Haywire (2011)

Haywire (2011) – Well, the last time director Steven Soderbergh decided to cast a non-actor in the lead of one of his movies it was porn star Sasha Grey in the call girl drama The Girlfriend Experience. I fucking hated that movie so much. The… um, enthusiasm… that Grey brings to her normal line of work was missing and performance was flat and uninteresting. It seemed a simple lesson: hire actors for acting. It seemed he didn’t quite learn that lesson though, as he cast mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano in the lead of his new spy thriller Haywire. How does it work? A whole hell of a lot better than it did with Grey. I think Carano is a star in the making. She owns this movie. Not just because she can convincing kick the asses of the likes of Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, but because she has personality. At a certain point, someone sarcastically calls her “Wonder Woman” and I thought to myself “you know, I could actually see her playing Wonder Woman pretty well.” (I read online that apparently Carano thinks likewise.)

When we first meet Mallory Kane (Carano), she is going to a diner to meet someone. Aaron (Tatum) shows up instead of who she was supposed to meet. They talk a bit, then fighting ensues and she flees with one of the diner patrons, Scott(Michael Angarano). She then relates to Scott her recent adventures. Her old boss and ex-boyfriend Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) was hired by representatives of the American and Spanish governments (Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas, respectively) to rescue a journalist being held hostage in Barcelona. She, Aaron, and two other team members pull off the mission. She is later sent to Dublin with an MI-6 agent (Fassbender) to investigate an international criminal (Mathieu Kassovitz). This is where things go wrong. She soon finds herself back stateside trying to contact her father (Bill Paxton).

Haywire is far from a perfect action movie. It can be quite slow at time, which isn’t always a problem in movies but can be sometimes in this one. The plot seems unimportant and mainly an excuse to get Carano from one scene to the next. The film, again, mostly succeeds because of the star quality demonstrated by its lead actress. Of course surrounding her with more experienced actors like Fassbender, Paxton, McGregor, Douglas, and Banderas doesn’t exactly hurt either. Maybe you like your action faster or more brutal or whatever. Haywire might not be for you, but it’s worth giving a chance to. If only so that we can see Gina Carano in many more movies for years to come…

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