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.
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 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…
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…
Did anyone ever expect Steven Soderbergh to make a straight up, ass-kicking action picture? As eclectic an auteur he is, very few people undoubtedly saw Haywire coming. Blink and you might miss it though, as Soderbergh gives us a swift, punchy kick to the senses with this globe-trotting espionage thriller, propped up with a truly stunning cast of rising stars, old legends and gifted character actors - seriously, half of Hollywood pops up here, such is Soderbergh's pull, and Haywire remains every inch one of his distinguishable pictures; like an art house Bourne film, set to a jazzy, moody David Holmes score, it assaults you with a quick, clear and visceral story about betrayal, centred around Gina Carano's action heroine…
Look at the scenes
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you watch from Soderbergh,
Yeah, they were all yellow.
Anyway, that was a good old school modern (oxymoron I know) espionnage action movie. Sure the plot is difficult to follow at the beginning and is sometimes messy but it's still a really well directed, beautifully shot and fun movie...serious fun but still fun.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ronda Rousey doppelganger kills Magneto, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Zorro in a forgettable action flick where the action scenes are done so realistically that they end up being plain and boring. It's an action movie it doesn't have to be realistic! And why on Earth does Channing Tatum keep getting roles, his acting in this is terrible.
Bravo Soderbergh! If anything, the man deserves high praise for not rabidly editing all the action scenes. It seems to me that the man actually realizes that action, for the most part shouldn't be spliced up into tiny little sections.
To top it off, we get Steven Soderbergh's love for luxurious shots, that he's balanced surprisingly well with all the combat. The cinematography and lighting is quite stylish. In the past, the directors gotten carried away at times, to the point that it loses context with the film. But it's tightly managed here... it seems like the director had a lot of fun putting together AND refining this one.
I've seldom seen an athlete (ex athlete in this case) utilized…
First watch a few year ago: boring, messy, waste of time.
Rewatch: thrilling, tightly focussed, excellent.
It's funny how attitudes can change, both over time and dependant on expectation. Originally I had expected a Bourne-style thriller. What I got was a Soderbergh-style thriller - idiosyncratic and off-beat. I was disappointed although I shouldn't have been (Soderbergh is one of my favourite directors).
On second watch, expectations were lowered. I remembered little of the plot, just that it was rubbish. But pretty-to-look-at rubbish. Imagine my surprise when I realised that I was completely wrong. This was exciting, lean, mean film-making. Everything is important, nothing superfluous. Yes, Carano is better at fighting than acting, but she does enough to convince. The script…
I would watch a million sequels.
Don't know why anyone expected this to be any better than advertised. Plenty of fun to be had throughout.
Haywire feels like a direct-to-video film made with a bigger budget. The story is a mishmash of things you see in every spy film, but the fight scenes are excellent and the direction has a lot of style. The supporting cast consists of great actors who you wouldn't expect to see in this kind of film. Carano isn't a talented enough actress to be a lead in Hollywood, but I think she would excel in the direct-to-video action market.
I just wasn't interested in the story at all. That, and I just don't like action-heavy movies. Cinematography was a treat, though, which is why it gets such a high rating from me.
Women aren't just strong or damsel's in distress, or the 'I grew up with 5 brothers' type. They're all kinds…
All of the action films, rated three stars or higher, that I have watched and reviewed since joining Letterboxd. Films…