Synopsis: A dynamic action-thriller, HAYWIRE tells the story of Mallory Kane, a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious â and dangerous â trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes sheâll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
Release Date: January 20, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Mallory Kane (real-life MMA fighter Gina Carano) is a highly-trained operative that has been betrayed by her company, and her ex-lover/employer Kenneth (Ewan McGregor). On the run, and set on discovering why she is now a wanted woman, viewers find Gina in an Upstate New York diner, where she will soon take a young man and his car on the ride of their lives–while telling him the backstory viewers need to know in order to place Gina in the present. Haywire moves through time in order to piece together the plot against Gina. It takes viewers to Barcelona, where it all began, and a variety of other locales. Along the way characters are introduced that have a part in the conspiracy, Michael Douglas’ government man-in-charge Coblenz, Antonio Banderas’ suspicious Rodrigo, fellow assassin Paul (Michael Fassbender) who has issues with killing a woman–he should not in this case as he is no match for Mallory; and then there is Aaron, the nice-guy whom Mallory likes and he likes her as well–an ally, perhaps? Or not.
Haywire is full of action, with a story full of pitfalls. The enjoyable nature of the film solely relies on the great action sequences and Steven Soderbergh’s knack for creating highly paced exploits and fancy camera techniques with Cinematographer Peter Andrews. The numerous scenes where the production design is used as a mechanism to play hide-and-seek with character movement is outstanding. With the camera partially shielding the action, be it behind a bookcase or around a corner, the viewer’s eye becomes spy-like, listening in and grasping to see the entirety of what is happening. During the fast-paced action sequences you will notice the changing of textures, the different tones of light, varying lenses, and all-around dizzying arrays of camera angles as Mallory runs through the streets. Haywire is as stylistic as Steven Soderbergh can get, combined with a story that is something out of exploitative B-movie heaven. It will not fail to engage, please, incite laughter, and inevitably make any moviegoer happy they went to the movies.
Steven Soderbergh began his trend of hiring non-actors to play the lead role in one of his films with Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience his casting choice made sense for the adult film star Grey as she was playing the part of a Manhattan call-girl (not to say adult film stars are call girls, but the two careers have similarities in one specific area). For Haywire Soderbergh needed a tough girl, one who could take on a man and drop him to his feet without breaking a nail or a sweat. He found the perfect woman in Gina Carano, a female mixed martial arts fighter; viewers may remember her as Gladiator Crush on “American Gladiators” (2008). While Gina’s character Mallory gleefully takes down one man after enough in Haywire, Michael Fassbender’s Paul and Channing Tatum’s Aaron included, what she provides in action awesomeness she lacks equally in dialogue-driven performance.
Carano’s Mallory Kane is not a complex character, and therefore Carano’s seemingly flat performance when speaking any line of dialogue is not exactly off-putting. The entire film has a very B-movie exploitative quality to it and high caliber acting is not necessary in such films. The problem is in the continuance of such poor acting on her part. The one-liners she spews out when threatening her opponents become more and more foolish as time goes on; Ewan McGregor’s Kenneth adds to the preposterousness with his own. The casting of Bill Paxton as John Kane, Mallory’s father, appears to be a tongue-in-cheek decision on Soderbergh’s part, being that Paxton is an actor synonymous with flat delivery–this choice makes Mallory’s lack of personality plausible as genetics play a part and so it defends her character being without emotional depth. The additions of exceptional actors like Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas don’t help the performances overall as their parts are small, if not altogether forgettable. McGregor does well as the weasel Kenneth, but even he is playing everything a bit too showy to be taken serious. Haywire is not a movie that stands on the performances of its actors expect in the case of their ability to fight, and fight well. In that respect Carano’s Mallory Kane is exceptional; if you can tune out her dialogue you’ll never find yourself rolling your eyes.
A movie with female MMA star Gina Carano that did not pack a punch on the action, as well as a great head clenching between the legs (that must have hurt Michael Fassbender), would be a travesty of epic proportions. Well, Steven Soderbergh’s Hayiwre is full of action; in fact, it is the action that propels the film forward and keeps the audiences attention in tact as the story itself is pitted with holes and confusing explanations. Carano’s Mallory Kane is one tough woman, and the first scene of the film proves it when she beats the hell out of Channing Tatum’s Aaron (again, that must have hurt Channing). The action does not stop with Mallory’s direct assaults on individuals. The film is full of long chases through the streets of cities like Barcelona. Soderbergh’s love of manipulating shots in seemingly endless long-takes is in full-force in Haywire, and the scenes are the better for it, and exhilarating to watch. Included is a catchy 70s cop-show style score that keeps a pleasant rhythm tinged with exploitative nostalgia. There are also the needed cops and robbers type showdowns, with guns blaring and people dodging death. Haywire is one-part kitschy B-movie and two-parts nearly kitschy action flick (a fine combination, indeed).
A favorite choice for the action scenes, the ones between Mallory and one-opponent, is the complete lack of non-diegetic sound and/or music. When she fights, she is fighting, and the reality of the scenes is set in motion because there is nothing else to distract the viewer. You get to hear the crushing of body parts, the breaking of items located in the near surroundings and there will be unforgettable sounds you hear–like Channing Tatum’s head hitting the edge of a diner bar stool…OUCH! These scenes also come across as non-choreographed, even if they were. The reality of Carano’s ability to actually perform the stunts, actually fight for real and not as a pretty Hollywood actress playing bad-ass for fun, adds to the excitement of the fight scenes in
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
- Producer(s): Lem Dobbs
- Screenwriter(s): Channing Tatum (Aaron)Michael Fassbender (Paul)Gina Carano (Mallory Kane)
- Story: Ewan McGregor (Kenneth)
- Cast: Michael Douglas (Coblenz)Bill Paxton (John Kane)Antonio Banderas () Peter AndrewsHoward Cummings
- Cinematographer: David Holmes
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA