Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire"

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Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire"

Post by Deviss on Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:55 pm

Deviss wrote:I don't even know how to play that.


  • Story: Two Stars
  • Acting: Two and a half Stars
  • Directing: Two Stars
  • Visuals: Three Stars
  • Overall: Two and a half Stars

I'll be honest... aside from the Ocean's trilogy; I've never been much of a Soderbergh fan. As a matter of fact, I can count on one hand how many of his films I've seen all the way through. Those being the Ocean's trilogy (obviously), Contagion, and this movie "Haywire". Of those five, Contagion was the only movie to date that I have not enjoyed enough to review. I won't get into it too much, because this is the review for "Haywire" after all. In a nutshell, "Contagion" just didn't live up to what the trailers had advertised for me. And in a way, the same thing happened for this movie.

---

Freelance covert operative Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is hired out by her handler to various global entities to perform jobs, which governments can't authorize and heads of state would rather not know about. After a mission to rescue a hostage in Barcelona, Mallory is quickly dispatched on another mission to Dublin, but when the operation goes awry and Mallory finds she has been double-crossed. To make it back to the United States, so she can protect her family and exact revenge on those that have betrayed her, Mallory needs to use all of her skills, tricks and abilities to escape a rapidly unfolding international manhunt.

When this movie first came out last January, it looked interesting enough for me to want to see it. Plus, it was released one day before my birthday, so, at the time, I figured I would "treat myself" by seeing it. I ended up not seeing it on its weekend of release, but instead months later through Netflix on an afternoon where there wasn't much else to watch. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't sacrifice the time on its initial release because it wasn't as enjoyable and engaging as I first assumed it would be. I think I had even thought of doing a double feature, but I can't remember what the other movie was and it's neither here nor there.

One of the biggest motivators to see this movie, at one point or another, was the impressive-looking cast list: Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, and, for what they're worth, Gina Carano and Channing Tatum. Since becoming aware of this movie, and having seen her in little else, I've done a moderate amount of research into Ms. Carano. I know she's a trained MMA fighter, and I'll be honest, doing what she does, going through the punishment that people in that job field go through, Gina looks great. She's definitely easy on the eyes, even when she's beating the crap out of Channing Tatum's character in the film's opening moments. But aside from her physical attractiveness and her martial arts training, Gina needs to work on her believability as an actress and just plain emoting.

For 98% percent of this movie, Carano is the stone-faced, tough-as-nails covert operative who can beat your [Squirrel!] with limb... and not much else. Coupled with the all-too-generic storyline of "a super spy being double-crossed by the agency they work for and seeking revenge on them"... it reminded me way too much of Jason Bourne and it wasn't done nearly as well here as it was with those movies. Don't get me wrong; the fight scenes were absolutely fantastic. They were the best display of Carano's MMA capabilities, but once they were done everything else seemed to fizzle out rather quickly. And any other time where Carano wasn't punching or kicking someone in the face, she came off as wooden or stilted, to a point where I grew bored with it all.

Even the impressive cast list, much to my chagrin, couldn't help alleviate the boring parts very well. McGregor and Banderas weren't very convincing as the type of person who would double-cross someone, for whatever reason. Douglas was just there in his performance; by the end of the film I didn't care much more for him than I had for everyone else in this movie. Fortunately Fassbender was able to bring enough believability to his role that I was able to enjoy his time on the screen. And to be honest, his fight sequence with Carano was awesome and very well done. One thing that I will credit Soderbergh with is the decision to play no music during the fight scenes. That way every blow registers all the more and actually caused me to wince.

Aside from that, there wasn't much reason for me to become invested in these characters, least of all Carano's. As impressive as the fight scenes were, what they told me, more than anything else, was that she'd be able to take care of herself and whatever force McGregor could muster up to try and stop her, it wouldn't work. And when you don't balance out a character like that, or cast someone who's capable of emoting a little more, there isn't much holding her up and that is a big problem. Carano's emotionlessness was an issue in the "Furious 6" movie, but given what type of movie that is, it wasn't as big of a deal there as it is with this movie and what it says it'll present us with.

So, if you're in a situation like I was, where you're bored on an afternoon and there isn't much else to watch, go ahead and put this in. But if you don't, you won't really be missing much.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for reading.

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