Review of Haywire


Movie Review: "Haywire" --

Rating: R
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: January 20, 2012
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Genre: Action and Thriller
Rating: 3 out of 5

"Haywire" is a classic tale of spies and criminals set against stunning backdrops, but this time, the leading lady is a bona fide action star in her own right. Starring Gina Carano, a world-class mixed martial artist, the movie is an unforgettable action experience.

The story centers on Mallory Kane (Carano), a government agent who is the unwitting victim of a vast scheme and double-crossing maneuver. After she is tipped off to the forces that are operating behind the scenes, Kane sets out to deliver much-needed payback. As the movie follows her through the present, a series of flashbacks shows audiences the back story of Kane's career and love gone wrong. The majority of the movie, which has a predictable and lightweight plot, follows the leading lady as she fights her way to justice.

Gina Carano is the unexpected highlight of "Haywire." The mixed martial artist-and now, actress-shines as the ultra-serious agent. Audiences will delight to see a female lead who can outshine a full cast of action heroes, both in action sequences and emotional scenes. With her masterful emotional control, Carano displays considerable potential to be the next great action star in a field dominated largely by men. Her fight scenes are completely believable, and she brings her own tough-as-nails touch to the role of Mallory Kane. In "Haywire," Carano is a breath of fresh air who is sure to add interest to the action movie landscape.

A star-studded cast delivers an outstanding performance and no short supply of eye candy. Audiences will delight to see Carano beat the living daylights out of Channing Tatum, who is better known for his roles in over-the-top romantic comedies. Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor receive similar treatment. Other famous names that splash across the screen include Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas and Bill Paxton. Each actor delivers a standout performance. Even without Carano in the leading role, "Haywire" would be very likely to succeed based on star power alone. As it is, though, the supporting actors set the stage while Carano proceeds to drop kick her way through the film. The result is highly entertaining and unexpectedly delightful.

Like many action movies, "Haywire" is light on plot and heavy on high-energy sequences. Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh has created a smooth, fast film that is sure to please audiences looking for a touch of excitement. Better known for "Traffic" and the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise, he brings an excellent eye for detail to "Haywire." As a result, the fight scenes are perfectly choreographed and filmed with an artistic sensibility that adds a touch of beauty. Soderbergh brings the same eye to the chase scenes, which are remarkably pleasing and visually stimulating.

The film uses stunning settings from around the world to good effect, which adds an element of worldliness that the actors cannot convey on their own. Dublin, in particular, is an excellent setting for an exciting chase scene that will leave audiences wide-eyed with wonder. The plot doesn't regard the beautiful international cities as mere backdrops; instead, they are worked directly into the script for maximum effectiveness.

"Haywire" has everything in place: excellent cast, genuine action and stunning locations, but it never manages to get completely off of the ground. Although the cast is likeable and talented, they do not have a substantial enough script to truly develop their characters. The plot is interesting but not surprising. The emotional moments feel stilted at times, and audiences may long for an action sequence to breathe life back into the movie. With such an experienced team, the movie could have had a bigger presence.

However, the shortcomings are easy to ignore in the face of the overwhelming beauty of both the actors and the camera work. The scene transitions are smooth and undeniably beautiful, lending a touch of elegance to the film-an unexpected treat in a bona fide action movie. The story moves quickly and audiences are not required to do any work to understand the action. The strong direction and editing serve to support Carano's breakout performance; as a result, audiences will not be able to stop watching the 29-year-old actress, who is certain to see more action in the future.

Overall, "Haywire" is an overwhelmingly enjoyable film, particularly for viewers who are not interested in dissecting the underlying themes and complexities of the spy thriller. The actors deliver excellent performances and the movie is easy to watch, promising an entertaining evening.