Sunday, January 15, 2012

“Haywire” – Movie Review



This weekend in my movie class, we had another bonus screening – this time, we saw Director Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller “Haywire”, with a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas in small supporting roles – but the real star is newcomer Gina Carano. 



When a special ops agent is betrayed by the agency that employs her, she must clear her name while seeking revenge on those who sold her out. 



Mallory Kane (Carano) is an elite member of an international organization hired by various governments around the world to perform dangerous covert missions that the heads of state cannot publicly condone.  After she and her team rescue a kidnapped Chinese journalist, Mallory decides that this will be her last mission and decides to quit the organization.  But her boss and former boyfriend Kenneth (McGregor) convinces her to go on one last mission – one so easy, he says it’s like a paid vacation. 

During her final mission, however, Mallory learns that she has been marked for death by her own employer and narrowly escapes being killed by one of her fellow agents.  Who has turned against her and why is not immediately clear, but Mallory now sets out to discover the truth – all the while evading arrest, trying to set the record straight about her and saving her father (Paxton) from those who would do her harm. 

Coblenz (Douglas), a U.S. government official who had hired Mallory’s team to free the Chinese hostage, finds out about her predicament and reaches out to her to offer assistance of some kind because he doesn’t believe the rumors being spread about her.  As pieces of the puzzle slowly start to fall into place, Mallory suddenly suspects Rodrigo (Banderas) as a key player in the plot to have her taken out.  But can Mallory somehow manage to get the full story on her agency’s betrayal and exact revenge on those who would have her dead? 



If you don’t recall ever seeing any movies or TV shows featuring Gina Carano, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone -- “Haywire” is not only her first movie, it’s her first acting job, period.  Known mainly as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, her fight scenes in this movie are among the best things about “Haywire”.  While the action scenes alone are worth recommending this movie, I will do so with some caveats, however.  I found the story to be somewhat hard to follow at the beginning in the sense that you really had to hang in there for a good portion of the movie to get your footing and understand exactly what is going on here.  Also, it doesn’t help that there are a number of bad guys introduced early on and it can be a bit daunting keeping all of them clear. 

Carano appears quite capable of wresting the female action heroine character from the clutches of Angelina Jolie, who seems to have held a monopoly on those types of movies for the past few years.  Comparisons such as a female Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal (at least before he gained so much weight that he can no longer lift his leg to kick) are both obvious and inevitable.  That said, however, I think that this comparisons will probably be favorable – at least based on what we can see in “Haywire”. 

At only an hour and a half in length, the movie in no way leaves you feeling that you didn’t get maximum entertainment value because of its pace and all of the action scenes shoehorned in every so often.  The ending, while humorous, was a little abrupt and hints that there may be a sequel if the movie proves to be a hit – which I suspect will likely be the case.    “Haywire” will be certain to attract a substantial male audience (especially young males), but whether or not women will be interested in seeing it is another matter altogether. 



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