Action Movie Fanatix Review: Haywire


They Left Her No Choice.

Starring: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton

Director: Steven Soderbergh

2011  |  93 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Keep you’re eyes open” – Mallory Kane
“I haven’t shut my eyes since you were born.  Just be careful and watch your six.” – John Kane

After being a fan of Gina Carano’s MMA career thus far, I was excited to hear that she would have an action movie coming out.  Not only that but she would be surrounded by some great co-stars and would be directed by a very well known director.  *fingers crossed*

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) works as a undercover operative for hire.  After she is double-crossed by her fellow agents (Michael Fassbender & Channing Tatum) she goes after her former employer (Ewan McGregor) who planned the betrayal, all the while evading her own capture.

Director Steven Soderbergh tries too hard to be stylish here.  There is constant snappy jazz music playing throughout the action scenes.  At times it feels like we are watching DannyOcean set up his next wild & crazy heist.  The only positive of this is that at times the music all goes away and it is just 2 people trying to beat each other to death.  Soderbergh also uses the same text to tell us the locations of each scene as what he used in Contagion.  These are two very different movies (although both are equally heartless) and deserve to be treated as such.

The martial arts are very realistic and utilize (as we knew it would) Gina Carano’s real life Mixed Martial Arts abilities.  The hits feel thoroughly brutal.  Each hit is cringe worthy and made me feel like something had been missing from all other action fist fights.  Part of this feeling may have to do with the fact that Carano is a woman.  Watching Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender slam her head into a countertop or a wall feels a little like we are watching domestic abuse and not stepping in.  Of course, Ms. Carano can handle herself and I wouldn’t have helped a bit but it is just a gut feeling that I get as a man watching it.  It is something really effective and fresh for an action movie.

Carano does surprisingly well being that this is her first starring role.  Her line delivery is a little flat at times but overall she very well.  I would almost say she is a natural. She is, of course, incredibly beautiful but she is also tough.  It isn’t unbelievable to watch her kicking the much larger Channing Tatum’s ass.  I imagine she will continue to get more leading roles and I personally look forward to it.

A great non-fight scene where Mallory is walking down a street.  There is a man on the other side of the street who seems to be matching her speed but doesn’t necessarily seem to be watching her.  Then, as she passes a parked car, it starts up and drives slowly by her.  The whole time the, you are brought in to her sense that she is that someone must be following her.

The whole thing feels a little incomplete…like something is missing.  It could be the some heart.  It could be a little more character development.  It could have been a more coherent story.  Or it could have been something as simple as some more action.  Its all a little light on action for an action movie.  Its all a little shallow.  And its all rather heartless.  As much as I want Mallory to kill those that betrayed her, I didn’t especially feel like I knew her character.  Aside from her being Gina Carano, I really didn’t have much of a reason to cheer for her.

Haywire is a great first step for Carano.  She shows that she has some real potential as an actress and even more so as an action star.  I really hope that we get to see more out of her soon.  Unfortunately for Haywire, it doesn’t serve as much more than Carano’s first step toward action stardom.