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Review: Haywire

Jan. 19, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: After being double-crossed on a routine assignment, Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), a black-ops contractor, finds herself on the run, and hunted by her former colleagues, who are under to control of her ex-boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) and the shadowy Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas).

REVIEW: HAYWIRE is the ultimate in stripped-down, balls-to-the-wall action. In his first (but hopefully not last- assuming the retirement rumors arent true) time at the helm of an action-flick, director Steven Soderbergh, rather than go big, scales HAYWIRE back to the point that its very much a companion piece to his earlier revenge drama THE LIMEY- with writer Lem Dobbs notably having penned both. Like that earlier film, HAYWIRE centers on a protagonists thats so cold as to almost be unknowable, yet one with obvious cracks in her armor, suggesting a far more fragile human being under the icy exterior than youd assume.


Similar to THE LIMEY, HAYWIRE is a revenge story, although the only one being avenged here is Mallory herself, whos betrayed by her weaselly boss McGregor when he starts to think Kanes becoming a little too capable and independent. He sends her on a mission to Dublin, where, unbeknownst to Kane, an Irish operative (Michael Fassbender in a smallish, but fun part) has been instructed to take her out. This leads to a savage brawl, one of about half-a-dozen featured in the film that absolutely destroys any hand-to-hand fight Ive seen in a US action film in years.

It helps that Carano, being the second-highest ranked female UFC fighter, is physically more than a match for any of her male co-stars. This is in sharp contrast to something like COLOMBIANA, where were supposed to believe the ninety-pound Zoe Saldana can physically challenge legions of burly henchmen. Carano, being muscular but still sexy, uses whatever she has to against her opponents- be it a coke bottle, a wall to launch herself off of, or anything else.

The best fight in the film happens early- in a clip thats already been widely circulated on the net where Mallory faces off with a fellow operative (Channing Tatum) with whom she has a history. The two of them go absolutely hog wild on each other, with him starting off the fight by throwing a hot cup of coffee in her face. Tatum- who Ive always felt was a guy that genuinely seems like hes trying to improve in each movie, works well physically opposite Carano, and really seems like the only one with a shot of taking her down.


As an actress, Carano does well, although its a pretty action-heavy part, with little in the way of emoting. Many have compared her performance here to Sasha Greys in THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, and like that, this is a tailored part- but one thats tailored beautifully.

The supporting cast, including heavyweights Antonio Banderas, McGregor, and Michael Douglas is strong. Douglas in particular shines in a smallish role as a shadowy government puppet master, who allegiances are ambiguous. I also really liked Bill Paxton as Mallorys ex-Marine father, whos more than a little horrified towards the end once he realizes what a killing machine his little girl has turned into. Soderbergh also works in a little comic relief courtesy of Michael Angarano, as a college kid who makes the mistake of intervening in the early fight between Carano and Tatum, and as a result gets taken on a terrifying ride by Carano.

Behind the camera, Soderbergh, who seems to be in the midst of a major comeback between this and CONTAGION, keeps things going at a relentless pace. Despite this, Soderbergh never goes overboard, especially in regards to the sound mix, with HAYWIRE being a particularly quiet action flick. The Lalo Schifrin style score by David Holmes beautifully complements the action, although, in a wise move, Soderbergh immediately cuts the score anytime Carano starts fighting. Also dont expect any exaggerated sounds in the foley work during the action scenes. Soderbergh takes a naturalistic approach. For me, this is a BIG plus.

I really had a blast with HAYWIRE, and seeing it makes me really sad that Soderbergh ended up dropping out of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E, as Ive no doubt he would have made an excellent film. That said, we still have HAYWIRE to see how he approaches action, and its obvious that its a genre that fits Soderbergh like a glove.

Source: JoBlo.com

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4:20AM on 04/30/2012

Very underwhelming

Well I just cought Haywire and I have to say that this is by NO MEANS a 9/10 movie! The script and the plot are totally cliched and a lot of times nonsensical. The action scenes are too few and far between and the fights, although expertly shot and pretty realistic, are over way too quickly. One gunfight towards the end of the movie was very badly shot and edited, I mean the camera was so far away from the action, that they might as well have filmed it from the International Space Station...
Well I just cought Haywire and I have to say that this is by NO MEANS a 9/10 movie! The script and the plot are totally cliched and a lot of times nonsensical. The action scenes are too few and far between and the fights, although expertly shot and pretty realistic, are over way too quickly. One gunfight towards the end of the movie was very badly shot and edited, I mean the camera was so far away from the action, that they might as well have filmed it from the International Space Station... Also, what was up with the almost complete lack of a soundtrack? Bottom line: as a thriller it failed to thrill me and for an action movie, it didn't have that much action in it. I was VERY disappointed and underwhelmed. For me it's a 4/10 or a 5/10, at best...
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10:59AM on 01/19/2012
I still cannot get over that cast, lotta popular names in there. Glad this one seems more well done than Colombiana since I had to turn it off after 30 mins because of how horrible & unbelievable it was.
I still cannot get over that cast, lotta popular names in there. Glad this one seems more well done than Colombiana since I had to turn it off after 30 mins because of how horrible & unbelievable it was.
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11:07AM on 01/19/2012
I watched the whole thing and trust me, you did good, it didn't get any better...
I watched the whole thing and trust me, you did good, it didn't get any better...
9:12AM on 01/19/2012
This is one of the elements that made COLLATERAL so incredible...realism!
This is one of the elements that made COLLATERAL so incredible...realism!
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7:42PM on 01/22/2012

