Steven Soderbergh seems to be on a roll lately. This past September, he released Contagion, which I thought was good but wasn’t very impressed with. Today, Haywire, an action movie starring MMA fighter Gina Carano, comes out. In a few months, he’ll have another movie, Magic Mike, released. What is with the onslaught of Soderbergh films lately? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m not complaining. His latest, Haywire, is an entertaining thriller with a kickass new leading star.
Haywire follows Mallory Kane (Carano), a contracted government security operative who is on the run after being framed for a murder she didn’t commit. The story is sort of reminiscent of an 80’s action film, but is filmed with a 60’s spy thriller vibe. Ewan McGregor stars as Kenneth, the head of the security contracting firm that Mallory works for. Kenneth is the one out to capture and kill Mallory. After setting her up with the help of Antonio Banderas’ character, he hires Michael Fassbender’s character to kill her. When he fails at that attempt, he brings in Channing Tatum to get her. Michael Douglas and Bill Paxton also star in the film. As you can see, it’s a pretty star-studded cast. It pretty much goes without saying that the movie is well-acted. Some may disagree with about Gina Carano. This is Carano’s first movie; she became famous as a mixed martial arts fighter, which had brought her to Soderbergh’s attention. Although at times her delivery was a little dry, when she fights, you can’t help but drop your jaw and go “wow.”
So it’s no doubt that Carano is an action star in the making. Unfortunately, the fights are a little sparser and spread apart than what the trailer leads us to believe. The fight scenes are fast and intense and the best part of the film. Not to say that the rest was boring. It did move slowly in between, and that’s when you definitely detect the 60’s spy thriller vibe. The music, coloring, style all allude to that. Soderbergh is a big fan of “showing, not telling.” He uses sequences like that to explain how and why Mallory was set up. What I really liked was how he played up the music during those sequences, but once Mallory started fighting, it would be silent, except for the sounds of punching, kicking, glass breaking, etc.
Haywire is the not typical modern action film. It has a fairly simple story and filmed with a little more style. It’s entertaining, but not full of adrenaline all the way through. Yet those fight scenes are so well done and choreographed that they produce enough adrenaline to last throughout the slower parts of the film. Another point for Haywire is that it’s a fairly short film at 93 minutes. Any longer and it would’ve start to drag. Overall, Soderbergh made a pretty good action film, but more importantly, he discovered a great new female action star.
Haywire is now playing in theaters.