"...poster boy of the Sundance generation"
- Roger Ebert
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…
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.
Decent enough escapist fare...
lmao boring as hell
A pretty familiar story of an agent betrayed by superiors and forced to go it alone to extricate themselves, but refreshingly and stylishly presented. Soderbergh takes scenarios common in this genre and brings a fresh approach, often confounding expectations nicely - although perhaps going a bit too far for the sake of difference at times.
Carano is excellent and her martial arts background brings a very real physicality to the role - the fight sequence with Fassbender is one of the more convincing I can recall seeing. Everything looks great too, nicely shot with unexpected but well chosen locations. An enjoyable alternative take on a typical action/thriller film.
While it isn't something to write home about it still is an above average action flick. The fighting sequences in particular are heavy, well scripted, thrilling and violent to the point of being nasty. They are the definite highlight. Gina Carano was an excellent choice and did a great job.
One thing that completely ruined the experience for me was the soundtrack though. There are rare examples where the soundtrack ruins the experience and this is one of them. The soft jazzy sound is a completely wrong choice and just kept dragging me out of the experience, especially during the action sequences, instead of pulling me in.
This movie has style, a few good moments of action and absolutely nothing else to it.
Christ, people may joke about how much Tom Cruise runs in the Mission: Impossible movies, but I think Gina Carano manages to do more running in this one film than Cruise did in five!
Soderbergh has made some great movies in his time, but HAYWIRE isn't one of them; it looks good, performances are solid, but its story is quite blandly told. If it wasn't for Carano impressively kicking arse, then this would be unbearably dull, despite its strong cast. At times (mainly during its protracted, wordless chase scenes) reminiscent of '70s thrillers, but yeah, bland.
One of the most underrated action movies ever made, Haywire has a premise we have seen a billion times before however what separates it from these films is the way the action is shot. Their is literately no shaky cam in any of the fight scenes and they let the actors do their bit. The fight choreography is well done and you can see what is happening. However this is not a great movie like I said the plot is formulaic and a bit convoluted around the first 20 minutes but when it hits the 30 minute mark its so damn thrilling. I am officially happy of seeing a direct to video action film as long as Gina Carano is the star.
A tight double cross espionage movie updated to have a kick ass woman lead and serve revenge with slick MMA skills. It's a great cast in a film that feels European and classy.
This is boring but Fassy made me so hard.
"...poster boy of the Sundance generation"
- Roger Ebert
In 2007 Sight & Sound began compiling review/best of the year-lists which with the exception of the year 2008 have been…
Ranked based on personal preference and what I've seen. Read list in view for ratings.