Throwback review: ‘Logan Lucky’ (2017)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a movie about Kylo Ren and James Bond robbing a vault at a NASCAR speedway during the middle of a race? Well, have I got a movie for you!

To be fair, “Logan Lucky” isn’t actually about Kylo Ren and James Bond breaking into a vault — it just stars Adam Driver and Daniel Craig. I’m a big fan of Driver and Craig, and so “Logan Lucky” has actually been on my must-watch list for quite a while. I found a discount copy at a library sale earlier this year and now that I have extra time at home thanks to the pandemic, I figured it was time to finally give this one a try.

The main character, Jimmy Logan (played by Channing Tatum), lives in West Virginia and had his dreams of a successful football career ended by an unfortunate injury. His luck never seems to improve, and at the start of a film, he’s fired from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, due to no fault of his own.

Jimmy finally decides he’s fed up with the hand of cards life has dealt him, and so he decides to try to make some of his own luck by robbing the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of course, this job is too big for just one man, and so he enlists the help of his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), his sister Mellie (Riley Keough), and an explosives expert named Joe Bang — yes, really — played by Daniel Craig.

Although Jimmy and crew come up with a highly detailed, seemingly foolproof plan to break into the speedway vault, a heist movie just wouldn’t be a heist movie without a few unexpected problems popping up along the way.

Before I watched “Knives Out” last year, I wouldn’t have thought to cast Daniel Craig in a comedic role. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if watching Craig in “Logan Lucky” inspired writer/director Rian Johnson to cast Craig in his own film.

Craig is far and away the best part of “Logan Lucky,” and he steals every single scene he’s in. His Southern accent isn’t quite as flawless here as it is in “Knives Out,” but the performance is still great. You can tell Craig is having a lot of fun playing a character who’s the complete opposite of the steely-eyed, stoic spy he’s most known for.

Overall I really enjoyed “Logan Lucky,” although at certain points the story dragged just a little. The ending felt more drawn out than it needed to be. However, everything surrounding the heist itself makes for great cinema.

For those who haven’t seen “Logan Lucky,” I don’t want to spoil how Jimmy and Co. actually pull off the heist, but it’s tons of fun to watch (with several nail-biting, close calls). There’s a little twist at the end that I enjoyed as well.

While “Logan Lucky” is first and foremost a heist comedy, there are some deeper threads woven through the story that deserve more thought.

Director Steven Soderbergh calls “Logan Lucky” an “anti-glam version of an [Ocean’s Eleven] movie. Nobody dresses nice. Nobody has nice stuff. They have no money. They have no technology.” And perhaps that’s the reason they’re actually able to pull off the heist: because everyone underestimates them.

Jimmy and his co-conspirators are the type of people that others in society turn their noses up at. Jimmy wants to break the cycle of poverty that he’s trapped in, but society doesn’t seem particularly eager to help. Jimmy is let go of his job simply because he has a limp, and Clyde served two tours of duty in Iraq and now wears a prosthetic. They can’t get ahead, and nobody really seems to care.

Yes, robbing a business is wrong, but as audience members, we find it hard not to root for Jimmy and the others who are helping him with the heist. We want to see their luck turn, and we want them to experience a better life than society has offered them.

Although it’s fun to watch fancy people in perfectly tailored suits pull off a heist, like in “Ocean’s Eleven,” the movie “Logan Lucky” feels a little more real. If more people had helped Jimmy and showed him kindness, he probably never would have been tempted to rob the speedway in the first place.

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