Hoping to reverse a 'curse' that's hung over his family for generations, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) hatches a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during The Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR'S biggest race of the year. He convinces his bartender brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough) to help him pull everything off--but first they have to break the bomb-maker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) out of jail in broad daylight. Academy Award® winner Hillary Swank plays a no-nonsense FBI agent determined to bring the Logans to justice and keep them from racing away with the loot in this high speed caper from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh.
"Being that I was your kid brother I let you lead me into trouble with all your crazy cauliflower plans. My life of crime is over. But, you did make breakfast this morning, even burned the bacon like I like it. I also saw that you have some sort of robbery to-do list. I know this attempt to be organized is a big step for you so go."
It's a great day when you can celebrate a good film that is genuinely fun without being dumb fun. I feel like that's a term I have to use all too often when defending my enjoyment of an uncomplicated entertainment for entertainment's sake movie. But with the case of Steven Soderbergh's latest romp, Logan Lucky, audiences are given a smart and clever heist film not too dissimilar from Soderbergh's Ocean's Trilogy but with a different flavor. Our band of thieves is a group of everyday men (and woman) with a cockeyed plot to rip off NASCAR. Where the average movie would go for the easy joke, the film's humor comes from these characters being allowed to be genuine people - who may be a bit more colorful than the average - but are none the less enjoyable and worth rooting for.
The Logan Family is cursed. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a working Joe with a background in construction and heavy machinery can't maintain a job because of his bum leg. His brother Clyde (Adam Driver) lost the lower half of his arm on the last day of his final tour in Iraq. All down their ancestral line right to their Aunt who lost a winning lotto ticket worth millions of dollars, the Logans have been cursed. All that is about to change. After getting let go from his latest job doing repair work underneath a NASCAR speedway, Jimmy hatches a scheme to rob the place blind. With help from their sister Mellie (Riley Keough), Jimmy and Clyde set their plan in motion, but they need the best safe cracker they know Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) in order to break into the vault. Just when things look to be going the Logan family's way, ambitious FBI Agent Sarah Grayson (Hilary Swank) arrives on the scene to gum up the works.
One of the things that I love about Steven Soderbergh as a filmmaker is that he's one of the few working directors (and writers, cinematographers, editor, etc.) who isn't afraid to get his hands a little dirty and experiment. Sure, not everything he comes up with is a gem, but it's hard not to give the guy kudos for trying. In between experiments he always finds time to make something that is just pure entertainment. Logan Lucky is his return to pure entertainment. This flick is essentially Ocean's Eleven meets Out of Sight. A heist film about wannabe criminal masterminds populated with colorful eccentric but relatable characters that only someone like Elmore Leonard could cook up.
The plan to rob the speedway is simple but also complicated enough to leave enough room for on-the-spot improvisation or outright failure. The fun of Logan Lucky is watching these characters adjust to the kinks in the plan as they come. And they come in spades. With a smart script by the enigmatic Rebecca Blunt (who may or may not be Soderbergh), there are enough twists and turns in this adventure to make sure that the heist doesn't exactly go off without a hitch, but also keeps the audience engaged by keeping the scenarios believable. Again, we're not watching career criminal masterminds, this is a bunch of first-timers who are highly motivated with the right amount of clever and cunning to maybe, possibly, pull their little scheme off.
Through it all, we get to enjoy an impressive cast of actors going deep with their characters. Channing Tatum continues his impressive performance streak with a lovably confounded Jimmy. He's believable as a guy who's been handed a tough lot at life and wants to do better not only for himself, his siblings but also for his little daughter. Adam Driver's Clyde is like the hypochondriac of the group; he believes they're all cursed and will remain cursed, but hopes that things will turn around. Then you have Daniel Craig delivering one of his best wild-eyed wackos Joe Bang. He's just a few months away from getting out of the slammer, but a good heist is hard to resist and it's fun to watch him go.
