Entertainment Magazine

In Cinemas: Haywire

Posted on the 10 February 2012 by Desertofreel @Kob_Monney

Gina Carano in Haywire

You shouldn’t think of her as being a woman. That would be a mistake.

A fair amount of criticism has been laid at Haywire’s door, taking aim at Carano’s acting ability and Lem Dobbs’ screenplay. That criticism, whether fair or unjust, seems to be ever so slightly missing the point with the film being a bit of a contradiction, a classy B-movie.

The plot could be effectively summarised as thus: Gina Carano works her way through the male supporting cast pummelling them into submission or death, whichever comes first. The actual plot revolves around Carano’s Mallory Kane (cool name) seeking answers after she was left high and dry after a job in Barcelona. That line was as simple as my take but it doesn’t include Carano taking names and putting boots to asses.

Carano’s acting is appropriate and Soderberg looks to circumnavigate Carano’s shyness and lack of experience by reducing the dialogue (especially exposition), leaving Mallory a pissed off monosyllabic, monotone soldier of fortune. The action takes advantage of Carano’s expertise as an MMA fighter with Soderberg’s approach to it a reaction against the clumsy, claustrophobically tight composition and silly angles modelled after the excellent Bourne series (and I love the action in the Bourne films, less so its impersonators). The editing is easy to follow, the moves performed intelligible giving the impression that the action is not being cheated or faked. The performers go toe-to-toe: smashing hotel rooms, a diner or anything else that gets in their way.

In Soderberg’s hands Haywire is effortlessly classy production with David Holmes’ bouncy, jazzy score setting the mood when heads aren’t being cracked. Characteristically for Soderberg the film does come across as a touch cold, lacking the ebullience of trashy action movies. One criticism of the film I can agree with is Lem Dobbs’ script which purposefully courts the B-movie dialogue of Commando (“you better run!”) but also seems very reluctant in clearing up the main plot. Told in a non-linear fashion for a fair chunk of the film’s runtime, it’s too mysterious, withholding information that makes the film dense and unclear. The unravelling of the plot at the end does not carry with it the cachet of a revelation, more frustration as to why it was not relayed to the viewer earlier.

Still, while Haywire flirts between being fun and overly complicated it ends up being fun enough that its flaws can be overlooked. Carano oozes physicality, chewing her way through the cast and using their bones to sharpen her teeth. In a year where big budget female driven films are appearing left, right and centre in the next few months, they’re off to solid start.


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