Review: Haywire

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 seems to be  missing the point since the film is a contradiction in itself – a classy B-movie.

The plot sees Gina Carano work her way through the male supporting cast, pummelling them into submission. The actual plot revolves around Carano’s Mallory Kane seeking answers after she was left high and dry after a job in Barcelona.

Carano’s acting is fine and Soderberg looks to circumnavigate Carano’s shyness and lack of experience by reducing the dialogue, leaving Mallory a pissed off monosyllabic, soldier of fortune.

The action takes advantage of Carano’s expertise as an MMA fighter with Soderberg’s approach a reaction against the clumsy imitation of the excellent Bourne series. The editing is easy to follow and there are few, if any, cheats in the action. 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. From a character point-of-view 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 withholds too much information making 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 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. 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.



6 thoughts on “Review: Haywire

  1. Nice review Kob. This spy flick actually features some great fight scenes and stunt. It is edited right down to the bone and the production is about as slick as anything in recent years. Emotionally, however, it is on the cold side, mainly because of Carano’s stiff-delivery.

    1. From what I’ve read Carano’s voice was altered in post-production to give it that stiff feel. Agree on the “coldness” of the film, Soderberg isn’t the warmest of directors, a little more concerned with form and style than heart.

  2. one of my co-partners described Carano as the new Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t know if I would go that far but she kicked some serious ass in this movie. As a first effort I did not think she was that bad. It was nice to see a female action that looked as if i couldn’t knock out. Granted she could use some voice and diction classes and some acting classes.
    That being said what I had a problem with was the script, and the assorted well known male actors in the film who seemed to me if they were mailing it in. If those actors had put in as much effort as Carano this would have been a much better film.
    One last thing that jazz score was super annoying thank god they did not have any music during the awesome fight scenes.

    1. I liked the score!

      Wouldn’t call her the new Schwarzenegger (she’s far more talented at action) but I think she’ll probably be crowbarred into those types of roles. People have generally seen the script as a problem but I don’t think that the actors were phoning it in, just that the performances weren’t overly emotional so it may not register to some as they’re just being cold and aloof.

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