by Jen Novotny
Originally published Jan. 31, 2012 on the Stony Brook Press website.
Based on the trailer, Haywire is an action-packed movie starring a largely unknown lead female with an all-star supporting cast and directed by a man well-known for providing good films.
That’s kind of accurate, but like many movie trailers, it is largely misleading, if not an outright lie.
Basic synopsis: Mallory [Gina Carano] is a former marine working for a private company, which does certain questionable jobs for clients. Suddenly, her partner turns on her, and she doesn’t know why she has been blacklisted. So she goes in search of answers, finding a tangled web of intrigue.
If that sounds vague and confusing, that’s because the plot is vague and confusing up until the last five minutes, and even then it’s less than satisfactory.
Before I begin to list the numerous problems I have with this film, I would like to name its two redeeming qualities. First, the cinematography is, from a technical standpoint, superb. Second, the fight scenes are fantastic, but then, the lead actress is an MMA fighter.
Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends.
The plot, even when it is comprehensible, is nonsensical. Yes, it is as paradoxical as it sounds. But, much of that can probably be blamed on the poor dialogue.
The acting is generally on point. However, Gina Carano has no emotional range, which they attempt to explain away based on her military background, which is a poor excuse. Channing Tatum is well-known for his lack of real theatrical skill, but his face is as pretty as ever. Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas… how could you?
There are multiple seemingly endless chase sequences, and though that sounds exciting, it’s not. The background music seems misplaced when it is not noticeably absent, and the constant glaring change of camera angles is distracting from otherwise captivating fight sequences.
Basically, if you enjoy artistic cinematography or MMA fighting, you should see it. Otherwise, save your money for one of Steven Soderbergh’s more worthwhile films.
As a bonus, there are a few amusing things to watch for if you have the misfortune of seeing this film: dad, time lapse between scenes, the random guy who gets kidnapped at the beginning, jilted lover, and cornrows.