AV Club's 100 best films of the decade thus far.
They left her no choice.
Mallory Kane is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive.
Haywire was an action thriller from the highly regarded Steven Soderbergh back in 2011. It had quite an impressive cast including Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, and Antonio Banderas. It also starred Gina Carano in the lead role, who was a successful Mixed Martial Artist and this film gives her a vehicle to showcase some her impressive fighting techniques, and potentially jump-start her acting career as a female action star.
Carano plays Mallory Kane, a freelance covert operative, who - as part of her firm - is hired to rescue a hostage in Spain. This appears to go according to plan, the mission ends and the hostage is rescued. Mallory is then sent on another mission to…
Feels like an art-house action movie. Directed extremely well with many interesting and creative shots and moments. The music is fantastic, as well as the scenes *without* music. Editing is great, cinematography is beautiful. A nice assembly of talented, high-profile actors and a very solid turn by Gina Carano, who is a great screen presence and an absolute force. I truly believe she could kick everybody's ass. The fight choreography is stellar. The scene in the hotel room with Carano and Fassbender might be the greatest hand-to-hand combat scene in film history.
So...what went wrong?
Well, the script is just so god damn awful.
Get the script right, and everything else is icing. Fuck the script up, and all you get is empty calories.
Haywire, or as it is better known 'Butch chick running around for hours in various cities with cool, swanky, used to death music in the background intermixed with a couple of fight scenes'
Surely there must be a plot? Nope, classic case of style over substance. Films like this need to have some sort of original idea story-wise. Haywire's plot borders on the senile, it is that obtuse. And it clearly thinks its viewers are morons as well as it has the urgent need to explain everything we already know.
I like Soderbergh, but he really overplays his hand here. A film like this cannot justify its existence by style and a supposedly cool soundtrack alone. It has to have suspense, shocks, involvement, in short, a plot. The only teeny, tiny merits I find here are a couple of cool and well-directed fight scenes. And that's it, really.
Despite the rather lukewarm reception I was looking forward to Haywire mainly because it reunited director Steven Soderbergh with screenwriter Lem Dobbs; their first collaboration since the excellent and underrated, The Limey. Sadly something went amiss during this most recent creative partnership.
There is something refreshing about its stripped back and minimalist style. The story may feature the odd double-cross along the way but it is uncomplicated and straight to the point (in fact the explanation for the betrayal is so briskly delivered it is bordering on an afterthought). Stylistically it reminded me of Le Samourai, even in the way characters are so vaguely sketched, yet where Jean-Pierre Melville’s film is a masterpiece this ends up merely being a missed…
I must be honest and say that I had never heard of Gina Carano. Steven Soderbergh's leading lady in this conspiracy thriller certainly has some talent in the kicking arse department, but she isn't the most natural actress in the world. She did the action stuff well and even showed skinnier Hollywood starlets how to fill a pair of jeans and T-shirt with a fuller figure.
Soderbergh's smaller films have always been interesting affairs. From the likes of "The Limey" or "The Good German", very underrated in my opinion, he can take something that isn't exactly cutting edge or topical and make it work. "Haywire" does have a bit of a B-movie feel to it, but has a support cast…
The problem of Haywire is the poor script, which is for me is a punch in the face because I actually like Lem Dobbs' previous stuff and especially his first collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh back in '99. Not devaluing the effect of Steven's direction, Lem's great writing was actually the main reason why The Limey worked so well; in sum it is a great crime story with great characters, awesome dialogue and a fine dark humour. However, the same does not happen in their latest collaboration, I don't know what happened, but Dobbs' writing is really poor here - the plot is both very messy and too simple in substance to work, the story isn't exceptional in any way…
It's entertaining and mostly enjoyable but Haywire does well to disguise it's unoriginal plot. The fight sequences are initially breathtaking although they do become tiresome at the end as it becomes apparent that no man is a match for Gina Carano. The script is probably the films biggest problem, it lacks wit, sharpness and quality. It's wonderfully direct by Soderbergh, and he's clearly got an eye for shooting action sequences. It's great to see a almost art-house action film, it's fast paced with plenty of exciting moments and while there plenty inspired things about Haywire there are too many uninspired things, that eventually make it just an above average action-thriller.
At some point, someone will write a study of movies that begin in diners. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Broadway Danny Rose and the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street are just some of the films where groups of people sit down ostensibly to enjoy a meal, with the filmmaker telling us, ‘this is the lull before the storm.’ Either characters debate the subtext of Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ or reminiscence about New York’s least successful agent, or else erupt into action or action erupts
into them. The latter happens in both the reboot of Elm Street and Haywire, director Steven Soderbergh’s first foray into the action genre.
Soderbergh’s second release in four months after the all-star Contagion sits…
A veces acierta más y otras acierta menos, pero siempre es interesante algo que lleve el sello Soderbergh. Un culo inquieto con mucho talento.
A stripped, mean spy movie that gets so much power by having Gina Carano at the center, able to hurt and be hurt at a level the eye is not used to processing in movies. With that foundation, Soderbergh can try more and more daring setups to find ways to show that action and underline that hurt. Carano's story is all in movement, she is always pushing to find a new weakness to exploit. She fights like a killer, not a star.
Lem Dobbs loves a confrontation on a beach with a broken leg.
There is a cute girls, and some awesome fight scenes.
But that no it, the movie itself it is quite different from ever other action movies I haver seen.
I will see it again in the future.
"Paul, the motive is money. The motive is always money."
Everyone in this is beautiful. And they all beat the shit out of each other brutally and unaccompanied by music. It's like some really aggressive, lo-fi sex tape from the director of Magic Mike and Out of Sight. Somewhere, James Spader is watching this on outdated analog media.
This movie is amazing. Gina Carano is stunningly beautiful and real; definitely not an Angelina Jolie style action star. She has curves, muscles, blemishes, etc. The action sequences were innovative and engaging. The sound effects are extremely believable, none of that over mixed punch sound, seriously real sounding hits, slaps, punches, kicks. The soundtrack is just perfect, this droning cool jazz just thumping away throughout the film. There are sequences with camera work akin to David Lynch, something so hard to find these days. The director of photography blew my mind. It will seriously be a crime if this movie doesn't receive at least 4 nominations for editing, directing, cinematography and screen play. Highly recommend seeing this flick.
I'm a follower of Soderbergh because I like the risks he takes and seeing him tackle a fairly low budget (for him anyway) action film was intriguing. It's not going to wow action buffs, nor will it knock out more artsy crowds, but there is a naturalistic approach to this kind of subject matter that makes it interesting enough for me. As a filmmaker, I can appreciate the creative short cuts that sometimes lead to worthwhile results and there are a few of those here. Gina does a good job with the role and the choreography falls between the realism and hyper realism more associated with these films.
This list was inspired by a conversation on the March 2nd/9th editions of Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo's film review, where…