sat 22/06/2024

DVD: Haywire | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Haywire

DVD: Haywire

Does it really matter if your leading lady can't act?

Powerful supporting cast can't save this one

In one of the DVD featurettes included here, Ewan McGregor puts his finger on what gives this movie its curious air of detachment. Director Steven Soderbergh, says McGregor, is "meticulous" and "like a surgeon", master of every detail from script to sound to shooting set-up.

Thus, this story of female super-agent Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), betrayed by her handlers and now out on a remorseless quest for vengeance, is a sleek technical tour-de-force lacking a heart or any discernible emotions. Even a beefy cast (Antonio Banderas, Michaels Douglas and Fassbender, Bill Paxton and Channing Tatum) can't make us give a damn about the characters or the outcome, because their roles have been written like cryptic cyphers and pasted into Soderbergh's scientific grid.

Another DVD extra explains how the film happened. It's a mini-doc in which Soderbergh recalls how he saw Ms Carano engaged in ferocious unarmed combat in Mixed Martial Arts bouts on television, and decided he had to make her the star of his next movie. "She's a natural beauty and she beats people to a pulp in a cage. Why wouldn't you want to build a movie around her?" he queries. Maybe because she can't act? Anyhow Steven's people called Gina's people, and suddenly Carano found herself  in a swirl of weapons training and fight choreography as she prepared for the role. "Gina has a warrior mentality," declares Aaron Cohen, the former Mossad agent who drilled her in using firearms.

So now we know why Haywire is essentially a string of extended fighting and chasing sequences in which Carano gets to show off her punching, kicking, wrestling, jumping, shooting and running skills - not sure if the bit where she drives a car in reverse at high speed is really her, but it's certainly possible - while her various leading men drop like flies. Tatum is battered to a pulp in a diner, Fassbender is battered to a pulp and then suffocated between her thighs, and McGregor is battered to a pulp and left to drown on a beach. In the closing shot, Banderas is about to be battered to a pulp. Despite all this, the flick remains emotionally bloodless, and the harder David Holmes's soundtrack tries to make everything cool, groovy and knowing, the less convincing it feels. An oddity indeed.


Watch Haywire trailer


It's a string of extended sequences in which Carano shows off her punching, kicking, wrestling, jumping, shooting and running skills


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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