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…
I have to admit the first time I watched it I didn't much care for it, but the second time, well, I really liked it! Perhaps I was distracted by something which prevented me from getting into it; it's a "small" film, but very well formed, like Lem Dobbs' other film, The Limey, which I love. There are similarities here, other than Steven Soderbergh, with The Limey, but that said, it's shot well, has a great mood about it, and is a good film for Carano.
Man, you have to work hard to enjoy this film...
Aside from the bursts of, admittedly impressive, violence from Gina Carano, this is very much Soderbergh in his "Ocean's 12" mode, where the viewer has to do more than their fair share of lifting to keep their interest engaged. There's certainly no escaping from Haywire's paper thin plot, and minimalist characterisations.
I enjoyed it a bit more at home than I did in the cinema. (There were fewer people walking out for one thing...)
A solid action/thriller renewing my faith in Steven Soderbergh. 'Haywire' isn't a revolution, just a solid film.
Carrying off much where Bourne went before, Haywire doesn't reinvent anything, it just carries on regardless. The main aspect I enjoyed, was lack of soundtrack. The action spoke for itself. Simple chase sequences seemed to last longer, and be more intense through the lack of music. Sound effects were elongated and distorted, making for a very nice overall feel.
A solid cast of stars. We have good performances from Tatum, Fassbender and Banderas (and a brief but enjoyable cameo from Michael Douglas). In all, I couldn't properly fault it, it just didn't exceed expectations.
Siempre es interesante ver un trabajo de cámara tan interesante en el cine de acción y eso junto con la increíble habilidad como luchadora de la guapa Gina Carano es lo mas rescatable de este filme, el resto me ha parecido intrascendente y falto de intensidad, buenos actores haciendo de maniquís y poco mas.
A fun action/thriller.
First of all, Gina Carano's fighting is excellent. The pacing is also refreshingly varied as is the use of music (or the absence of it). I admire Soderberg for not getting all heavy handed as is so often the case in this genre nowadays. But I feel he went too far towards the other side of the spectrum. Ultimately it is such a light film that it feels almost too insubstantial.
Secret agent vendetta bullshit
I liked this far more on a re-watch. Great fight scenes, excellent supporting cast, the usual beautiful Soderbergh cinematography and some interesting editing. Carano is better than anyone could have expected.
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With The Avengers hitting screens next week I thought it a good time to highlight some other films with amazing…