Monday, February 25, 2013

Haywire - classy action

Haywire (2011)
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Antonio Bendares, Mathieu Kassovitz
Direction: Steven Soderberg
Genre: Action, Thriller

Haywire is an action crime thriller directed by Steven Soderberg. The plot is very simple and ordinary as we have seen in couple of high rated action films. Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a freelance operative for a firm that handles “special covet operations” off the grid, headed by Kenneth (McGregor). Considered as very skillful, she is the most wanted for these kinds of operations to be successful. After a supposedly easy mission turns awry, she is forced to run from cops and the people associated with the mission.

Let’s not get into too much detail about the plot. Haywire is a simple and straight action movie. There are a few movies with similar plot as this one. What makes it good and different from the rest of similar films is its realistic stunts. Thanks to Gina Carano’s professional martial arts background, the action sequences are quite natural, realistic. Comparing to Angelina Jolie starrer Salt which has a similar female centered storyline, Haywire is far better and really cool in action part. For the realistic action alone, you can watch it, well atleast once.

Carano is the perfect choice for Mallory and suits well as the tough girl, stamped as rogue, convicted and on the run. You need not wonder when she biffs the bad guys and jumps off rooftops, as she is a mixed martial artist. She is the stunt-woman for herself. The fight scene with Aaron (Tatum) at the movie beginning looks raw and more like wrestling inside ring. It is like, people shown fighting actually fights.

Carano in action

The cast is ensemble. Apart from Carano, you can see big actors together on screen. There is no other significant female character in the film too. You have Michael Douglas as Coblenz, a government agent, Ewan McGregor as Kenneth, director of the firm that handles covet operations, Antonio Bendares as Coblenz’s Spanish contact Rodrigo, Michael Fassbender as MI6 agent Paul, Channing Tatum as Aaron, Mallory’s team-player, Bill Paxton as Mallory’s father and French actor-director Mathieu Kassovitz as Studer, a wealthy businessman.

The big stars casting is not a new or odd thing in films directed by Soderberg (Oceans 11!). In fact this is the first reason I chose to watch this film. They all have done their part quite well. But I feel this time it didn’t work too well. Given the fact that the run time is only 92 minutes, most of them appear as a sort of extended cameo, especially Fassbender and Kassovitz. I thought Fassbender is the male lead but he appears for hardly 10 minutes. The fact here is, there is no solid male lead in the film. 

Haywire is cut by Soderberg himself. The editing and non linear narrative works well here with the pace of the story. Soundtrack is impressive at a few instants, for example when Mallory chases a guy in Barcelona. Unlike many spy movies, it doesn't rely on special effects and there aren't any inappropriate fight sequences. Soderbeg's direction and script gives an appeal to the viewers that nothing goes out of the track. That invites and engages the audiences without any sense of boredom.

This isn't a perfect made film. There may be some flaws one can observe. Forget that and it will offer more than what you can expect from a normal action thriller film. I wonder why IMDB has lower rating for this film but it deserves a lot more than that.

Overall, with its appealing pace and charisma in Carano’s stunts, Haywire will not let you down. Enjoy yourself!


  1. Good, spot-on review. One of the under-rated action movie. I liked Soderbergh's direction and editing. The experimental nature of the film might be the reason behind a lower IMDb rating.