contribute to the story. Daniel Craig got to have some fun doing something different which was refreshing, some of which I hope translates into his next Bond performance (if that’s still happening, honestly I don’t really care at this point). I’m sad they were never referred to as “The Bang Bros”, but the brothers of Joe Bang provided a lot of comic relief which ended up being some of the funniest scenes in the film. The humor was definitely the saving grace of the film, including one scene (the “bomb” scene) that almost saved this movie for me alone.
Keyword there is almost. The film covers the who, what, where, and when, but severely stumbles on the why. Going to get into some spoilery things, not that you can really spoil this movie anyways. About 3/4 through Logan Lucky, the film begins to run out of steam and I found myself sitting there thinking: why is the movie still happening? Now that i think about it, what was the point of this movie to begin with? I love heist movies and White Collar is one of my favorite shows of all times, so I know I’m being knitpicky. The only person with a real reason to pull of the heist is Jimmy, who wanted to provide for his daughter. Makes sense, also very common for any good character doing something bad, just give em a kid. So fine, but why does everyone else do this? Joe is a criminal and already in jail (with 5 months left), but still wants to cash in on his last job so does it anyways. Clyde and Mellie definitely don’t wanna do it, it’s all over their faces the whole film but because FAMILY (damn F&F movies…) they do it anyways. At least the Bang Bros wanted some real justification before getting into this thing.
I’m getting ranty, but this was the crux of my problem with the film. Without the characters having motivation, the movie doesn’t have motivation because this whole film revolves around the heist. It was never a character study or trying to go deeper, but then they don’t even give us the whole heist! All the cool and interesting parts was shown in a reveal montage to explain what really happened, which deflates the FBI investigation that we didn’t need to see. Which brings me to my other big problem, was unnecessary story elements. Was Hillary Swank supposed to be in this film? She was so wooden, I thought she stumbled onto the wrong set and just rolled with it. She was supposed to be funny, too, and it just didn’t land with me. What was the sub-plot with the drivers all about? Again, was just there to get the investigation going and have a cheap laugh in the tunnel during the heist. Gave slight stakes to the heist, but Jimmy had their tracks covered pretty well. Speaking of which, something that kind of bothered me but I also appreciate is that we never saw the plan. Bothered me because I wanted to know how long Jimmy had this on his mind, when did he write that list? At the same time, I like that we just saw the plan in action. Another positive for this movie is the pacing, which is pretty solid until the last 30 minutes or so.
So these last 30 minutes are what really took this film towards the deep end for me. This brief FBI investigation just felt very tacked on, wasn’t smooth, and didn’t add anything to the overall film. But what the HELL was Hilary Swank doing!? You’re too good for this! And the attempt at another wink to the audience at the end (like, did Soderberg’s eyes get tired? Lots of winks to the audience in this film) with her character showing up at the bar and zooming in on the arm, get out of here. The last 30 minutes we get more of whatever Seth McFarlane was doing as well, again, not adding anything to the film. He was funny the first time we saw him and I was hoping it was just a cameo, but stretched him too far. Which I think summarizes my thoughts on the film as a whole, there just wasn’t enough there to justify stretching it to 2 hours.
All in all, Logan Lucky ended up disappointing me. I haven’t seen a lot of Steven Soderberg’s work and maybe I’m just not into his style, but I was excited by the premise and cast involved. Logan Lucky has great comedy and scenes of brilliance, but wasn’t a full meal for me. I didn’t even get into how forced the cute daughter parts were or what was on Mellie’s mind most the film, mainly because I don’t wanna keep complaining about it. This is an original story in the middle of August, I should be thankful. Unfortunately, Logan Lucky didn’t get my engines going as like I thought it would