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.
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…
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…
Watching Gina Carano kick butt for most of the film made it a more watchable film. But overall I thought the film was meh.
La tontería de "estilo sobre sustancia" es una coletilla que vais a leer mil veces en todas las cosas que hablan / hablaban de esto cuando se hablaba de esto pero creo que la estúpida estúpida estúpida coletilla no solo se queda corta en un aspecto fundamental (el estilo, a veces, ES la sustancia) sino que es un caso claro de lo de los arboles y el bosque que tan guay queda siempre y que tan poca oportunidad tengo de usar en mi típica conversación casual.
Si, esto lo hemos visto mil veces (como si la repetición y la novedad tuvieran un valor cuantitativo intrínseco o alguna tontería de esas). Si, es todo una excusa barata y pulposa (en el…
I really enjoyed the style of this film, but the pace was a little too slow to really bring me into the story fully. There was a great cast with some solid performances!
Steven Soderbergh's spy thriller has some of the best stunt work I have ever seen in a movie. The fight sequences are choreographed wonderfully and newcomer Gia Carano is a pro and could totally kick the living shit out of me.
This also marks the first collaboration between Soderbergh and his muse Channing Tatum. I love that Tatum is somebody's muse.
Stephen Soderbergh was so smitten with Gina Carano that he made this film solely as a vehicle to showcase her athletic talents. Annnnd you can tell: with its perfunctory plot and shallow characterization, Haywire depends on the A-list talent of Soderbergh regulars and more importantly, Carano's fighting abilities to justify its existence. Soderbergh's trademark use of filters (more than one color this time!) are an attempt to spruce up the presentation.
I'll lazily but favorably compare Haywire's super-spy-on-the-run plot and tone to the Bourne movies. It comes across as real instead of artificial. In addition, the pacing is laid back instead of frenetic. The editing is coherent instead of spastic. The score is jazzy instead of techno. Gina Carano can…
Notable for its brutal fight scenes, which make the most of Carano's physicality. The rest is a bit bland, despite the great cast.
I saw this years ago, and I couldn't remember a single fucking thing about it. Well, now I know why; and I can't imagine that anything is going to stick after this second time around either. It's just so empty. Sure, it's got Soderbergh style, and the fight sequences are pretty cool (especially Carano vs. Fassbender), but I'd be damned if I had to tell you in any kind of depth who any of these people were or what they were doing or why, nor did I really give a shit.
Stylish thriller with an incomprehensible plot. Something about a hostage rescue and a double cross or something. Not important. The basic story of the protagonist hunting down the people who double crossed her is easy enough to follow.
Gina Carano is not a good actor, but she is great in the action scenes. I appreciate the filmmakers' decision to not sex her up. I also appreciate the way the film did not make her out to be an invulnerable superhero, like so many other action stars. In the fight scenes, she took almost as much damage as she dished out, which served to raise the stakes significantly.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, this movie looks and feels much better than an action movie starring a former MMA fighter deserves. The camera shots are gorgeous. The soundtrack, reminiscent of innumerable '70s cop shows, is terrific. The rest of the cast is mostly great.
Good realisticly choreographed fights. Great supporting cast. Gina is a badass.
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...
Some will be…