Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire is a thrilling action picture, the kind that they used to make, before CGI and wire-work took over, removing all excitement and leaving only empty spectacle.
MMA star Gina Carano takes the lead in the film, which also stars Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Michael Douglas. Carano shows the boys how it’s done, kicking all sorts of ass in this globetrotting adventure. The plot is simple: Carano’s Mallory Kane is a spy who is double crossed after a “job” goes wrong, she sets out to clear her name and get retribution in a trail that leads straight to her boss (Ewan McGregor).
The main thing to recommend about Haywire is the fight sequences. Real-life fighter Carano is front and centre in each of them, and she really does look like she can do it, unlike other, so-called female action stars. Miss Jolie, I’m looking at you. The highlight set piece being Carano’s one-to-one with Michael Fassbender, which has been compared to the train fight in From Russia With Love, and rightly so – it’s visceral and thrilling. If the film has one flaw, it is that this sequence is never topped.
Haywire sees Soderbergh reunite with Lem Dobbs, the scribe of 1999’s The Limey, and this film shares a 60s feel with that Terrance Stamp starrer. In-fact, Haywire also has the fractured narrative drive of the director’s Out of Sight, and a jazz –fused David Holmes score–things that help make it vintage Soderbergh.
Haywire is a lean 90 mins, with a top notch cast, and a first rate director, bringing his A-game. This is what action movies are about.