[Screen It]


(2017) (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) (PG-13)

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Crime Caper: Two brothers enlist the help of others in their attempt to rob money from the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a big race.
It's been said that bad luck afflicts the Logan family of West Virginia, and Jimmy (CHANNING TATUM) and Clyde (ADAM DRIVER) can attest to that. Clyde lost his arm in the military and now works as a bartender, while Jimmy's just lost his construction job due to an undisclosed but old leg injury. To make matters worse, his ex-wife, Bobbie Jo Chapman (KATIE HOLMES), states she's taking their daughter, Sadie (FARRAH MACKENZIE), and moving across the state line to Virginia with her new husband, auto dealer Moody (DAVID DENMAN), and his kids.

Needing money, and having recently worked under the Charlotte Motor Speedway doing construction, Jimmy convinces his sibling that they should rob the place during a big race, what with money from the event traveling through pneumatic tubes below the stadium. But they'll need help with the vault and that's where veteran criminal Joe Bang (DANIEL CRAIG) and his expertise will come in. The only problem is he's currently in prison under the watchful eye of Warden Burns (DWIGHT YOAKAM) and his guards. So the brothers, with the help of their hairdresser sister, Mellie (RILEY KEOUGH), concoct a plan to get Clyde put in jail in order to break Joe out, all while also enlisting the aid of his brothers, Fish (JACK QUAID) and Sam (BRIAN GLEESON).

They must not only contend with the complications of that, but also TV celebrity Max Chilblain (SETH MACFARLANE) who had an earlier violent encounter with the Logan brothers, as well as Special Agent Sarah Grayson (HILARY SWANK) from the FBI who shows up after the fact and wants to find out who was involved.

OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
While I don't condone any form of crime, sometimes it's entertaining watching others break the law -- at least in movies when they're constructed and played out as fun heist or crime caper offerings. The history of cinema is littered with them, with the likes of "The Sting," "A Fish Called Wanda," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Out of Sight" and, of course, the remake of "Ocean's Eleven."

The latter is one of those films I can watch endlessly and will always stop upon when channel surfing regardless of where the film is during its runtime, always wishing I had stumbled across it earlier (this despite owning it, but you know, sometimes you're lazy). Just about everything regarding that Steven Soderbergh film is perfection from the casting, performances, script, direction, score and more -- and it's simply highly entertaining to take in whether it's your first or twentieth time watching it.

As the sequels "Ocean's Twelve" and "Ocean's Thirteen" proved, however, it's not always a slam dunk in terms of creating good to great heist or crime caper films, although at least the mediocre entries make the better ones truly stand out. While some might have advised against it (what with having a .333 batting average with those "Ocean's" films), Soderbergh has now returned to the genre with "Logan Lucky."

Some may call it "Ocean's Lite" or a less glossy, dressed down version of said Vegas crime flicks. I call it an absolutely fun, funny and engaging offering that will likely be added to my interrupt channel surfing list once this ends up on TV.

Soderbergh apparently liked the script so much -- it's credited to a screenwriter by the name of Rebecca Blunt, although there's speculation she doesn't really exist and could just be the filmmaker himself or perhaps his wife, Jules Asner -- that he came out of his movie-making retirement to helm the project.

Whatever the case and whoever the scribe might actually be, there's no denying the story and the characters contained within it are entertaining to behold. It's fairly simple in its construction. Two West Virginian brothers come from a family known for bad luck, most notably one (Adam Driver) who lost his arm in the military and the other (Channing Tatum) who's just lost his construction job and is likely going to lose seeing his young daughter (Farrah Mackenzie) as much as he does, what with his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) moving with her across the state line.

Having seen cash flowing through underground money highways beneath Charlotte Motor Speedway (via a series of pneumatic tubes), Jimmy decides he and his brother should rob the place. What follows is them assembling a small team of accomplices (including Riley Keough as the brothers' sister, Daniel Craig as the safe cracking mastermind and Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson as his good ol' boy brothers who may or may not be reliable assistants) and then coming up with and executing the plan.

Yes, we've seen this sort of story before and these sorts of characters before. Yet, all involved bring enough nuance to their roles in the film (including those behind the camera and keyboard) that most everything about the film feels fresh enough to more than just get by. Like its characters, the film has no airs about it, and simply exists to entertain viewers and it does that with plenty of aplomb and ease.

Something of a companion piece to Soderbergh's "Ocean's Eleven" but an antithesis of the shiny, high profile glam of that offering, "Logan Lucky" ends up on my list of favorite crime caper heist flicks and thus rates as a 7 out of 10.

Reviewed July 27, 2017 / Posted August 18, 2017

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