Movie Review: Haywire

By Stephen Rebello

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The thought of Steven Soderbergh, of all people, directing an action-packed international cast revenge thriller starring an MMA supernova could send your hopes soaring or get you scratching your head.


Director: Steven Soderbergh Rating: R Studio: Relativity Media

The thought of Steven Soderbergh, of all people, directing an action-packed international cast revenge thriller starring an MMA supernova could send your hopes soaring or get you scratching your head. Film snobs may give Haywire a wide berth and action junkies may snub it because it stars Gina Carano instead of, say, Jason Statham or Gerard Butler. Either group would be missing a bet because the movie is a cool, cleverly made, head -crushing, bone-breaking blast.

The wily, even self-satirizing screenplay by Lem Dobbs (The Limey) casts Carano as a covert operative for a company hired by the government. When she gets double-crossed during a hostage-freeing mission in Barcelona, she sets a fiendishly clever mousetrap for some powerful, relentless creeps with whom she plays a worldwide game of cat and mouse.

The movie is served up in a stylish, elliptical, high-energy ‘70s mode and features Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor and Bill Paxton. But it relies heavily on the incredible physicality of the sexy, likeable Carano. Unlike such previous female action stars as Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, she reportedly cracked heads, kicked butt, scaled heights and drew blood without relying on stunt doubles. Carano co-stars Michael Fassbender (whose scenes with her are highlights) and Channing Tatum reportedly wore plenty of padding but their epic clashes with the Muay Thai mistress have a visceral, real-time rawness.

Haywire, especially coming after things like the Ocean’s Eleven series, The Girlfriend Experience and Contagion, marks yet another zigzag in Soderbergh’s career.  He may be unpredictable but his command of movie making is exhilarating and lord knows he’s never dull.  And neither, happily, is the non-stop, bare-knuckled, balls-out fun of Haywire.

About the Author

Playboy Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello has written many Playboy Interviews and 20 Questions features. He is the author of such books as the notorious Bad Movies We Love (with Edward Margulies) and Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the latter of which has inspired a dramatic feature film set for production in 2012. His most recent Playboy Interviews include Josh Brolin and Cameron Diaz.


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