Haywire (2012) directed by Steven Soderbergh

Haywire is Steven Soderbergh’s hyper-styled foray into the action genre. This adrenaline-fueled film features Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion Gina Carano in her first motion picture, an action-packed globe trot that spans Washington, D.C., Barcelona, Dublin, New York and New Mexico.

When we first see Mallory Kane (Carano) all indications are that she is on the run from something – but what exactly? Mallory is a black ops specialist working for a private security firm. Well at least she was; the film shifts around the narrative timeline and reveals that the consequences of a recent assignment in Barcelona have produced a life or death situation for Mallory.

As the story unfolds, each layer gets us that much closer to the center of the mystery of exactly what has placed Mallory in her current predicament.

In the director’s own words, as detailed in the production notes, the film is a “Pam Grier movie made by Hitchcock.” That is what in many ways makes this film an interesting study and sets it apart from many films of its ilk. Through dialogue courtesy of Len Dobbs (Kafka, The Limey), there is enough to keep the audience engaged.

Soderbergh uses Ms. Carano’s physical abilities to good use; in fact Ms. Carano did the majority of her own stunts. This definitely added a sense of ‘realism’ to her fights with her co-stars. Going into this film, I wanted to see her kick serious butt – and on that account she delivers and then some. In fact, I could have done with a bit more running, jumping and punching; not MUCH more, but it was so much fun watching the fighting sequences.

For Carano this is an introduction to a possible career as “female action hero,” in the style of Jason Statham. With a little more experience under her belt, she may prove herself worthy.

A wonderful supporting cast that includes Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton add gravitas to Carano’s presence.

Initially I did have some slight reservations about an action film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The release date of the film amplified my skepticism; January is typically the cinematic ‘dumping ground.’

If there is one thing that I did not get that I expected was with Haywire being an “exploitation” film. Perhaps, this is down to smooth execution by Soderbergh and company so that it did not feel like one.

As I write this, what has come to my attention is that Carano is the lone principal female character – her world is a ‘man’s world.’ The fact that I have just come to this realization a few days after screening Haywire leads me to believe this was part of Soderbergh’s plan. In essence, by not directly referring to her gender, this demonstrates that her gender is absolutely irrelevant to the mechanics of the plot.

In the end, for all the deconstruction of plot, story, etc., this is basically a film to sit back and enjoy.

All Images provided by Relativity Media


  1. It’s not out here yet, but looks to be a movie I will enjoy. Nice review

  2. I have just posted my review, well the other day. I really enjoyed it, in fact I believe I have found a new girlfriend!!

    Come and have a read matey!!


  3. The more I read about this movie, the more I am looking forward to seeing it. This sounds like a fun action movie, and I am really curious to see Gina Carano in the lead role. Nice review!

  4. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, iluv and company:

    Very well detailed and informative review!

    I’ve always thought that Soderbergh was more lucky than talented as a director. Braking the rules and getting his name noticed with Sex, Lies and Videtape, and playing it relatively safe since. His Traffic ,/i> was okay. Though I believe the earlier, original UK/German mini-series, Traffik was far superior.

    That said. If there is a director to move the skin tight outfitted, bad-a**ed chick genre out of the nymphet stage into the adult arena. Soderbergh does choreograph and handles action well. Needs to break some rules again and would be my first choice.

    PS: Drop by FRC. I’ve a guest review you might enjoy.

  5. I really liked the trailer and the reviews are positive so far, so I am hoping to see it soon! It’s always a pleasure to see Fassbender on screen! Great review!

    • Thanks Diana.

      I was on the fence about the trailer. But am glad I got over my reservations. Loads of credits to a couple of my best friends for bringing me towards the light and changing the error of my ways.

      There is enough Fassbender on screen to make a girl happy 🙂

  6. My hubby and I was just talking about this earlier today when we’re talking about Soderbergh. I wasn’t too interested in this initially when I saw it at comic-con but now I’m curious about it. I might check it out when it arrives at the cheaper theater. Too bad I already know what happens to Fassbender as they showed the entire clip of his fight scene w/ Carano, clearly he didn’t stand a chance.

    • Your path to this film sounds awfully like my own – at first I was like – will probably skip and gradually developed an interest.

      I think you will like it especially if you happen to be a fan of Steven Soderbergh’s work.

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