Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: "Haywire"

I must begin by saying that in a genre plagued by the conventions of male ego (i.e. if there's a woman present we'll have to save her), when I first heard about Haywire I got pretty excited. Here was a woman who could genuinely take care of herself being placed in a role that is traditionally reserved for actors and former wrestlers. It's definitely a promising start. Add that to the fact that Oscar nominee Steven Soderbergh was directing and I'd say I was happily anticipating a decent romp through fantasy land. I was not disappointed.

Haywire stars MMA fighter Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, an ex marine and current gun for hire who's situation quickly goes south following a split from boss and boyfriend Kenneth (Ewan McGregor). When the private firm that Kane works for is contracted by the government to rescue a man from the clutches of his captors and return him to his allies, Mallory and a team of mercenaries travel to Barcelona. Unfortunately it's all downhill from there for Mallory as Steven Soderbergh's answer to The Bourne Trilogy watches her get slowly pushed into more and more difficult situation, all while trying to determine who's after her and just how far up the chain this goes.

Carano is believable as a rough and tough former marine but her acting is obviously not up to the level of her co-stars. Surprisingly, this is not an issue as Soderbergh manages to craft the film in such a way as to capture Carano's honest moments (mostly during her more physically demanding moments). He wisely shies away from showing too much emotion on the part of Carano's character since any attempt would likely come off as forced and awkward. Luckily the part has been written such that Kane is a bit of a hard ass so this falls in line with what we expect of her.

The style of the film will likely be what is causing audiences to falter a little in deciding whether they like the film as Soderbergh has crafted a Drive style film, intermixing extended scenes of silence and tense interaction with scenes of sometimes extreme violence. Ultimately if you're looking for a slick and fast paced action thriller this is not that film but if you're interested to see a lady kick some ass (the fight scenes are very brutal) then check this one out. Be prepared for the pacing and you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Haywire was a better movie than I expected it to be. Gina Carano's character was kind of one note - though there were moments of interesting introspection. The whole point of the movie was to watch her fight. The fight scenes were awesome.

    And I love that Scott (a random stranger Mallory kidnaps) was played by Michael Angarano, Jack's son Elliott from Will & Grace.

    I think the most interesting bit of information about the film is whether or not Steven Soderbergh will truly retire from directing to focus on painting. His next film, Magic Mike, stars Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey in a story about male strippers - based on Tatum's real life story! Exciting, eh?