Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Video review: "Haywire"
"Haywire" is a gimmick movie, and not a very good one. Its entire premise is built around the now-ubiquitous figure of the globe-trotting super-spy, a la Jason Bourne, who has amazing hand-to-hand combat skills. Except in this case, the butt-kicker supreme is a woman -- specifically, novice actress and MMA star Gina Carano.
Director Steven Soderbergh doesn't do anything particularly bold or imaginative with this tired genre other than flip the gender of the protagonist. It's almost as if he and screenwriter Lem Dobbs are saying, "See! We can make a movie with a female lead where the characters are just as stilted, the combat is just as repetitions and the plot just as much a nonsensical bramble as one starring a dude."
Imagine any Jason Statham movie with long hair and breasts, and you've pretty much got the flavor.
The film stars a lot of recognizable male actors -- Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender -- most of whom get into fisticuffs with Carano, seemingly just to see them get pasted by a girl.
Carano, who resembles Rachel Weisz on human growth hormones, isn't asked to do much beyond scowl and kick. If the movie's entire reason for existence is to prove that a woman can be convincing as a brutish action star, then Carano certainly passes muster.
If, on the other hand, the idea is to create a believable, identifiable character and see how they react to seemingly insurmountable circumstances, then this mixed martial artist is out of her league.
Soderbergh keeps threatening to retire from movie-making, and un-clever projects like this don't exactly give us a reason to convince him to stick around.
Extra features, which are the same for both Blu-ray and DVD editions, are mercifully brief. There's "Gina Carano in Training," a 16-minute featurette whose title says it all, and the 5-minute "The Men of Haywire," which also pretty much says it all.
Movie: 1.5 stars out of four
Extras: 1.5 stars