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Directed by Oscar winner* Steven Soderbergh (Contagion), this dynamic action-thriller introduces mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a black-ops agent for a government security contractor.
After freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, Mallory is double-crossed and left for dead – by someone in her own agency. Suddenly the target of assassins who know her every move, Mallory unleashes the fury of her fighting skills to uncover the truth and turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
Featuring Carano performing her own high-adrenaline stunts and an all-star cast including Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas, HAYWIRE is explosive movie entertainment.
Gentleman filmmaker Steven Soderbergh leads a pretty charmed professional life exploring themes, genres, and intensely personal subjects that capture his fancy any time the spirit moves him. Thanks largely to the huge success of the Ocean's series, he's earned A-list clout and pretty much carte blanche to follow the combination of whimsy or serious interest that has become his M.O. in alternating projects that are either for "them" (Hollywood capitalists) or strictly for him. Hot on the heels of Contagion, his deadly serious and terrifyingly authentic thriller from late 2011, Haywire is a different kind of exercise in genre and formal technique, but cut from the same Soderbergh cloth of enthusiasm and impeccable craftsmanship. Both movies also seem to bring together the for-me and for-them elements of his career, letting him follow a highbrow personal style while also creating terrific pieces of entertainment that are easily accessible to the wants of cinema sophisticates and lovers of thrills, action, and dramatic ingenuity alike. Haywire is certainly more fun than Contagion as an out-and-out action extravaganza, with a silly and largely superfluous plot thread wound around private covert intelligence operatives, the shadowy government entities that employ them, and the double-crosses that ensue when operations go wrong. Using a back-and-forth narrative structure that shifts time and scrambles events as they unfold, Haywire is primarily a showcase for Gina Carano, a superstar in the world of mixed martial arts. Carano makes her screen debut as Mallory Kane with understated hotness and a constant barrage of fighting stunt work that reduces almost every high-profile costar into a mass of broken bones. The series of operations she instigates or participates in take her on a stylishly globetrotting adventure to Spain, Ireland, New Mexico, rural New York State, and points in between. She stumbles into and wriggles out of danger everywhere she goes with aplomb, kicks, punches, strangulations, and gunshots that are spectacularly choreographed and do not rely on flash cuts or the kind of utterly confusing shifts in spatial relationships that mark most run-of-the-mill action sequences. Though the substance is largely beside the point--motivations and resolutions are not nearly as important as the polished, methodical, or frenzied bouts of kinetic energy--there is some semblance of comprehension conveyed in the spare script by Soderbergh's screenwriter collaborator Lem Dobbs. Carano is only able to strike a few notes in her acting ability between kicks, leg strangulations, and other acrobatic acts of violence. Fortunately the rest of the ensemble cast make the most of their supporting roles by lending winking humor and reliable nuance to parts that might otherwise seem like stock caricatures. Ewan McGregor is charmingly devious as the private black-ops chief who is Mallory's boss and also her ex-boyfriend. Michael Fassbender plays an MI6 agent who proves no match for Mallory's Special Forces training; ditto Channing Tatum, who also underestimates Mallory's prowess as a lover and a fighter. Antonio Banderas is a mysterious go-between who plays a crucial role in the fiasco that comes to be known simply as "Barcelona," and Michael Douglas stands tall as an exasperated government pencil pusher who resents yet can't operate without the help of private-sector security and intelligence operatives. In spite of her inexperience, Carano holds the screen with her smoldering charisma as Soderbergh pours on the tense or languorous action with wit and skill. Haywire may be a trifle in the continuing experimental career of Steven Soderbergh, but it is a delicious confection nonetheless. --Ted Fry
- Digital Copy of HAYWIRE
- Gina Carano: From MMA to HAYWIRE
- The Men of HAYWIRE
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From the opening scene in an upstate New York diner, your eyes are fixed on Carano. She sits at her table quietly, but there's a trapped animal watchfulness about her and you're instantly put on guard. And yet when the sitch goes sour, it happens in a shocking heartbeat and you're caught unprepared anyway (unless, of course, you've seen the trailer). Carano plays Mallory Kane, an exceptional employee in a private contracting company that takes on all manner of dirty ops work. The narrative doesn't follow a linear track. It shifts back and forth from the present and the past. As the film opens, Mallory Kane already has a bullseye on her.
