Let me try and figure out a way to type this as simply as possible: In Haywire a former mixed martial arts fighter (for real, that is what she did) named Gina Carano plays a double-crossed super soldier who wreaks vengeance on all those that plotted to kill her.
The guys who get their behinds handed to them in hand-to-hand combat are played by the likes of Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum — so basically Magneto, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Zorro and G.I. Joe. No surprise therefore that a minor character actually calls her Wonder Woman at one point in the movie.
Ms. Carano can certainly kick butt with the best action heroes in Hollywoodland but she could have used a little help with the emoting. It doesn’t help that they messed with her voice in post-production.
That said, you want to know what the worst thing is about this movie? It looks like Ms Carano was pulling her punches so as not to hurt the famous actors she was supposed to be bashing up.
Otherwise the film is a stylish riot. Shot in beautiful HD by the director himself, this is another one of Steven Soderbergh’s ‘experimental’ movies. Don’t let that fool you into expecting some ponderous chat-fest about the spiritual drain that is caused by being a relentlessly punching and kicking pain machine. Oh no. That’s not how Mr. Soderbergh plays this one.
Sure it isn’t edited in that rat-a-tat style that has come to be known as the Bourne style but the more stately paced shots are a good thing. When the camera stays in one place and we are allowed to see the action (rather than imagining it) we are truly allowed to experience discomfort at the sight of a woman being beaten by a man.
While it is true that Ms. Carano looks like she can give as good as she gets it is still a powerful experience to watch her battles with two antagonists, Mr. Fassbender and by Mr. Tatum. In both cases we are brought face-to-face with the most real-looking images of what physical abuse must look like. So coupled with the goings-on in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo recent (fairly) mainstream cinema has made us look close and hard at cruelty being inflicted upon women.
In both cases it is very satisfying to watch those women get their own back.
Whereas Dragon Tattoo plumbs some seriously dark depths, Haywire is content to be an example of extreme ass-kickery.
I thoroughly approve.
Oh yes, and I am also totally loving the look of these films.