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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
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Carano Should Have Kicked the Writer's Butt
Favorite Movie Quote: "You're a really good driver."
Let's start at the beginning: concept. Double-super-secret espionage agency turns on one of its agents; said agent survives the hit and spends the remainder of the flick finding out why, kicking every butt on the way. I'll never grow tired of saying that originality is overrated; it's not what you do so much as how you do it, but if you're going to recycle a story from the trope bargain bin, the execution needs to be excellent not merely adequate. In some ways Haywire acheives this. In others it does not.
Our betrayed ass-kicker is Mallory Kane, portrayed by mixed-martial artist Gina Carano, who's attractive enough to be allowed to head up a movie and gives a steady enough performance in Haywire to stick around. She doesn't have a ton of on-screen charisma in my opinion, but she certainly kicks enough tookus and is believable when so doing. She's supported by an accomplished cast including Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, and Michael Fassbender among others, many of whose fannies she whips.
All the action is pretty well done - certainly the fights are A+, violently brutal and relatively believable. However, Haywire is the child of many other movies with this same storyline and makes several of the same what I consider narrative missteps. For one thing, Kane's adversaries are f*cking idiots. All parties consistently underestimate her, including Kenneth (McGregor), the guy who warns others not to do that very thing. Like its action movie ancestors, the villains come at Mallory B-movie-ninja style, one at a time, even though Coblenz (Douglas) only wants to contract through Kenneth's super-secret company specifically for her - "value added". In fact, her desire to leave Kenneth's employ is part of what motivates him to sell her out, as it is said she will take the clients with her.
Mallory herself isn't an exceptionally written character either. Part of what should've made her the best of the best of the best would be her wits, but she isn't written smart so much as ballsy, forgetting to dump her cell phone when she's on the lam and chasing down a fleeing nobody just to kick his ass (she doesn't kill him) while the principle under her protection was still in the open because she 'doesn't like loose ends'. She also sleeps with Aaron (Channing Tatum) which seems out of character, especially in light of the recent fiasco of mixing business and pleasure with Kenneth. If she had to sleep with someone, I'd have preferred it be the innocent helpful kid (Michael Angarano) because that's different while still believable, hence more interesting.
I also bristle at certain details or inconsistencies. Most of the dialog is functional but forgettable (Fassbender is always charming regardless of what he's saying), but certain lines like "more leos" seem forced, as if writer Lem Dobbs feels the need to prove to the audience that he did research; this isn't high school, it's better if you don't show your work. I also haven't been able to fathom why Mallory was suspicious of Paul (Fassbender) but not Aaron, other than the convenience of the narrative (and she still gives him a free shot). The ending was also a bit of a downer after the far superior Carano/Fassbender and Carano/Tatum fights. Kenneth strangely holds his own with the baddest ass in the world for a minute (and Ewan's got the build of a slightly leaner Orlando Bloom here) before feebly trying to climb a rock before getting his foot stuck between two rocks at which point he morphs into the exposition fairy? Sad face.
Suprisingly, I'm more interested to see the next Gina Carano film than I am the next Steven Soderbergh film.
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