Director: Steven Soderbergh

Notable Cast: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton

Rating: R

Review: Gina Carano could kick my ass any day if it meant I would be granted the honor of being in her presence. Can someone get her in The Expendables 2 ASAP please?? Seriously, we have our next big female action star in the making, except she’s already been trained how to do it. The punishing vixen has raucously made a name for herself in the real MMA world, and is now bringing that expertise to Hollywood in butt kicking fashion. Apparently the only problem is her voice though, as production dubbed all her lines over on a post production decision, saying they wanted people to think of Carano and her character as two different people. Wait, isn’t that what actors are supposed to do anyway? All this information was troubling to hear from a pre-viewing stage, but worse could have been done after filming. It could have gotten the dreaded “Post Conversion 3D Treatment!” *gasp* Thankfully the sound tweaking was not noticeable in the least, no one cares, and Haywire keeps its taught story of revenge in tact for all to enjoy.

Mallory (Carano) works as a highly skilled weapon for hire under a private contracting company run by a man named Kenneth (McGregor). Regarded as an asset to the company, clients ask for Mallory by name. So when government employee Coblenz (Douglas) and his associate Rodrigo (Banderas) request Malloy for a rescue mission in Barcelona, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Joined by partner Aaron (Tatum) and two other team members, the job goes off without a hitch and the package is delivered. Immediately following, Mallory is asked by Kenneth to meet up in Dublin with an agent named Paul (Fassbender), where she would pose as his wife in order to get close to a mark. Too bad Mallory is being set up by her own company, as Paul attempts to eliminate Mallory. From here, Mallory goes on a rogue assignment to discover why her own employer tried to take her out, and who gave the order. Always two steps ahead, Mallory proves to be a female assassin for the ages.

G.I. Jane times a million….

It’s funny how much style Soderbergh has specific to him. As I left the theater with my buddy, he turned and immediately said “What else has Steven Soderbergh directed? Ocean’s Eleven?” Boom. He hit the nail on the head just in comparing Haywire to the Ocean’s films. What tipped him off immediately was that groovey jazz music that sets kind of quirky tone to Haywire, instead of a tense espionage thriller. But thinking back, my friend was absolutely right in the sense that the soundtrack could have been stolen right from Danny Ocean. But did it work for Haywire? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Soderbergh gave us some up-tempo fun and a different takes on a usual genre situation. The one no comes in when the music seemed out-of-place and silly, where as a normal orchestral score might have actually propelled the drama more than some head-bopping rhythm. My friend also noticed Soderbergh’s showcase shots as well, utilizing long-range camera angles mixed with quick cuts. Look at Carano and Tatum’s first fight scene. It’s like an ADD addicts dream, seeing the fight from a thousand different angles instead of one flowing shot. Soderbergh does this on the regular, again being a noticeable trait. At the same time, the rapid camera movement became a little frantic and overwhelming at times, taking away from the motions of one fluid scene. The director’s vision was both a blessing and curse, but Soderbergh absolutely offers a unique take on such an over played genre.

Let’s get real here though. Carano wasn’t brought in for her acting ability, even though she didn’t sh@t the bed as bad as some feared. I thought Gina owned the role of assassin Mallory, and totally kicked some realistic ass. The key term there is realistic by the way. Haywire utilized Gina’s MMA expertise perfectly, showing some massively impressive fight sequences. We get Gina jumping off walls into submission holds, acting like the woman is in a fight for her life, and really pulling off some gritty street brawls found outside your local bar. If you didn’t get what I’m saying yet, Soderbergh made the right choice bringing in an experienced fighter to bring a sense of professionalism to the high-flying action. Left behind was the Hollywood stunt crap where every attack is some beautifully choreographed work of art. Instead, Haywire displays action found in everyday life, bringing a much more brutal and intense feeling to the film. Not even the typical go to female battle broad Michelle Rodriguez could have pulled off such badassery in my opinion, earning Gina a special place amongst female action superstars.

In recent memory, I can’t thing of a more kick-ass woman protagonist. The only real challenge as of late is Uma Thurman’s portrayal of The Bride in both Kill Bill movies, but Carano trounces her efforts in hand to hand combat. I admit, I was won over by her performance, and can only hope her stay in the movie industry lasts for many, many years. As for Soderbergh, I don’t believe Haywire is his best effort, but entertaining none the less. The director still manages to assemble an all-star cast (I haven’t even mentioned names like Douglas, Banderas, Fassbender, Tatum, and Paxton) and does his best with Lem Dobbs’ script. Haywire is nothing new in terms of movie think, but all the out of ordinary elements separate the film with typical spy movie lore. Haywire dares to challenge such female leads as Alien, but Sigourney Weaver can only hold the torch for so long. It’s time for a new starlet to step into the ring, and Gina Carano may just be the heavyweight to challenge…

Final Rating: 7 betrayed agents out of 10

Yeah, not screwing with this chick….


About Matt Donato

Co-Founder of the Certified Forgotten Universe. Editor, Podcaster, Writer, and pretty rad dude. Don't feed him after midnight, but beers are encouraged. Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd: @DoNatoBomb.
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2 Responses to Haywire

  1. psychcine says:

    I don’t think I enjoyed the film as much as you did, but I appreciate your view. I also have to agree with you on Soderbergh’s style and Carano’s acting. Thanks for the review!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! Yea, I seem to be on the high end of the Haywire spectrum as even Soderbergh came out and said it bombed. But for me, the 22 year old totally dug the action and my brain also enjoyed the suspense of not knowing. Not the best, but certainly not worst.

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