Steven Soderbergh has made a variety of films, in all of the different genres. He is even credited with propelling the independent film movement of the 1990s with his Sundance Film Festival hit, Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989). He has also said he was retiring from moviemaking more than once, only to announce later that he was misquoted or “[insert other excuse here].” Soderbergh marks his long-career with his 25th film, Haywire, being released on January 20, 2012–starring real-life MMA fighter Gina Carano as, you guessed it, a special ops agent who does what she does best, fight.
Haywire had a sneak-preview premiere at the 2011 AFI FEST and was greeted with grand applause from the audience. The Q&A with Soderbergh and cast members, including Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender, made the crowd even more happy. This is because Haywire is a fun time at the movies, for those who enjoy a great B-movie, 1970s homage to cop shows, type of action-thriller. It also includes the Soderbergh touch stylistically, making it a film you should see twice to catch all of the technical devices employed. The story won’t win any awards, nor will the acting, and the tongue-in-cheek humor is more for the sake of the viewer than it is for the characters–Soderbergh does like to make his audience feel like they are in on the joke (remember Ocean’s Eleven?).
On the business side, Soderbergh does not necessarily need Haywire to be a success, he has had his share of pitfalls in the past, for example The Good German (2006) and Solaris (2002). His next projects, including Magic Mike later this year about male strippers are already en-route to distribution. Soderbergh has made a name for himself as a filmmaker, but the studio that is distributing his film, Relativity Media, has not…yet.
Relativity Media released their first film in 2010 after having been solely a producing partner on feature films prior to this time. The distribution arm of the Studio is new, and desperately needs a hit after the lack of success their BIG fall release provided. That film was of course Immortals, in case you have already forgotten. Previous releases by Relativity included Take Me Home Tonight, Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer, and Machine Gun Preacher. None of those three performed any better than Immortals. There was a glimmer of hope with Limitless, but Immortals was what they needed most of all. Relativity Media needs a big blockbuster, and quick. Haywire may be their ticket to seeing a profit, finally, and securing their name as a distributor who actually distributes movies that make money. If Haywire tanks, with a name like Steven Soderbergh attached and more than a handful of positive reviews, it may cast a dark cloud over Relativity’s head, making it the distributor you give your film to if you never want anyone to see it.
Read the review of Haywire here.
Clips from Haywire: