AV Club's 100 best films of the decade thus far.
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.
The problem of Haywire is the poor script, which is for me is a punch in the face because I actually like Lem Dobbs' previous stuff and especially his first collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh back in '99. Not devaluing the effect of Steven's direction, Lem's great writing was actually the main reason why The Limey worked so well; in sum it is a great crime story with great characters, awesome dialogue and a fine dark humour. However, the same does not happen in their latest collaboration, I don't know what happened, but Dobbs' writing is really poor here - the plot is both very messy and too simple in substance to work, the story isn't exceptional in any way…
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…
More movies with Gina Carano please. Fun action flick similar to Point Blank, not too remarkable or anything.
It was just this past weekend that I watched a movie that I said I could rate three stars or five stars. Haywire presents the same conundrum to me. Because if I just take Haywire for what it is, it's really, really awesome.
A few bumps in the road that are forgivable for a new director, but otherwise really awesome.
Except then I squint at the director's name that flashes during the ending credits and I see that it is not a fresh, new director, but Steven Soderbergh, a guy whose films have been critical darlings, box office hits, and generally is A Guy Who Can Direct A Movie. So these little bumps in the road that make sense for…
If Magic Mike is an art house stripper film.
Then Haywire is an art house action thriller.
I have to say the plot made little sense to me for most of the film until it coalesced at the end & (I assume) was designed that way, but it was fun.
Gina Carano was interesting, I liked that her natural resting face is a permanent near smile that seems likely to turn into a smug smirk at a moment's notice. Like she knows she will beat you up & win no matter what.
Definitely style over substance, but the style is GOOOOOOOOOD
Loved the fight sequences.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Gina Carano is fantastic, a real warrior woman, proving that a woman can be just as believable as a badass hero as a man. Carano's surrounded by a great supporting cast and one of the great joys of this film is watching Carano mercilessly take down Tatum, Fassbender and McGregor in turn. I loved it and wish there were more films like it.
Gina Carano is a born Action Heroine in her first ever leading role. 'Haywire' proves once again that often the most progressive films are the Genre B-Movies. 'Haywire' presents a female action star in Carano who, despite being beautiful, is not overtly sexualised in any way, unlike Lara Croft and her ilk. She simply kicks a lot of ass and happens to look good while doing it, the chief difference being of course that Carano, a real life MMA fighter, can really do dish out this kind of punishment.
Having such a skilled fighter as Carano to sell the fight scenes so well allows Director, Steven Soderbergh to shoot, direct and edit them very cleanly, devoid of any Bourne style…
Gina Carano i am a nice person i have four cats i think pizza is a fun-time food please call me
Gina Carano should have been the new wonder woman. Thogh she is a bit rough in parts this was her first go at acting and she does a solid job. But her genious comes from doing her own stunts and making the actions scenes come alive with believable choreography. It also helps when you have Steven Soderbergh at the helm with his great visual eye and knack for visceral filmmaking, With a great soundtrack too, this is a pretty fun and riverting watch that also manages to do something rather different with the spy genre.
This list was inspired by a conversation on the March 2nd/9th editions of Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo's film review, where…
We all had one review that began our Letterboxd addiction. I'm just curious what everyone else's was...
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