DVD Review: Haywire

A few weeks ago I posted a list of Female Avengers that could have helped Black Widow kick ass.  Well, I have found another - Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) from Steven Soderbergh's Haywire.  The movie itself is impressively complicated, but here's the gist.  Kane and Aaron (Channing Tatum) work for Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) who runs a private mercenary company that contracts for governments.   Their new assignment in Barcelona is to rescue a kidnapped man, Jiang, and bring him to Dublin.  That's about the most straightforward explanation.  Beyond that it's a series of switchbacks, double crosses and back stabbings that brings us to the beginning of the movie.  How Mallory got to that point is told to her hostage (and the audience) as she tries to escape all of the things she's done.

Reading about this movie - I couldn't figure out why I hadn't heard of Gina Carano before.  It turns out she's a mixed martial arts star.  This is pretty obvious during some of the incredibly bad-ass fight scenes - particularly with Michael Fassbender.  Soderbergh even went in an altered her voice to get the complete character he envisioned.  And it works great.  The rest of the supporting cast is also terrific - you can't figure out who is good and who's bad; Soderbergh chose really well with his cast.  All of them at some point have played both good and bad characters - Michael Douglas for the CIA, Antonio Bandares as his Spanish counterpart, and Bill Paxton as Mallory's father. At any moment they could switch sides.  So when they do switch sides and many of them do, you're not surprised, but still disappointed in them for being something other than you wanted.

There are moments when the story does get more complicated than you can follow if you're not paying attention, but it's such a great movie, you won't mind watching it 3-4 more times.  Carano totally carries the film - she didn't even need the high powered supporting cast she got, but the whole thing comes together as a pretty amazing flick.


  1. Thank you for not posting pictures of Channing Tatum on our site!

  2. I was gonna review this one for Man I Love Films a while ago and something came up and I couldn't get the review up. But I think you liked it a lot more than I did. I was just bored. In my opinion, the action felt awkward, the acting was horrendous, Carano was so bland I couldn't connect to her, the story makes no sense, and I just didn't care about anybody or anything that was happening. It was a pretty big disappointment after hearing some good things when it first came out. Oh well.

    1. Rachel - message received.

      Nick - It's rare I'd disagree this much, but it sounds like it hit you on a wrong night. It's complicated enough that you'd have to be in the mood to pay attention.

  3. I saw recently saw Haywire on a plane, so not the optimum viewing experience….but even so I really liked it, however I am not sure I could explain the last 30 mins or so. I may need a second viewing.

    Apparently Soderberg saw Gina Carano in a fight and thought here is a movie star in the making. I think (but don't quote me on it) he may even have written the part for her. However I think this movie proved that there is more to her than simply action sequences, it will be interesting to see what she does next.

  4. The fight scenes in Haywire stood out the most for me because it wasn't heavily edited or had the need to add in a soundtrack of hit or obscure songs. It just showed what a talent Miss Carano was at kicking ass. If you could put her and Zoe Bell together in a movie. I would be extremely grateful


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