"Haywire" Movie Review
Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh is a prolific filmmaker. He has made nearly 28 movies in just 25 years. Some of his films were good like “Traffic,” “Erin Brockovich,” and his groundbreaking “sex, lies, and videotape.”
But some movies in Soderbergh’s oeuvre were just okay such as “The Good German” and “Full Frontal.” His latest film, the female-driven espionage thriller “Haywire,” falls somewhere in the middle. It’s a riveting action thriller with a formulaic plot.
The main character is Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), a highly trained operative working for a government security contractor. The CIA trained her then betrayed her. Sounds familiar? It is like a female “Bourne” movie except Mallory remembers everything.
But what keeps the film ticking along is Carano herself. Making her big blockbuster debut, the actress known as the “Face of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts” is predictably adept with her action scenes but also surprisingly holds her own against seasoned co-stars like Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender.
After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage in Barcelona, Mallory discovers she’s being set up. The freed hostage is found murdered and all the evidence points to her as the suspect. Now, Mallory must cross multiple international borders to clear her name before time runs out. Will her plan go haywire?
Perhaps knowing that Carano is an ingénue when it comes to acting, Soderbergh surrounds her with veteran actors. There’s the Golden Globe-nominated Fassbender as Paul, the suave but two-faced operative paired initially with Mallory.
There’s also Antonio Banderas as Rodrigo, a shady Spanish government official. Channing Tatum also co-stars as Aaron, a member of Mallory’s team in Barcelona. Even Michael Douglas and Bill Paxton make an appearance. But my favorite is Ewan McGregor as Mallory’s boss and former lover, Kenneth.
Scriptwriter Lem Dobbs, who previously worked with Soderbergh in 1991’s “Kafka” and 1999’s “The Limey,” conjured up some twist and turns in homage to Alfred Hitchcock. In describing “Haywire,” Soderbergh calls it “a Pam Grier movie made by Alfred Hitchcock.”
While the execution of the movie is not entirely Hitchcockian, some of the elements attached to the legendary director are present such as the conceit of the woman who knew too much. Soderbergh directs the movie with enough heft and brevity that you will forgive some of its clichés.
From Washington, D.C., to Barcelona and Dublin, this globetrotting thriller maximizes the use of its locales. Shot by Soderbergh himself, using the moniker Peter Andrews, “Haywire” employs each setting as a character in the movie.
“Haywire” is a fun popcorn thriller that owes a lot to Carano’s skillset . You will believe that she can smack around anybody standing in her way. And yes, you will tap out in submission when witnessing her impressive fighting style. Simply put, Carano owns the film.
RATING: “HAYWIRE” GETS 3 KISSES
Country: United States
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