As a film lover... there are a couple things that run through my mind and it's typically the same as everyone else's; just heightened. I look at the title card... I see Steven Soderbergh (Director of Ocean's Eleven, Traffic, & Contagion) and a writer I've never heard of. Including an impressive large ensemble cast with an unknown (in most circles) as the lead. Then there the subject matter. Spy/Action. I take those elements and build expectations while trying to ignore the trailers which at times can be quiet spoiler-y. Did they meet them? Find out after the jump below.
Haywire is about a black ops soldier Mallory Kane (played by Gina Carano), seeking revenge on her questionable employer working for the United States Government after getting set up on her "last" job. I know this doesn't sound original because well... it isn't. But the way Soderbergh shoots certain scenes, and how somewhat frenetically he edits the film together gives this movie it's own visceral personality. This is Carano's first major role and choosing her to lead an A-list director's film wasn't a poor choice by any means. She dominates every scene with an intense combination of elegance and a right hook (among many others). She isn't given much dialogue but in the same way Ryan Gosling's character was in last year's Drive; expression and reaction goes a long way.
Throughout the entirety of it's 93 minute runtime; they filmed on location in a vast number of locations such as Barcelona, Dublin, & New Mexico but not being too grand about it. What I also enjoyed about Haywire was the return of one of Soderbergh's personal favorite composers, David Holmes from his Ocean's Trilogy. The music and style lends itself to a 70's low budget spy thriller which at times a little jarring than one would expect but it creates a mood that leaves you waiting for something to pop at any moment.
Another element to this film that was very much like a lesser version of Soderbergh's Contagion was a terrific supporting cast of big names such as Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Bill Paxton. All very much complimenting and highlighting Carano for being the only female. Also... she can (and very realistically) whip all their asses.
I'd recommend this for those who've enjoyed Soderbergh's movies in that past and as well as anyone willing to drop a matinee ticket on a highly stylized Lara Croft with a not-so-obscure Bourne-esque story-line. Plus this woman is absolutely stunning... take that into consideration.
Is this film "theater worthy"?
Nah. Though there isn't much available in January that can feed that unknown need that Haywire can provide but you can easily wait 3 months until this is out on video. Just be sure you don't miss it!
My final thoughts:
I liked it... quite a bit but I can see how it's not for everyone. The dialogue lacks and not in the artistic way. The amount of bodies stacking up in the end is a little absurd given the amount of freedom she apparently has but I'm just being picky for the sake of those who are in fact extremely nit picky. All in all... it was refreshing to see a woman take up arms and hold her own. If all goes well... one day she could play the perfect "Wonder Woman" or at least we can finally have a female version of Jason Statham.
Slamfist Rating: 7.5 out of 10