Running Time: 93 minutes
Starring: Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton
Directed By: Stephen Soderbergh
Directed By: Stephen Soderbergh
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
A super agent seeks revenge after being betrayed.
It pains me to think that the Bourne Franchise has struggled all these years to recapture the magic of The Bourne Identity. Then Director Stephen Soderbergh comes along and is able to make this film with basically the same recipe. Not to say that Haywire is as good as The Bourne Identity, but it is a reasonable and enjoyable facsimile. Haywire is the story of Mallory Kane. She is a privately contracted super soldier who seeks revenge after being betrayed during a mission.
This film is obviously going to be compared to the Angelina Jolie film, Salt. Compare all you want, but this is the superior film. This film starts out, and we see Mallory as she is sitting at a booth in a small town diner. She sips her drink, and is about to enlighten the viewer on how she ended up on a run for her life. At one time she was an elite super soldier with skills in multiple fighting techniques. She was hired to complete the hardest of tasks in less than perfect conditions. She travelled the world, assassinating people and retrieving targets. There was not a job she couldn’t do. That is until one of her superiors sets her up and leaves her to die. She is understandably upset, and her only response is an ingrained need for revenge. She could do the easy thing and run, but she has an inner code that she cannot break. So she sits at the diner and considers her next move. The film flip flops from present day to previous Mallory missions. The story follows what went wrong, and how she bounces from city to city trying to evade capture. Anyone could be there to kill her and she is always on guard. You will be treated to a bevy of her skills as she goes about her daily life. She can deliver devastating punches and kicks at close quarters, and she can also take an enemy out with precisely placed bullets. She is wholly believable as a killing machine and it looks like there is nothing that can stop her. The first fight scene will prepare the viewer quite nicely in terms of what to expect. The hand to hand combat is abrupt and shockingly violent. She uses everything in her grasp to deal knockout blows and is quite adept at it. The fight sequences are edited beautifully and make you wonder why the Bourne franchise cannot copy this formula for success.
Mallory Kane is played by former MMA fighter Gina Carano. While Carano struggles to be believable with some of the dialogue in this, she more than makes up for it in look and the fight sequences. She is attractive, she is muscular, and she is solid. Her strikes look like they would hurt, and she doesn’t go the whole movie without a getting a scratch. She gets thrown through doors, punched, stabbed, falls from heights, and any other injury you can think up. She is why this film worked, and not only is it good to see a strong female action star, it is good to see a believable looking, strong female action star (Sorry Jolie, your 100 pound frame does not cut it.) Her supporting cast is vastly impressive. Fassbender, Douglas, Banderas, McGregor, Tatum, and Paxton, are all in this to help Carano along. Their veteran presence eases the growing pains of Carano’s newness to acting.
As the film continues, you will like it more and more. Mallory is easy to root for as she is one betrayed woman against many men. She bleeds, but always brings the fight to her betrayers which is a very cool trait. This film also doesn’t miss any of the action beats. There is a cool car chase scene that uses cool camera angles from inside the car. There are numerous close up fight scenes that see Mallory fight with various weapons against trained killers. There is a foot chase scene that sees Mallory running for her life through random buildings. And there are also multiple gun fight scenes that complete the action repertoire. The story can drag at times and the reasoning of who betrayed her is almost obsolete. Viewers will not care why she needs to get revenge, only that she tries to get revenge. Viewers will not care about Mallory’s love life, only that she tries to get revenge. And lastly, viewers will not care about Mallory’s dad, only that she tries to get revenge. In conclusion, this film just understands that to appreciate action, you need to be able to see the action. You get to follow a badass woman as she travels the globe, killing anyone in her path. The film has some slow parts which would have been alleviated with a couple more action sequences, but the film is always watchable. Sorry, always watchable except for an idiotic encounter with a random deer. Seriously, WTF is up with the deer in this movie?
Director Stephen Soderbergh very rarely amazes me, but he very rarely disappoints me either. He has a tried and tested formula and he sticks with it. A woman action star movie is hard to pull off, but he does it with this film. He forgoes the usual A-list actress for Carano and he was rewarded with the risk. What I am most happy with about this film is that editing was great and that is a rarity these days. This film is raw and realistic, and the soundtrack is subtly there in the background. A great ensemble cast only seals the deal. I say give Soderbergh a shot at the next Bourne movie!
I give this movie a recommendation. While it is disappointing that it isn’t a biography on the Transformer named Haywire, it never the less is a solid entry into the action world.
T Factor + If you like action films then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Stephen Soderbergh as a director then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Salt, The Bourne Identity.