Mallory must work thru a labyrinthine puzzle to figure out all them what betrayed her. It all goes back to an eventful rescue mission executed by Mallory and her fellow agents in Barcelona - of which entirety we see in flashback. But all this is a superfluous info dump. It's the film's MacGuffin. Somewhere along the way, someone high up in the cloak & dagger community made the decision to sanction Mallory Kane. This then allows us to marvel at Carano as her resourceful, lethally capable character travels the globe bent on exacting revenge. From Barcelona to Dublin to New Mexico to upstate New York, she leaves a trail of busted up bodies.
Even when Soderbergh is slumming, his stuff registers high on the watchability scale. HAYWIRE is his spin on the action thriller, and it's a well-crafted one. It's not just one fight after another. It takes its time in unfolding its narrative beats (okay, there are some slow spots). But HAYWIRE overall feels like the product of a master filmmaker letting his hair down and having fun but not neglecting his due diligence. It's obvious that Soderbergh set out to make Carano a star. HAYWIRE showcases her pretty brilliantly. Carano isn't half bad at the acting bits, and she is most definitely eye candy. But recognizing that she's a fledgling actress, Soderbergh populates her film with big Hollywood names. We're treated to hard-hitting scenes in which Carano opens a mean can on hunks like Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and a slightly weasely Ewan Macgregor. The cool thing is these actors - along with Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas - seem to not mind playing second fiddle to a rookie actress. The performances are universally solid, with the biggest surprise being that Gina Carano does hold her own in their company. There's something about her, about her attitude, a sense that she's working hard but still not taking herself seriously. And when she smiles that flirty smile, there's a feel of wheels spinning internally. I believed that her character really was that intelligent and resourceful and undeterred. I already knew she was sexy.
Soderbergh plonks her in diverse settings which showcase her versatility. We see her glamorous side as she partners Michael Fassbender's dashing MI6 operative on a work night in Dublin. We see her down and dirty as she gets to the business of eluding her assassins and dishing out payback. I didn't doubt that Gina Carano would be able to sell her action scenes; she's photogenic that way, too. Her fights are nasty affairs, no holds barred and sometimes not pretty to look at. Carano is explosive and marvelously athletic, and when she hits a body you don't doubt that her blows have a serious impact. And, to make it even more realistic, Carano also absorbs her share of punishment, lots of it. Soderbergh opted to not have a music score framing these no-quarter-given scraps. All you hear are the desperate grunts and harsh breathing and the thuds of striking feet and fists. It makes it even more believable.
I heard someone mention this already, and, in fact, a cop in the film even refers to Carano by that name. But if the role of Wonder Woman is still being cast, why not Gina Carano? She's got the goods. And she probably won't even need that lasso of truth to whup on them villains. In any case, Gina Carano needs to do more films.
Plot is nothing special, though I will give credit for not making everything crystal clear through heavy handed exposition. The viewer is expected to be competent enough to follow the plot though jumps in time/place as well as a double cross or two.
Gina Carano is a fine lead for this movie. Her physical abilities are incredible and obviously the reason she was cast. Her acting tends to be pretty subdued, but in all fairness she is paired up with folk like Michael Fassbender, Ewan Macgregor, Michael Douglas and other long time actors and she holds her own ok.
If you want to watch a series of great fights (including ass kickings of some pretty big stars) held together by the glue of an impressive cast and a better-than-average spy thriller plot, look no further.
amazing & incredibly tight fight scenes set this apart from most action movies, during all of her fights you get the sense that she's acutely aware of every inch of her body & always in total control.
midway through the movie there's a great fight scene, and where most movies would fall back on in your face music... you get nothing but combat sounds during a life and death struggle.
her acting is great, especially for someone who's so junior... she doesn't mumble or stammer through her lines... her self-confidence really shines through.
my only complaint? WHY IS THIS MOVIE SO CHEAP?! it's insulting to the production, but awesome since you don't really have to think twice about owning this great action flick.
I first saw this movie on standard definition on a dvd I borrowed from the public library. I had never heard of Gina Carano before. She is the second truly female heroine I've ever seen in a motion picture. The first is Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the 1979 science fiction movie Alien. Even though Gina Carano is no Bruce Lee, this girl can kick some serious ass. She is beautiful, sexy and equal to any man enemy in this movie. For Gina Carano first feature film, this movie has a lot big stars in it. Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas to name a few. Big time movie director Steven Soderbergh as director. This is not the Godfather, but is a great action movie. The guys will like it because Gina Carano is drop dead gorgeous. Girlfriend can kick some serious ass.