Written by Lem Dobbs
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Why is the hallway all lime green all of a sudden?

Versatile director Steven Soderbergh has a cinematic talent and creative desire that he will work in almost any genre at any level of funding. Soderbergh also has a realistic view on his output, he knew he was in a creative funk at one point (and used one of his own films to help inspire him to greatness) and knows he will get jaded at film directed again, so is setting his eyes on becoming a painter. But before critics with even snootier voices begin tearing into his work, it’s still our time! Haywire is Soderbergh’s action spectacle, a femme fighter basher that gives us some great fights. Continuing Soderbergh’s trend of using nontraditional actors, MMA fighter Gina Carano making her major film debut (she was previously in the DTV flick Blood and Bone, was an American Gladiator as Crush, and is featured in the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha).

Oh, honey, that’s not how you apply foundation!

Opening with an on the run Mallory Kane meeting Aaron at a diner, Kane quickly ends up beating him up, as he’s assigned to take her in. Now in a stolen car, she relates her tale to her hostage Scott, letting us into her recent escapades in Barcelona and subsequent betrayal in Ireland. Though fleeing from every law enforcement branch in the country, she remains calm and collected while trying to evade her pursuers.

Haywire‘s greatest strength is the choreography, but unfortunately I’ve seen things that may Haywire look like a snooze in the park. Haywire does excel at showing just how brutal violence is, especially physical violence in close quarters. Mallory Kane battles several men in claustrophobic situations, either trapped or led to an isolated area. Kane doesn’t back down from the fights, either out of a sense of desperate survival or a sense of duty to track the one man who escaped the raid on a hostage situation.

I’m just gonna take a big smoke on my phallic symbol…

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) – Our heroine, former marine, and private military agent who goes on the run when she’s framed for murder and flagged as wanted. There is lots of looking and slightly squinting eyes by Gina, it is called acting. It’s probably even a method acting, under the great Franz von Lookensquint.
Aaron (Channing Tatum) – Fellow agent who also works for Mallory’s employer, is sent to go get her when she goes on the run.
Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) – Kane’s former husband and her employer, though she’s leaving his business.
Paul (Michael Fassbender) – British agent who is teamed with Mallory in Ireland…where’s she’s betrayed. Will turn out to not be a big fan of ladies’ thighs…
John Kane (Bill Paxton) – Kane’s father. The two aren’t close, he’s retired military and spends his time writing long military fiction. It is unknown if any of his books are about bughunts.
Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) – Spanish agent who doesn’t like Kane and her team playing in his pool. There is more going on than that, though…
Hi, yes, I recently bought your Automatic 2000 garage door opener, and I think there may be a problem…

Fall colors are in, I guess…

Mallory Kane’s skills earned her enough notoriety that she’s become the sole attraction to her former husband Kenneth’s private “security” business. Mallory sees Kenneth much like his business, stagnating and dependent on her. She’s through with him, both as a husband and as an employer.

It is importantly thematically that Gina Carano battles only male characters. Carano is the equal to these fighters, a real woman in a man’s world. In the same vein, it also gives the fights an extra air of danger in that a woman is having a full on street fight with the male characters. Usually, Hollywood will throw in a random evil female character for the female action sidekick to fight, just so things don’t look bad that a guy is fighting a girl. But that special treatment doesn’t belong in Haywire. This is a world where Mallory Kane is not only equal to the boys, she’s better than all of them. And when they conspire to try to take her down, she makes them pay.

Don’t tell Banderas that’s a blank wall, he thinks it’s the new Shrek flick!
Behind this little black dress I have another little black dress!

Even the people involved in behind the scenes negotiations and diplomacy are male – Alex Coblenz (Michael Douglas), who aids Kane only in the promise to clean things up after she’s taken everyone else down. The hostage is a man, the conspirators are all men. Kane has no living mother, but must connect with her father. A father she isn’t close to at the slightest, who doesn’t know what’s she’s capable of. His protestations that she’s not a cold blooded killer will get challenged internally when he witnesses her killing one of the men sent to kill her. In fact, the only other female roles are either as a waitress or as Banderas’s eye candy. There is no sisterhood, this is strictly a man’s world and a woman is kicking it apart.

I did enjoy the fights. I enjoyed far more the whole middle section where Kane is on the run and wandering across rooftops and through buildings and alleys as random men chase her. The music combines with the tense chase sequences and adds the excitement. We know that if one or two of them catch up with her she will have to fight them, but if too many catch up, there is no realistic way she will win and the film would get ridiculous. The first hour is filled with Kane being chased, from the beginning where she’s on the run to the actual tale of her going on the run. By the last half hour, things have changed. Now those that hunted her are the ones who are in trouble. Kane is striking from the shadows and picking them off.

More Star Wars prequels???
Chasing her? Her regretful past. Also the police, but they aren’t existential or anything.

Haywire is okay, I thought I would like it more than I did. The pacing throws off what could have been a greater film. There is a reason these revenge flicks tend to stray more towards constant action, and that’s because when you take breaks to do other things, time begins to drag. The middle section is the best part, the chase is suspenseful, and the fact the film goes downhill from that is regretful.

Though the title of Haywire seems to suggest someone goes crazy, in fact things begin to get more in order for Mallory Kane. She learns her ex is a dirtbag, she reconnects with her father, she orderly and individually tracks and takes down those responsible for her plight. Instead of being Haywire, the ducks are lining up. But I wanted the crazy, the ducks all over the place. Run amok, ducks!

A new Super Mario Bros movie with more pipes and more grey!
Black Friday Parking Wars, the Movie!
Braids, mother fucker!

Rated 6/10 (Post-it gone bad, Why not Dessert Assault?, diner of destiny, it’s easy when a computer program does all the work, bullets, fun day at the beach…)

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2 thoughts on “Haywire

  1. I thought Carano actually did a pretty good job with this being her first film. Could she use some acting and voice and diction classes? Yup, but I really enjoyed seeing a believable female action star. I sort of expected the male actors in the film to carry the picture but they seemed to mail it in a bit leaving Carano to carry the load.

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