It’s coming on summer again which can mean only one thing; Movie studios shift into high gear pushing their fiscally all important summer blockbusters while packing the nee release DVD and Blu-ray shelves with discs of their post holiday action movies. While teams of super heroes clash with their mortal enemies over at your home theater you sit back to enjoy action on more of a mortally derived scale. One prime example of regular people ready to kick butt and crew gum is ‘Haywire’. Originally released during the last post holiday season this movie is full of action, adventure and intrigue without a super power in sight. Even devoid of powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man ‘Haywire’ is a very satisfying, high octane ride through danger and political deception. This film takes another departure from the current faire at the Cineplex the central character and source of a considerable amount of violence and mayhem is perpetrated by an attractive woman breaking from the usual testosterone driven faire. ‘Haywire’ provides more than the run of the mill popcorn flick by infusing an expertly measured dollop of conspiracy and political motivation to add depth to the story of the movie. This film presents a bit of panache not usually attributed to an action adventure flick. Of course you would expect nothing less from an auteur the caliber of the director here, Steven Soderbergh.
Over the years of his career he has established himself as filmmaker with an unorthodox view of life that translates into films that are offbeat enough to be interesting in a wryly twisted fashion. This movie has a palpable knack for twisting the genre in a way that is exceedingly rare for an action film intended to occupy the post holiday season blitz of fast paced flicks. There are a few stylistic decisions made by the filmmaker that initially may appear odd or even poorly considered but for fans of Mr. Soderbergh’s oeuvre it will rapidly become obvious that this movie is constructed along lines familiar to his preexisting artistic vision. Soderbergh is a mainstream director who has remained true to his independent film roots. He is able to pull some of the most influential actors in the industry into a project of modest budget, reported here as some $34 million, and near experimental use of the tools standard to his trade. These results in films that may at first appear to be worked around well used tropes het in his hands the familiar takes on a new variation the audience can view as an exciting take on story elements we all know far too well.
In the world of international of high stacks politics and finances situations present that have to be handled immediately dispassionately and with a covert efficiency that keeps these circumstances out of the prying eyes of the public media. When such circumstances threaten men or organization sufficiently to warrant specialized attention a call goes out for a fixer to address the problem, vigorously. In some cases this triggers a call to a fixer of unusual abilities, Mallory Kane (Gina Carano). In order to retain the all important veneer of plausible deniability Mallory ostensible is employed by a private firm specializing in spin control. One of the best clients, not that a list of such things officially exists, is the government of the United Sates. As the film begins Mallory is waiting in a diner when she is joined by Aaron (Channing Tatum). Upon declining his offer of as ride Aaron forcibly insists but the adduction is intercepted by Scott (Michael Angarano), apparently a customer of the diner. It is revealed that he is also employed by the clandestine company that Mallory works for. In one of the early demonstrations of Mallory’s talents she breaks Aaron’s arm in the escape.
The plot quickly becomes far more convoluted that typically found in the usual action flick. The screenplay by Lem Dobbs rapidly becomes an entanglement worthy of a Bourne era espionage thriller. Then again I wouldn’t expect the author of the scripts for ‘Dark City’ and ‘Kafka’ to be straightforward. He apparently took a little hiatus in the early part of the new millennium but he is back again is rare form. As the story unfolds we learn that the director of Mallory’s organization, Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), attended a top secret meeting to discuss the course of action in response to the adduction of rescue Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong), who is was taken hostage and believed to be held in Barcelona. Also present at that rendezvous is a Spanish operative, Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas). Making the assignment personal is the fact that Mallory and Kenneth had been romantically involved at one time. Mallory’s cover is to pose as the wife o Paul (Michael Fassbender), a field operative with British intelligence.
One thing that is becoming a trademark of a Soderbergh film is unorthodox casting particularly with his leading ladies. ‘The Girl Friend Experience’ features Sasha Grey, an adult film star while his next movie, ‘Contagion’ had Gwyneth Paltrow in an uncharacteristically brief and unusually unglamorous role. In this film he needs an actress who can simultaneously sexually appealing and physically imposing. Soderbergh turned to the modern day grallatorial arena of mixed martial arts. Gina Carano earned multiple titles in this brutally competitive field giving her the advantage in all quarters including the ability to present the appropriate affect whether it’s menacing or imposing. This is an amazing boon to the young actress’s growing resume even more critical for someone seeking to make a major career change. This movie places her on set which such established stars as Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor as well as newer faces on the scene; Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender. While there is a touch of difficulty getting all of this to gel properly the film remains considerable better than you might expect.