Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Director Steven Soderbergh is on a roll. After directing the well-received medical thriller "Contagion", Soderbergh returns to direct this action-thriller about a double-crossed agent, Mallory Kane, who is played by Gina Carano. Freelance covert operative Mallory is hired out by her handler to various global entities to perform jobs that governments cannot authorize and heads of state would rather not know about. However, during a mission in Dublin, she meets Paul, played by a very dashing Michael Fassbender, who, instead of shedding his clothes in the bedroom, sheds his disguise and proceeds to mano-a-mano with Mallory, although she emerges the survivor. Now, fully aware that she has been double crossed, Mallory tries to makes her way back to the United States to exact her revenge.
It is refreshing to finally see a movie that is unpretentious about what it is; a straightforward revenge tale. There is no attempt by the script to assert plausibility or realism, such as how one woman can take down so many trained men so easily. Soderbergh has clearly struck gold with fighter Gina Carano, who is no acting veteran, yet manages to hold her own in this testosterone-laden movie. It is a treat to see A-listers like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum and Michael Douglas quaking in their boots at the mere mention of Carano's Mallory Kane persona in "Haywire". Dialogue and emotion-wise, Carano does not deliver much, but Soderbergh has managed to draw attention away from the problem by choreographing one fight scene after another with raw realism.
Yes, the choreography is the main attraction of the movie, shot with just the right amount of a rough-and-tumble, making the choreographed scenes look as if they were improvised on the spot. There is just enough heart-thumping moments to make you sit up and on the edge of your seat, but you will never be overly afraid for Carano. In fact, you will be rooting for her in every brawl, for whenever Carano hits the walls she does it with so much conviction, as per her nickname in the ring, that you actually feel the walls shaking. Now, other actresses who have attempted such roles, no matter how toned and buff they became, just look like pretenders.
Besides the finely choreographed action sequences, Soderbergh also knows to make a fine choice of locations and mobile filmic methods. Expect nothing new unlike the vertigo-inducing Burj Khalifa scene in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol", but enough so as to keep things exciting, such as the quick cuts and pans, the rooftop escapes, and the car chases in reverse gear. It is signature Soderbergh, and even the soundtrack in "Haywire" does not miss the beat. All the action is backgrounded with a generally chirpy but serious-when-it-needs-to-be tone set by composer David Holmes, whose choice of blues, jazz and techno music can be occasionally jarring.
In conclusion, "Haywire" is Soderbergh's venture into indie waters with his bet on untested talent Gina Carano and boy, does it pay off. For those who were wondering what Bond or Bourne would be like if they were women, "Haywire" is the answer. It is definitely one of the better movies to begin the year with, if not for the star-studded cast. Move aside, Angelina Jolie and Milla Jovovich, there is a new woman fighter in town.Cinema Online, 17 January 2012