2012 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…
Some people are upset over the fact the first time Jackie Chan and Jet Li meet on screen has to be a Western film with a white kid as the main character. I will admit that at first I was skeptical, especially with Michael Angarano’s more than passing resemblance to Shia LaBeouf and how much I hated Transformers. From the surface, this film looks like another example of weak Asian men needing a White Man’s giant magic rod to save the day and show the Asian woman love. The film doesn’t follow that convention, and even ends up not being a terrible film. It’s not a great film, but it could have been much, much worse. Instead, it’s a love letter to old-school kung fu films, even if it isn’t expertly executed. References to older films permeate the movie and help speak to the fans in the audience while giving newer martial arts watchers nuggets to go seek out for themselves. Jason doesn’t become a kung fu master overnight, he gets regularly beat up even though he’s training.
Jackie Chan and Jet Li have both been around for a long time, time in which any number of Chinese film companies could have made a movie with both of them. Heck, Jackie Chan even has his own production company, and still nothing with Jet Li! Maybe the whining should be redirected towards those that did nothing instead of directed at those that finally did got around to it but failed to make whatever dream movie you wanted.