79/100 (93 min, 2011)
Plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender
They gave her no choice.
"Haywire" is all you can expect from the movie Steven Soderbergh does during considering retirement from film making - I see that he isn't going to do that after all from the trailer for "Magic Mike" which is a peculiar choice of a story for this director - it's entertaining and quit simple, but it still has distinctive style known from Soderbergh's films - slick cinematography, smooth editing and jazzy, elegant score. Another thing that will hint at this being his movie is the presence of many well known actors, who while still used in too big quantities than it is necessary aren't as underused as in "Contagion".
When it comes to Soderbergh's movies I often complain about that - there are so many well known people in his films and yet we never get to focus on each of them enough. In the effect his films are usually a classic case of style over substance - yes, it's all cleverly executed but who cares if all those stars are wandering around without getting a chance to shine? In "Haywire" we finally have a clear protagonist - Mallory Kane, ironically played by someone unknown to the average movie goer - Gina Carano.
Carano is actually a mixed martial arts fighter which makes for incredible fighting scenes in the movie - honestly some of the most complex, realistic and well choreographed I've ever seen in a movie - I wonder how many of the people involved in those scenes got seriously hurt. The most impressive one is her fighting scene with Michael Fassbender which oddly as brutal and savage as it is feels a little bit like a passionate dance, albeit filled with blood and shreds of glass. They move through the scene with such easiness and they plan their moves so cleverly it is impossible to look away, although it's simply two people beating each other up.
Carano is also a decent actress and she successfully carries the movie - because of her physique and her easiness in blending in the character of Mallory you can easily buy the fact that this woman is giving a lot of men the ass kicking of their lifetime. But the film is not just about those scenes - there is an intrigue, simple yet still hidden in a plot twists that keeps as going. We know as much as Mallory does and as her - we don't know who we can trust.
The supporting cast includes Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas - the latter clearly having a lot of fun in the movie and the ending which features him and Carano is very amusing - that's another thing I loved about the movie - it knows exactly what it is and doesn't pretend to be some groundbreaking film it simply is not. There is also Channing Tatum here, who I hear is well known though I have no idea why. He is all right in his performance, but it's nothing memorable. Bill Paxton also shows up as Mallory's father. Does he have much to do? It's Steven Soderbergh's film - I don't think I need to answer that.
"Haywire" is far from Soderbergh's best but it is definitely worth watching - it has great cast, fantastic action scenes, wonderful score and the story, while convoluted for the pleasure of discovering the secrets in the end for the sake of audience is itself very engaging. The film also gets a big plus from me for sustaining the pace throughout the film - it is one of the rare action movies that doesn't fall apart in the last act. From the beginning to the end the story flows steadily and the action is never too long or too boring. The cast is also well chosen and Soderbergh made a great choice in hiring Carano.