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3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Steven Soderbergh

Written By:
Lem Dobbs

Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Mathieu Kassovitz, Gina Carano, Eddie J. Fernandez, Tim Connolly, Julian Alcaraz, Peter Conboy, Anthony Brandon Wong, Aaron Cohen, Edward A. Duran, Francisco Alarcón, Natascha Berg, James Flynn, Maximino Arciniega, Eriks Alfons Hausmanis

Haywire (2011)
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Movie Review by Ben
May 19th, 2012

Watching Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" brought back memories of watching action heroes kicking serious ass in movies. I grew up watching Steven Seagal snap arms in half in "Hard To Kill" and "Marked For Death" among other flicks, and there is indeed something satisfying about seeing somebody taking hits and then dishing them out with twice the punishing force. It feels like it's been awhile since we've had a movie like that.

With "Haywire," Soderbergh introduces us to Gina Carano, a now retired mixed martial arts fighter. As he did with Sasha Grey in "The Girlfriend Experience," he throws Carano into her first mainstream acting role to see how she swims in the competitive world of Hollywood. But whereas Grey had unknown actors to deal with, Carano is placed in a sea of top notch actors like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas. Taking this into account, it seems like Grey had it a lot easier.

The movie is another one of those innocent people framed for a crime they didn't commit stories with Carano playing Mallory Kane, a black ops agent who is assigned to covert operations. Kane is quick to discover that she's been set up to take a fall, and she plots her revenge against those who foolishly underestimated her. You know she will eventually get the upper hand on her betrayers, and seeing her take them on is terrific fun as she performs stunts you don't see Stallone or Statham doing.

Carano's acting range only goes so far, but she does have a strong presence whenever she's onscreen. She manages to hold her own against actors who could have effortlessly run her over. Where she really comes alive is during the action sequences which are exhilarating as she doesn't have some stunt person filling in for her. It should be no surprise that, being MMA fighter, that she can really take a punch.

When you think about it, having Carano gives all the actors opposite her a tough acting challenge as they have to appear as tough (if not tougher) than she is. Certain actors (you'll know them when you see them) look inescapably sheepish around her and even worse when they prepare to throw punches in her direction. Even when she's not strangling a guy with her legs, those eyes of her stare at you like shiny daggers asking you not to mess with her. The one actor who gives Carano a run for her money is Fassbender with whom she shares a dynamo fight scene where they literally beat the crap out of each other.

"Haywire" isn't going to be ranked among Soderbergh's greatest movies, but it is diverting fun as it plays around with the conventions set up by the Bourne trilogy and various spy movies. It also allows Soderbergh to team up again with his "Ocean's Eleven" composer David Holmes for another groovy music score that's always great to listen to. It'll be interesting to see where Carano's career goes from here. Will she advance to action star status? Or will she end up in straight to DVD hell? It'll be interesting to see as she does create a memorable presence here onscreen. At least she has better luck in the movies than Howie Long ever did.

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