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.