Being fight fans, my brother and I wanted to see Haywire because it starred former Strikeforce Women’s champion Gina Carano. We wanted to see how she would fare on the big screen opposite A-listers like Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum, in a movie helmed by award winning director Steven Soderbergh no less. Unfortunately, we were not able to catch it during its regular run so we settled for the video when it finally came out. After seeing it, I’m pretty sure it didn’t do Gina Carano’s acting career any favors.
Mallory Kane (Carano) is a former Marine who accepts contracts for “special” covert operations. She is known for being one of the best at her job. After her final job in Barcelona, where she and her team are contracted to extract a Chinese hostage from his captors, she is convinced by her former lover and boss Kenneth (McGregor) to take on one final case at the behest of Agent Coblenz (Michael Douglas) and their Spanish contact Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas). But the supposedly simple job becomes a true test for Mallory as she discovers a double cross with her as the target.
I don’t think that Steven Soderbergh was the right director to tap for this movie, which in all truth should have been a roller coaster of action from the first minute until the last. Soderbergh is better known for movies that take a lot of time to unfold, movies that make the audiences think, and movies that are highly charged in drama and dialogue, which was precisely what happened to this feature.
That is why instead of making the action sequences the highlight of the film, it focused more on a lot of talking that basically killed the climax of the movie. While the tension was escalating, Soderbergh would insert another flashback or another montage accentuated by scoring reminiscent of cheesy 1980s detective shows on TV, which grew quite irritating after a while. What was up with that anyway?
In the few action scenes, while the choreography was really good and left no doubt about Carano’s conditioning and excellent fighting techniques, the execution still felt like there was some key element missing. Perhaps, it was the awkward segues into the fight scenes or perhaps the seemingly numbered movements in the fight scenes, which was no doubt for the benefit and safety of the actors (since Gina is a real champion and could really hurt them). While the flow of the stunts were awesome, it seemed like Gina and the actors were not merely fighting but rather doing demonstrations to showcase Gina’s ability to kick ass. It also did not help that most of the scenes, not just the action sequences, were too long.
I think that the studios should have gotten Guy Richie to helm this movie. I had a feeling that the script was trying to be offbeat and nobody does offbeat action movie cooler than Guy (case in point Rock ‘n Rolla, Sherlock Holmes). Majority of this is because he doesn’t use Pink Panther background music in his montages.
As for Gina’s acting, it could still use some work because basically throughout the whole movie, she was wearing the same expression the entire time. Her lazy drawl and her monotone did not help endear her character to the audiences because she felt robotic. But this is understandable since it is her first time on screen. Perhaps with better material in the future, she could truly find her niche in the Hollywood scene. No doubt she already has the looks for it. I’m still not giving up on her just yet.
I think Haywire could have been loads better. With a powerhouse cast and studio support like this, and such a charismatic lead (well, on the cage, she is), it should have been better. But it wasn’t and I can’t help but feel that this is such a bummer.