Trash

Unfortunately, I wanted to see this movie. Action packed? hardly. Story, boring. Definitely could have used more action and some acting lessons for Carano. Great eye candy and good fight scenes when they were there. The movie just kind of ended without really paying off in any way. I should have watched Underworld today in stead. UNSATISFIED.
Unfortunately, I wanted to see this movie. Action packed? hardly. Story, boring. Definitely could have used more action and some acting lessons for Carano. Great eye candy and good fight scenes when they were there. The movie just kind of ended without really paying off in any way. I should have watched Underworld today in stead. UNSATISFIED.
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10:06AM on 01/19/2012
I saw this at a preview screening, I was excited for a number of reasons. The few fight scenes were pretty raw, but that was about it. Overall I was pretty disappointed.
I saw this at a preview screening, I was excited for a number of reasons. The few fight scenes were pretty raw, but that was about it. Overall I was pretty disappointed.
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9:02AM on 01/19/2012

GOOD!

This movie had me the moment I saw the Channing Tatum fight. so brutal, but so well done. I am so in
This movie had me the moment I saw the Channing Tatum fight. so brutal, but so well done. I am so in
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1:36PM on 01/19/2012
The trailer was particularly lame, so I wasn't really interested. now I'll give it a run. If for no other reason than to encourage Hollywood to stop neutering action movies.
The trailer was particularly lame, so I wasn't really interested. now I'll give it a run. If for no other reason than to encourage Hollywood to stop neutering action movies.
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9:07AM on 01/19/2012

Looks great...

For a January release this looks phenomenal and Next week we get Liam Neeson kicking ass.
For a January release this looks phenomenal and Next week we get Liam Neeson kicking ass.
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4:15PM on 01/19/2012
I'm glad to hear that this is good. I wasn't a fan of Contagion though, it was well done and everything but it just felt like I was watching a documentary on disease rather than a movie... but maybe that's just me.
I'm glad to hear that this is good. I wasn't a fan of Contagion though, it was well done and everything but it just felt like I was watching a documentary on disease rather than a movie... but maybe that's just me.
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11:42AM on 01/19/2012

MMA

Great review, movie looks awesome! looking forward to checking it out. Gina doesn't fight in the UFC. Second highest ranked female fighter in MMA. UFC is to MMA like NHL is to hockey. So the sport is MMA and she fights out of the Strikeforce company. sorry if I come off snotty just giving an fyi
Great review, movie looks awesome! looking forward to checking it out. Gina doesn't fight in the UFC. Second highest ranked female fighter in MMA. UFC is to MMA like NHL is to hockey. So the sport is MMA and she fights out of the Strikeforce company. sorry if I come off snotty just giving an fyi
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12:28PM on 01/19/2012
she isnt a ranked fighter anymore...and she isnt second anything cris cyborg just got dumped for steroid abuse
she isnt a ranked fighter anymore...and she isnt second anything cris cyborg just got dumped for steroid abuse
11:33AM on 01/19/2012
i'm glad to hear that people like this movie. i've liked gina carano ever since i saw her in the american gladiators relaunch a few years back. i was hoping that someone would spot her and give a shot at a flick.
i'm glad to hear that people like this movie. i've liked gina carano ever since i saw her in the american gladiators relaunch a few years back. i was hoping that someone would spot her and give a shot at a flick.
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11:06AM on 01/19/2012
After some stinkers Soderbergh is back and with Contagion he is on a roll! I hope he still finds the director's chair comfortable for a few years more...
After some stinkers Soderbergh is back and with Contagion he is on a roll! I hope he still finds the director's chair comfortable for a few years more...
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9:15AM on 01/19/2012

Bill Paxton!

How did I miss that the Pax was in this?! I'm stoked. I was so thrilled to see a 9 rating. This is one of my most anticipated movies this year.
How did I miss that the Pax was in this?! I'm stoked. I was so thrilled to see a 9 rating. This is one of my most anticipated movies this year.
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5:51PM on 01/19/2012
I saw a special sneak screening of this movie and I can't say that I was too impress by it. Action packed? Sure. But not much in terms of story and the action really isn't any good. Not to say that I thought it was THAT bad either. Just another run of the mill action movie that we've all seen hundreds of times already. And I think that in those hundreds of times we've seen this type of movie a lot of other ones are better than this one.
But hey, I'm just not a fan of those action sequences
I saw a special sneak screening of this movie and I can't say that I was too impress by it. Action packed? Sure. But not much in terms of story and the action really isn't any good. Not to say that I thought it was THAT bad either. Just another run of the mill action movie that we've all seen hundreds of times already. And I think that in those hundreds of times we've seen this type of movie a lot of other ones are better than this one.
But hey, I'm just not a fan of those action sequences with super fast cuts and close ups and bad editing.
I give this movie a 5/10
P.S. Carano isn't a really good actor. And some will say, well Schwarzenegger and Stallone weren't the best actors either blablabla. But they, at least, had charisma!
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2:24AM on 01/20/2012
HAYWIRE!!!!!!!!!
HAYWIRE!!!!!!!!!
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