“Logan Lucky” (out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD) was a grand experiment from director Steven Soderbergh, who tried to release a movie in late August while ignoring all the big studio promotional rules. He didn’t buy billboards in New York and Los Angeles and focused the advertising in NASCAR country. He made a great movie and the marketing flat-out didn’t work.
That means you might not know anything about this race track heist movie from the director of “Oceans 11” (and “12” and “13). Soderbergh is a Southerner from Baton Rouge, LA and his movie stars two small-town boys in Channing Tatum (Cullman, AL) and Marine Corps veteran Adam Driver (raised in Mishakawa, IN). They play the hapless Logan brothers Jimmy and Clyde who, along with their sister Mellie (played by Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough) try to straighten out their lives with a heist.
It’s important to establish their flyover bona fides because this is a straight-up hillbilly farce made by people who understand the absurdity of regular America. Clyde (Driver) has elaborate theories about the Logan family’s terrible luck, highlighted by the prosthetic arm he uses after losing his arm when he was “practically on the plane” on the way home from service in Afghanistan. They’ve recruited Daniel Craig to play an incarcerated redneck explosives expert named Joe Bang, whose British theater training gives him a leg up on that Southern accent he manages to pull off.
The crew aims to steal all the cash generated when the Coca-Cola 400 takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Soderbergh comes up with a complicated plot that has fake-outs and misdirection on the same sale as “Oceans 11.” He has no hesitation about this move: the script even has a newscaster call them the “Oceans 7-11 Bandits” at one point.
There’s a great supporting performance from Dwight Yoakam as the prison warden (no hat, no hairpiece). Katie Holmes plays Jimmy’s ex-wife, who’s moved up in the world by marrying the heir to a car dealer fortune. Hillary Swank is an FBI agent who’s determined to solve the crime even if no one else wants to help.
The only less-than-perfect not is Seth MacFarlane’s wandering accent as a racing team owner and energy drink mogul. Is he English? Australian? Also, the wig and glued-on mustache are terrible. In a movie full of nuanced satire, he just looks weird.
There are a couple of deleted scenes, including a prison production number featuring folk dancing legend Jesco White. There’s no director commentary and this movie deserves one, especially since Soderbergh allegedly wrote and edited the film under fake names.