This list was inspired by a conversation on the March 2nd/9th editions of Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo's film review, where…
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.
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…
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…
Liked this the first time I saw it but have to confess to fighting sleep a bit at the time. (That has a lot to do with parenthood and nothing to do with the film.) Second time around I found myself wishing Soderbergh would make three of these, like he did with the OCEANS movies.
I don't think this counts as a guilty pleasure because actually I think it's pretty good. It's probably a case of style over substance, but I really like the style. And Gina Carano, I really like Gina Carano.
Steven Soderbergh directs MMA action star Gina Carano in what she is great at: fighting and makes her look so great in the action scenes as the fight choreography is done so well. However, Gina is not the best at acting, but Soderbergh brought in great actors such as McGregor, Fassbender, Douglas and Banderas but felt that Tatum was also not on his A-game here either (see Foxcatcher for a better dramatic performance from him).
The storyline is powerful and Soderbergh has such a great way of showing it on the screen. Action fans will not be disappointed.
My Take: A great action flick with not enough character development to make audiences care for the dramatic moments. Carino is a strong action star and I liked this a lot better than other female driven films (Salt or Ultraviolet as examples of ones to avoid for me).
No way out for Gina Carano. Smooth cool orangey Soderberghisms propel her into trouble, then out of trouble, and gradually into vengeance. This is, among other things, a film about speed. Every happens quickly, and you have to keep up. Carano's Mallory figuring out how she was double-crossed? Quick. Hurry. Learn it. Repeat it (as the audience surrogate, the guy whose car she commandeers, must do). Men attack her unexpectedly? Quick. Hurry. Defend. Overcome. Even the pleasures of the physical are fast. The camera doesn't leer here, though the bodies of Carano, Fassbender, Tatum, and others, often make for clearly attractive figures--not solely in a sexual way, but because this film, like many in its genre, is also about the…
Und hier gleich der Beweis, dass man auch aus einer dünnen Story etwas machen kann. Da man nie wirklich mehr weiß als die Protagonistin und das Ganze nicht linear erzählt wird bleibt immer etwas Neugierde, wie es denn nun weiter geht, vorhanden. Besonders hat mir die ruhige Kamera und die gute Musikuntermalung gefallen. Die Actionszenen zeigen sich realistisch (und nicht verwackelt!), man fühlt aufgrund der ruhigen Inszenierung immer mit der Hauptdarstellerin mit - ganz besonders hervorzuheben ist die Flucht vom Handyshop vor der Spezialeinheit.
Great every time. I sure hope this movie gets the cult status it deserves for years to come.
If there is a more stylistically experimental director in Hollywood than Steven Soderbergh, who at one second makes huge box-office hits like Ocean’s 11 only to turn around the next second to direct a tiny film like Bubble, he has yet to be found. Ever since his first film Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Soderbergh has been refining and perfecting his style; defined by hyperlink cinema storytelling, jazzy cinematography, and the use of dialogue-free scenes that rely on the movie’s score to do the talking.
Soderbergh’s strongest talent, it seems, is in his assembly of high-talent actors to star in all of his films. From Traffic to Contagion to Ocean’s 11, Soderbergh has proven himself the master of the ensemble cast.…
This is at least the 4th time I've seen it and the first time that I really payed attention to the tight as a razor plotting.
I have to admit it: I cannot think of one single director whose films bore me more than those by Steven Soderberg. This light entertainment is no exception. ZZZZZZZzzzzzz....
I'll still mention the positive: The section from Dublin is good and suspenseful (if only the rest of the film was like this!), the fight on the beach where the sounds of the waves were accented in stead of the sounds of violence was poetic, and Gina Carano is a cool protagonist. The fact that she kind of looks like Anna Nebtrekto adds some bonus humour.
What it lacks in plotting — often a vehicle or artifice designed to get to the fights, anyway — it makes up for with intricate, masterful style (both visual and musical) and action choreography with a clarity and technicality seldom matched. Gina Carano's reactive, assuredly underplayed turn perfectly befits Soderbergh's relaxed, Oceans-esque approach.
HAYWIRE isn't going to change your worldview, but it'll keep you gripped and entertained for a brisk 90 minutes. It's a hell of a lot of fun.
- North by Northwest
- The Birds
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Casino Royale
- If a Tree Falls: A Story of the…
- War Horse
We all had one review that began our Letterboxd addiction. I'm just curious what everyone else's was...
Some will be…
- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
- Miss Bala
- The Turin Horse
- This Is Not a Film
This list combines the two checklists The A.V. Club published last year: