Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: R
Time: 93 minutes
Genre: Action, Thriller
USA Release: 1/20/2012
On DVD (USA): 5/1/2012
Like every year during the first couple of months, the film industry is at probably it’s worst overall. It’s a time to play catch up having many theaters begin or extend their release of the films that are gathering awards or award buzz as well as many films getting their long awaited wide release. And even though the year may not start with a bang in the film world there are sometimes little surprises during these dark months as we wonder through tons of films that we’ll forget the names of by the start of summer. One of those surprises was the new Steven Soderbergh film, “Haywire”.
In “Haywire” we are following Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) who after hiding out for reason currently unknown makes her way to a local dinner in Upstate New York. While there she waits and becomes back on radar when her partner Aaron (Channing Tatum) shows up. But after refusing to go with him, she finds herself back on the run this time with a random customer, Scott (Michael Angarano). While traveling she explains her story to Scott, about how she works for a private firm that was recently contracted by the U.S. government. And how that mission was for her and her team to help rescue someone that was being held captive. After the mission was complete she figured she could take a break but her boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) wanted her to do one last easy job before she went on vacation. The job was just to be eye candy and pose as the wife of British agent Paul (Michael Fassbender), but it turned out to be anything but easy.
It’s funny sometimes when there is movie that comes out and the critics all love it but audiences don’t, it makes you start to wonder what could be turning audiences off it so much. “Haywire” seems to be one of those movies, so what is it about “Haywire” that has audiences walking away unsatisfied? There are only a couple of things I could find. To begin with Steven Soderbergh is a pretty good director having done many crime and or thriller type films like the Oceans Trilogy along with others like last year’s “Contagion”. Soderbergh has a good eye especially when it comes to cinematography (which he did for this film but under a different name). He uses surroundings well and has different color palettes to represent different times. For instances he used dark tones to represent the present and light tones such as yellow or flesh tones for the flashbacks. He also knows how to work with stunts and play them up in a scene having the camera move around the action instead of just seeing it from one side. But sometime that all can lead to problems with pacing and there were a couple of scenes that did get a bit lengthy having us watch a person run for what seems like 5 minutes but overall the pacing wasn’t too bad it just could have been trimmed a bit. Astonishingly enough the score in this was not done by Cliff Martinez but David Holmes which Soderbergh has worked with on a couple past films. The score does a great effect with the movie as it sounds like something you would hear in many classic thrillers, it has a nice bounce and clips alone in the same fashion as the movie itself.
Even though the editing was a tiny almost unnoticeable problem in this, one of the biggest problems (which isn’t really that big) was the script done by Lem Dobbs which seemed to be as thin as the DVD case it will be in in a few months. Not to say it’s a bad script its just there isn’t too much of a plot as it’s something that has been seen many times before but hey it is a martial arts flick. Anyways it just a story of revenge that showcases a lot of action and fighting. And from what I hear that is just how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career really got started in “Conan the Barbarian” having a lot of action and very little dialog coming from him. That is the same case with this movie, many of Gina Carnao’s lines are very short, sometime just a couple of words. But it’s the story itself that seems to be going over many peoples head (which is exactly what I heard from a couple of people that were at my showing). Now I didn’t find it too hard to follow but I can see how someone can get lost as we do jump around a lot not only from past to present but between many different characters rather fast. For a plot so thin is seems to be going in every direction, but for this movie your not coming to see any award wining acting or screenwriting your coming to just watch a girl kick the crap out of a ton of people, so remember that above everything else.
Like I said before the acting is nothing that extraordinary it’s pretty average although they have some really good actors in some of the roles. Of the supporting cast there were Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas. They all come and go throughout the movie, some faster then other. And like many others have said this probably will not be anything they will be remembered for but they help create a fun and entertaining movie. But it’s Gina Carano to keep an eye on as I think she will become the new female action star for this generation. Although in this her acting isn’t the greatest having Channing Tatum seem like Laurence Olivier compared to her but she has great promise and shows she can hold her own next to all of the big stars. She was better then I thought she was going to be but hopefully she will become more relaxed when delivering lines as she sounded almost robotic (it didn’t help that her voice was altered) and there was no real flow. But she does move well in scenes using the room and objects well, so that’s half the battle. Carano could have easily transitioned into just stunt work as she does an amazing job and she blew my mind at times with how physical she was (I’ve never seen her fight before) and I was surprised with how much they let her do but thank goodness they did as it makes it much more realist and jaw dropping.
Overall “Haywire” may not be something that will win any awards or find it’s way on any best films of the year list (unless 2012 offers a bunch of crap, which I doubt) but it delivers 93 minutes of great action entertainment which is a surprise to see this early in the year. Although the plot may run thin and be a bit confusing (for some) and or predictable, you can’t deny that it keeps your attention with all of the fighting. Gina Carano may be well on her way to becoming the new female action star but she needs to become a little more comfortable delivering lines first. If you want a movie with more plot then save this for DVD but “Haywire” isn’t a bad way to spend a day at the theater.