Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum
Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins
Due Out: May 1, 2012
PLOT: A private-company assassin (Carano) hunts down those who sold her out after a failed mission in Barcelona.
WHO’S IT FOR? Those who are looking to see what was the first great film of 2012, and/or miss the type of “real human being, real hero” excitement that made last fall’s Drive so special. Don’t miss Haywire if you miss bad-ass cinema.
Haywire follows the rule that every movie with hand-to-hand combat should. There’s no handheld cameras during fights, the shots aren’t too zoomed in to defeat a clear shot, the takes are as long as possible, and it looks like stunt performers are hardly used. With their fluidity, these explosive fight scenes maintain their thrill until their sudden conclusions. With just one film, Soderbergh has embarrassed the dizzying action of an entire Bourne trilogy.
Just as porn star Sasha Grey displays a naturalness to Soderbergh’s escort story The Girlfriend Experience, ass-kicking is instinctive for MMA fighter Carano. We especially get this sense with her notably imperfect on-screen performance, which has her saying only a couple of lines at one time, and with a slightly robotic concentration. She looks and sounds more like an actual mercenary than a movie star simply dressed as one. These attributes remind us we are looking at the real deal. And in this boy’s town of marquee stars, she’s never objectified. She’s just doing what she does best.
With Soderbergh having already won the Oscar for “Best Director” (in a year in which he was twice nominated) and fully exercised both mainstream and arthouse bones, Haywire is not concerned with being perfect in the spectrum of either cinematic classes, though it reaches out equally to both. The story of Haywire, however intricate its backstabbing scheme may be, doesn’t have much subtext to recognize the film as arthouse, despite the presence of dynamic color tints and montages. Yet on the other side of the bridge, the invigorating fight sequences do not steer the course of Haywire, something that will surely surprise multiplex visitors with pure expectations of a female Jason Statham flick.
What makes Haywire so bad-ass is its attitude. It fulfills everyone’s desire for new action, while having its own fun. How else to explain McGregor’s haircut, or Banderas’ last line of the film? With its intelligence always one step ahead, Haywire revels in punching movie stars in the face, and then surprising audience members with an imperfect hero who never has assumed immortality. Haywire gets plenty of its own kicks jolting audience members with reality.
As revealed in a recent interview with IndieWire, Soderbergh seems to be bothered (by unwarranted humility) that he still isn’t doing anything new. Isolated in his own cinematic fruitful territory, he seems to have forgotten something. As represented in his many knockout fight scenes in the victorious Haywire, it’s not a matter of who hits first – it’s who kicks the most ass.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
Gina Carano in Training
The Men of Haywire
1080p High Definition
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English and Spanish Subtitles