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…
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…
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.
Afgezet na 45 min.
While the lead, the story and the direction are all a bit stiff i cant help but enjoy the crap out of this movie. The action scenes are great. The cast, aside from the lead, all seem to be having a fun time chewing up the scenery. The soundtrack sets a nice pace through the film. And while the story is something that's been done many times its pretty stripped down which is refreshing in the current double crossed spies genre.
Por lo leído en su día me esperaba algo más a lo Shoot em' Up, pero la cosa va por otros derroteros, con un rollo de espionaje y traiciones mezclado con escenas de acción verosímiles y intensas, he soltado algun "Ooohhh!!" en un par de ocasiones. La chica se nota que viene del mundo de las tortas.
Ah, y muy bien las localizaciones que son un personaje más, muy guay la parte de Barcelona :)
Artsy version of your typical B-grade 80's action/spy movie. Gina Carano kicked some serious butt and was actually not bad as an actress too.
If Steven Soderbergh was old enough to have been a working director in the early 80's, I would really love to see how he'd handle directing somebody like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Clearly, he could direct a piece of wood and make it look natural, so it's not really important if he's working with actors, non-actors, athletes, or porn stars. I'm sure he'd handle an athlete with a thick accent just as well.
In all seriousness, speaking from the position of familiarity with more than a half of Soderbergh's vast body of work, I still have not seen a single film with his name on it that I wouldn't enjoy on some level. "Haywire" is no exception here either. Perhaps the story…
Spectacular action film from Soderbergh. Amazing cast to back up Carano in her breakout leading role. Soderbergh always puts an artsy/experimental touch on his work and the style he chose for this film was excellent.
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.
I saw this at the cinema and was a little disappointed but I like Soderbergh so picked up the Blu-Ray super cheap thinking it was worth giving the film another go. I think the reason I was lukewarm first time round was that it had been compared to the Bourne trilogy, but it's a lot more tongue in cheek than that franchise.
I had fun this time round, Gina Carrano was better than I remembered, Fassbender is so suave in his brief appearance and the fight scene he has with Carrano is very well choreographed. All the other stars seem to be having a good time and not taking it all too seriously.
It's not top tier SS, but it's a good film to watch without having to do much heavy lifting.
I don't think this counts as a guilty pleasure because actually I think it's pretty good. It's probably a case of style over substance, but I really like the style. And Gina Carano, I really like Gina Carano.
Steven Soderbergh directs MMA action star Gina Carano in what she is great at: fighting and makes her look so great in the action scenes as the fight choreography is done so well. However, Gina is not the best at acting, but Soderbergh brought in great actors such as McGregor, Fassbender, Douglas and Banderas but felt that Tatum was also not on his A-game here either (see Foxcatcher for a better dramatic performance from him).
The storyline is powerful and Soderbergh has such a great way of showing it on the screen. Action fans will not be disappointed.
My Take: A great action flick with not enough character development to make audiences care for the dramatic moments. Carino is a strong action star and I liked this a lot better than other female driven films (Salt or Ultraviolet as examples of ones to avoid for me).
- 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…
- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
- Miss Bala
- The Turin Horse
- This Is Not a Film
This list combines the two checklists The A.V. Club published last year: