“Logan Lucky” – a film review by Gary Chew
Even cast members of Logan Lucky don’t really know who Rebecca Blunt is. A person so named is credited with writing the screenplay for this new Steven Soderbergh film. If a woman, perhaps she’s a sister to Emily Blunt… though I’d guess not. For all we know, Rebecca might be a dude. On the other hand, after seeing Logan Lucky, everyone should readily understand just how freaking clever “Rebecca’s” script is. That’s astoundingly ironic too, since the movie is populated with a cadre of wholly total half wits… mostly men… who have larceny in their hearts and Easy Street in their dreams.
Logan Lucky (PG-13) presents to an audience with all the veracity of a Roadrunner cartoon you used to see after the coming attractions and before the main feature. Almost everything that happens in this exquisitely timed caper is pure perfection. (By the way, it’s not animated.) All of the shenanigans are brought off by “modern day” West Virginia hillbillies who, if in a polling place, would mark their X for Donald J. Trump. That’s about as clear as I can put it.
Jimmy Logan (Tatum Channing) is a former high school football star now with a gimpy leg. The mine business he subterraneously works for dumps Jimmy when someone reports Logan limps. Big mining companies are sensitive to any kind of liabilities that might ensue with an employee. Our hero is pretty pissed. Out-of-work Jimmy and his brother, Clyde (Adam Driver) who lost his left hand on duty in Iraq, come up with a notion to rob the Charlotte NASCAR raceway on one of its biggest days. Clyde’s just a bar keep at the local Duck Tape beer joint. The Logans could, sure ‘nuf, use a pickup bed load of that NASCAR cash, now.
Just so happens, the raceway is snugged up to the mine where Jimmy got fired from. How convenient. (I said it’s sort of like a Roadrunner cartoon.) With the right digging and jostlin’ ’round, the Logans could gain entry to the underground speedway money cache that’s adjacent to the depths of where Jimmy had a job. The cache is jammed with plastic money tubes that are connected up to the ticket booths the fans go through when puttin’ down their hard earned Yankee dollars. (Don’t use that term when you talk to them about money, though.) Those greenbacks do some big time swooshin’ on their way to a bigger pile in the raceway basement.
Oh my god, but the Logans need a safe crackin’ kind of feller to completely bring off the heist. Golly, the only “friend” they’ve got in that department is Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). But Joe’s in the joint! He’s locked up like most of Vladimir Putin’s coastal waterways are when the snow flies. The scheme the boys cook up unfolds before your very eyes while telling this totally unbelievable story that will cause a pretty good deal o’ laughing… on your part. Some slow places show up in the movie, but not to the extent that you’d wanna go out in the lobby and just eat tepid popcorn with extra butter.
Double-Oh-Seven as a red neck, convict without a trace of a Brit accent?! That’s a big 10-4, Folks. Did I mention that Craig is an excellent actor. It’s a role the great Sean Connery would not have touched with anybody’s 10-foot fly rod. Mucho kudos to Dan’l. What a sport that feller is, anyhow.
There are many other colorful characters to contend with. Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade, 1996) plays Warden Burns. He runs the “bar motel” where Joe Bang currently resides. Seth MacFarlane is hard to recognize as a bearded Brit race car driver you’ll just want to run over when you see what kind of bloke he is.
Katie Holmes is Jimmy’s ex-wife, now ensconced in a fancy 3-story home with their little girl named Sadie (Farrah MacKenzie). Sadie’s gonna be a beauty queen when she grows up, yes sir. And Jimmy’s ex has also remarried. Then late in the third act, a female FBI agent appears after much of the excitement ebbs. She’s gonna bring everybody to justice. That would be Hillary Swank playin’ the part of Agent Grayson. She means bid’ness.
Logan Lucky is a breath of fresh Appalachian mountain air for the grown ups, mostly in that it shows you “how the other half steals.” Most movies today and news reports, as well, more often relate how the upper one-percent does that.