Haywire (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/01/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Gina Carano makes a stunning action debut and Haywire is undoubtedly worth seeing for the terrific fight sequences, but it's badly let down by a paper-thin plot and a script that, perhaps wisely, chooses not to test Carano's acting abilities.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Haywire stars Mixed Martial Arts fighter Gina Carano as ex-Marine Mallory Kane, who's seeking revenge on her employer (Ewan McGregor as Kenneth) and his associates (including Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum) after being betrayed and set up during a mission. After a brutal fight in a cafe, a wounded Mallory escapes in a car belonging to a hapless bystander (Michael Angarano), who helps patch up her arm as she tells him her story.

Flashback sequences reveal both an initial mission to rescue a Chinese journalist and a subsequent mission where Mallory has to pose as the wife of a fellow agent (Michael Fassbender). Meanwhile, Mallory heads for a rendezvous with her father (Bill Paxton), knowing that Kenneth and company will be looking for her there.

The Good
It is impossible to watch Haywire without being reminded of Cynthia Rothrock, the kick-ass star of many a straight-to-video action movie in the 80s and 90s. As such, the genuinely thrilling fight scenes are brilliantly directed, with Soderbergh shooting them in medium shot so you can see every punch and kick, as opposed to Ridley Scott-style over-edited punch-ups where you can't tell what's going on.

It doesn't hurt that Carano is drop-dead gorgeous to boot and she makes a genuinely stunning debut here, though it's fair to say that the script doesn't exactly stretch her acting abilities and she has minimal dialogue throughout. That said, it's fun to see the likes of McGregor, Tatum and Fassbender getting beaten up by a girl and there's also a terrific score from Soderbergh collaborator David Holmes.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the paper-thin plot is distinctly unsatisfying, especially compared to something like The Bourne Identity (Haywire is clearly striving for a 'female Bourne' vibe throughout). What makes it worse is that you never get a sense that Mallory is in control of her situation – she only reacts in the moment rather than actually having a plan or devising her own solutions; for example, even after she realises that she's been set up, she rather stupidly turns her back on someone she knows has double-crossed her – you wouldn't catch Bourne doing that.

Worth seeing?
Haywire is unquestionably worth seeing for what are likely to be the best fight sequences you'll see all year – it's just a shame that the script and plot aren't up to the same standard.

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Content updated: 24/10/2019 19:20

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