That, in a nutshell, describes why Logan Lucky is a success. Every character is grounded, relatable on some level, and so thoroughly explored by the actor in the part that you can't help but put up your feet and watch them go. At just about two hours, this movie is a breeze. Time just flies by. I'm confident that if Soderbergh had wanted to craft a three-hour marathon for this film, it'd have worked just as easy and breezy without overstaying its welcome. Virtually every minute of this flick is packed with entertainment. It's funny without trying to be funny. It's entertaining without feeling forced. And when the time comes for the big heist, it's exciting in a genuinely suspenseful way that only a well-crafted thriller can provide. Now I don't think there's need - or much room - for Soderbergh to turn Logan Lucky into another franchise, but if he wants to, I'm sure whatever he cooks up would be worth sitting down for.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Logan Lucky sneaks onto Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital set. Pressed onto a Region A BD-50 disc, the discs are housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to trailers for other upcoming Universal releases before arriving at an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. The digital code can be redeemed through Universal's redemption portal, but through MoviesAnywhere, it redeems across all platforms.
Shot digitally, Logan Lucky wins the day with a damn near perfect 1080p 2.40:1 transfer. From the impressive textures and detail levels to the bright primary-driven colors to the inky blacks and shadows, this film enjoys one hell of a terrific transfer. Facial features and costuming are fantastic allowing you to appreciate the costuming and character details - Daniel Craig's bright blonde hair and colorful tattoos are a great example. Scenery and establishing shots look terrific. Colors are bright and bold without looking too saturated or processed. Skin tones also look healthy and accurate. Blacks are deep and inky throughout and give the image a terrific sense of depth and dimension. My only gripe, and it is a very slight one is the presence of image noise. There are a few shots here and there that display a notable increase in noise and there isn't any rhyme or reason. Some scenes are darker, others are brighter, but occasionally that noise creeps in. It's not distracting, it doesn't pull you out of the moment, but at the same time once I saw it the first time I started to notice it in random spots throughout the rest of the movie. Again, it's a minor grievance in an otherwise flawless presentation.
Logan Lucky gets a hell of a lot of mileage out of this strong English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Amazingly enough with all the activity in the surrounds and the well-managed dialogue and music elements, it'd be easy to assume you're listening to something more robust than what a typical DTS-HD MA mix would normally offer. The film was presented theatrically with Dolby Atmos and while I'm sure an Atmos track would have been a hell of a great listen for this release, I wouldn't swear that this film completely needs one. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there is never any issue with being at odds with other elements. Sound effects provide a great sense of atmosphere and depth to any given scene. From the quiet conversational moments to the big heist and all the hijinks that ensue, the mix manages all of the highs and lows with ease. It's a flawless audio mix and leaves me with little if anything to complain about.
If there is a shortfall to this disc, it's in the Bonus Features department. Aside from a pair of relatively innocuous deleted scenes, there's nothing here. I would have loved to have gotten a commentary, even a crappy basic EPK cast and crew talking heads interview would have been something substantial.
Deleted Scenes (HD 3:50) A pair of scenes, Tap Dancing, and Pro/Con. While they may be fun, there's nothing amazing going on here and if I'd never seen them I still wouldn't feel like I was genuinely missing something from the movie.
Logan Lucky was one of those unfortunate films that I heard a lot of great things for when it was released in theaters, but I just couldn't find the time for until now. Judging by the unfortunately slim box office haul, I imagine there were a number of other folks out there in the same boat. Well, thanks to this Blu-ray release, we can make up for that sad fact. I friggin loved this flick. It was a ton of fun from start to finish. It's a well-crafted heist movie with a smart comedic edge and proved to be a perfect vehicle for a great cast and director Steven Soderbergh to play around in. Universal has done a bang-up job with this release giving the film a fantastic A/V presentation. Unfortunately, bonus features are a nonstarter. Just the same, I'm going to call this one highly recommended because folks really should see it and I can't imagine too many people actually not getting their money's worth out of a blind buy.