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.
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…
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…
In this 60s-style globetrotting martial arts thriller with a pumping, driven soundtrack by David Arnold, lead actor Gina Carano may not possess an enormous dramatic range. But if you want someone with the capability to kick the living shit out of everyone in sight, Gina's your woman. Unsurprisingly solid action fun from Soderbergh with a protagonist who just won't quit.
Surprisingly good, actually. Gina Carano impressed me; action scenes really do get a lot better when the lead actress does all of her own stunts.
The slew of big name actors in supporting roles confused me, though. Because this felt like a B movie. But in a good way.
Nice action film. I'm a big Soderberg fan, and this didn't disappoint for me.
I was actually looking forward to this due to the stellar cast led by my favourite rebooted American Gladiator, Gina Carano ("Crush").
However, it turned out to be the least thrilling thriller I've ever had the displeasure of watching. Like many a celebrity socialite, it's all style and no substance... and even the style was somewhat questionable at times.
Action movie by way of Steven Soderbergh. The action scenes themselves feel so different from any other action film, mainly because of the direct way of shooting them and the lack of any sound effects or cues. All of the supporting cast work well within the story and Carano is great at kicking ass.
Read my NPR review.
Really wasn't paying attention so I'm gonna have to rewatch at a later date... It started off poorly so I lost interest, and when I started paying attention it appeared to have picked up.
Not one of Soderbergh's headier flicks, Haywire nonetheless delivers it's share of excitement. MMA champ Gina Carano is featured as Mallory Kane, an operative in a private espionage firm hired to do sticky work for individuals and governments alike. The thrust of the film comes when she is set up and targeted for liquidation. From that point on she must do some intercontinental ass kicking to save her own skin.
Not the first time he's used amateur actors (Bubble, Girlfriend Experience), Soderbergh surrounds Carano with heavyweights from Michael Douglas to Antonio Banderas to Michael Fassbender, letting them do the (no too terribly) heavy lifting. In the end Haywire is an action flick with plenty of kicking, jumping, punching... all things the lead handles with aplomb.
It's like a budget Bourne Identity with a side order of female empowerment. Worth the 90min.
- 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…