Saturday, January 21, 2012

Haywire (2011): A Watchable Film with Wasted Potential

What happens if you put together a beautiful retired mixed martial arts fighter (Gina Carano), an Academy Award winning director (Steven Soderbergh), several famous actors (Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor) and a mediocre story? Well, apparently a haywire movie. Although in reality Haywire is not a disastrous film I expected a better film bearing in mind all of the people involved in its production.

Haywire presents a couple of weeks in the life of secret operations near-freelancer Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) who is regularly hired for various undercover missions via her "boss" Kenneth (Ewan McGregor). After a hostage rescue mission in Barcelona, Mallory is quickly assigned to a new task in Dublin. She has some suspicions though and discovers that she has been set up and her life is in a real danger. Mallory has to use her fighting skills (which she uses well) to survive and her training for secret missions to escape her chasers and get back into the United States where she is determined to find out the truth and to revenge on all implicated in her getting in trouble.

In fact, Haywire starts fairly well and slowly loses potential. While we see some of Carano's martial arts skills, there are a lot of other misused people and items. As mentioned before Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor star in the movie but they are rarely shown on the screen. Michael Douglas plays government agent Coblenz but he is pretty much an expendable character and rarely appears in the movie. Antonio Banderas' Rodrigo is kind of Coblenz's contact but he is almost as redundant as Coblenz himself and it's strange why these two actors have accepted their minor roles in Haywire. Ewan McGregor, whose part is to be the head of the private firm Mallory works for, does not have much to do throughout the movie as well although the amount of his participation could be considered passable. From the rest of the cast, Michael Fassbender is worth a mention giving a good performance as a British agent who is unfortunate to meet Mallory at the wrong place and time.

It should have become clear from the above that Gina Carano is the main driving force in Haywire. But speaking of driving, even the appearance of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution car in the film is not used to its full potential. Mallory drives the car of a random guy who tries to help her but there is nothing noticeable in the few driving scenes to justify the use of this mighty vehicle (even in the light of product positioning). And speaking of that random guy with the car, he is also completely expendable.

The direction of Steven Soderbergh is decent but he has filmed much better pictures than Haywire. There is enough suspense in the movie up till a certain point (mainly while the retrospective sequences last) and after that it becomes quite straightforward without twists and surprises. The only not so obvious part is whether Michael Douglas' character is "good" or "bad" but you cannot be completely sure about this even after the ending of Haywire.

For fans of Steven Soderbergh or any of the actors, Haywire is understandably a must see film. For all of the rest, it's a decent movie but if you have better opportunities for spending your time do not wonder too much which option to choose.


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