The Kane Identity
I watch a lot Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal movies not because they are great movies but you know exactly what you are going to get, a simple storyline surrounded by action. Now the storyline to "Haywire" would be a perfect fit for a Seagal or Van Damme movie with a special ops member being set up and having to battle to survive but instead we have Gina Carano a former mixed martial artist. Now there is nothing wrong with that because Carano is sexy, can certainly act and to be frank is a little frightening when it comes to the ferocity of the action. But what is wrong is that "Haywire" under the direction of Steven Soderbergh ends up ruined by style an attempt to lift what could have been an entertaining action movie into something more and in trying to make it more makes it stilted.
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) works for Kenneth (Ewan McGregor - Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang) who hires her and his team out on special ops jobs, those too dirty for Governments to handle. Following a rescue mission in Barcelona Mallory hopes for a break but is immediately sent on another mission to Dublin. When the mission goes bad Mallory is forced to go on the run as she is double crossed and is forced to use all her skills not only to stay ahead of the manhunt for her but also protect her family whilst getting some payback.
So ignoring Soderbergh's direction for a moment and what we have in "Haywire" is a simple storyline with a simple structure. The movie starts after the initial events as we watch a bruised Mallory in a Cafe met by a fellow special ops agent played by Channing Tatum and we quickly discover she has been double crossed. We also get the first burst of violence which quite literally knocks you off your seat as first Tatum's character beats seven bells out of Mallory and then Mallory kicks the crap out of Tatum's character, it is so ferocious that it shocks you. But what follows on from there are the events which lead us to that point, the missions in Barcelona and Dublin and how Mallory ends up on the run fighting for survival.
The trouble is that Steven Soderbergh tries to take what is a routine action movie and turn it into something more, something stylish but in doing do actually spoils the simplicity of it. In any other movie I would probably be praising Soderbergh's use of camera angles, lighting and so on but here it borders on being too artsy and not what you are looking for from a simple action movie. Having said all that there is one very obvious benefit of having someone like Soderbergh behind the camera and that is the cast he can call upon. Considering what the storyline is and the fact that this was only Carano's 2nd movie you get a surprise to see the likes of Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum as well as Michael Fassbender all in supporting roles.
Despite the artsy styling "Haywire" still remains entertaining and much of that is down to Gina Carano who has this wonderful mix of being sexy and scary as hell going on. Now Carano dazzles when it comes to the action which as I said is ferocious but she also plays the part of a double crossed agent perfectly giving her an element of strong and silent mixed with a touch of dominatrix. Watching her instigate the first sexual move or tackle a man killing him between her thighs is frankly exciting for the right and the wrong reasons.
What this all boils down to is that "Haywire" ends up entertaining because firstly Gina Carano is impressive both as an actress and as an action star but also because of the ferocity of the action. But unfortunately Soderbergh's attempt to lift what would have been a simple but entertaining action movie into something more spoils its flow.