After a four-year hiatus from Hollywood, director Steven Soderbergh is back in action with another crafty heist caper. Logan Lucky (2017) shares the same chemistry as the Oceans trilogy except the director replaces the snappy suits with daisy dukes and classic rock t-shirts. He exchanges the chaos of the casino floor with the roar of NASCAR engines. The result is basically the director’s version of a highly stylized Southern hot mess like Dukes of Hazzard or Smokey and the Bandit. Logan is one hella good time.
The plan involves exploiting the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s pneumatic air tube system, used to quickly transport cash from the concession stands into an underground repository. Thanks to his time on a construction job, the main character (Jimmy) played by Channing Tatum, knows where things converge, but to score the booty he’ll need someone with a background in demolition — namely, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a certified vault virtuoso currently doing time for a string of elaborate bank robberies. With five months remaining on his sentence, Joe isn’t exactly available on the heist date. Jimmy’s wild scheme not only includes springing his accomplice from the clink, but returning him before anyone realizes he’s gone missing.
Logan Lucky is filled with delightfully ridiculous ideas and despite the incompetent nature of the team, the caper is an unexpectedly intricate affair. The limited resources and intellect of folks at the helm requires a certain suspension of disbelief and Danny Ocean would have found the whole thing difficult to conceive, much less accomplish, but it’s so damn fun that the audience seldom minds the various implausibilities that explode on the screen.
Craig plays wildly against type and obviously has an absolute blast pulling it off. The fact that a character named Joe Bang would be such an endearing character is just one of the many surprises tucked up Soderbergh’s sleeve.
It’s difficult to find much fault in Logan (except for the title) when it’s so undeniably fun to experience. Yes, experience. Soderbergh takes the piss outta Southern culture without coming across as mean-spirited. He successfully blends his heist film know-how with the world of dirty pick-ups and sweet John Denver songs, resulting in one of the funniest and most purely enjoyable films of 2017.