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…
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.
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…
98% beautiful action! If it wasn't for Channing Tatum (I just don't like the guy) I might have given it five stars.
I was not expecting this to hold up as well on second viewing, but it really does. Gina Carano is still a bit wooden when it comes to line deliveries and emoting, but, man, she kicks ass in a film that has some very good performances by the characters that support Gina. The "guest stars" definitely bump the film up a notch, as well as Soderbergh's eloquent direction and editing.
For some reason, during the film I wished he would do a vampire flick soon, ala Thirst...
AMC Mayfair 18
Steven Soderbergh loves films and constructs them precisely and with love. Each time he attempts something there are always a few new things that he wants to try and he often will share his influences and inspirations. With Haywire it's making a 70s-style spy thriller with a female lead. With Gina Carano in the lead he has a strong physical core for the fight sequences and with the rest of the (all-male) cast he has solid actors to advance the plot and be beaten up by Carano. With a tightly-constructed script from Lem Dobbs (who wrote Soderbergh's earlier masterpiece, The Limey), the story jumps around in time filling in details as it goes. It works as a more intellectual thriller and is a lot of brisk fun well-shot, tightly-edited (both by Soderbergh), and with a catchy score. So much fun.
En pleno frenesí creador, Steven Soderbergh firmó este divertido disparate, que mezcla con habilidad el thriller de espías con el cine de mamporros añadiéndole unos ligerísimos toques tarantinianos. El protagonismo de la luchadora profesional Gina Carano se compensó con un reparto de secundarios lleno de rostros conocidos y solventes.
La cinta es pura diversión. Y las peleas están magníficamente coreografiadas. Banderas tiene el privilegio de decir la última palabra. Por cierto, memorable.
Thumbs Up: Great fight scenes well shot and choreographed, smooth score, computer enhanced punches land killer blows, controlled and kinetic camera work, "woman in a man's world" element gives a new spin to spy thriller, tight run time, well paced.
Thumbs Down: Gina Carano tries her best but her character is pretty obnoxious, the plot is disposable, weak ending because she only learns the truth of the conspiracy AFTER her final showdown.
- 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…
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Glengarry Glen Ross
- The Great Escape
- L.A. Confidential
- The Thin Red Line
With The Avengers hitting screens next week I thought it a good time to highlight some other films with amazing…