Haywire review

A bad-ass operative is double-crossed! Oh no! Why?! You know, she should go about killing some people to find out.

Fucking super. Is it just me? Have I just grown bored of action films? Or are they, actually, inherently shit?

The acting performances in Haywire are the most immediately distracting element of the film and a handful of big-name actors make very little impact. While Ewan McGregor (even with that accent) and Michael Douglas are passable, Antonio Banderas is borderline comical and that surely, surely can’t be the same Michael Fassbender of Shame fame. The film plays to lead actress Gina Carano’s super-physical strengths in impressively choreographed bone-crunching fight scenes and that’s lucky for us because her range beyond that seems to consist of several shades of the same disgruntled, pouting facial expression.

And this is little more than a string of fight sequences, held together by a shallow story wrapped around a familiar plot that is literally (literally) explicitly told to the audience. The script is top of the list of problems here. And we really could have done without the loathsome line (that is utilised for marketing in the trailer, for God’s sake) “Don’t think of her as a woman - that would be a mistake”.

The hope was that the respected director Steven Soderbergh, with his indie roots, would breathe credible life into the action genre and there are those claiming that he has. But can’t action films be even better than this? Does acting with more than feet and fists matter at all? Does the story, and the storytelling, have to appeal to the lowest common denominator? Does there have to be a disconnect between adrenaline and intelligence?

2 out of 5

20th Jan 2012 | Official site | On IMDb