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Steven Soderbergh refuses to shoot action in the conventional way with his latest, Haywire.  In fact, nothing about the movie is inherently conventional.  As with The Girlfriend Experience, taking an actress not known for her acting talents, Soderbergh morphs and shapes the film to the lead’s inherent talents.  With The Girlfriend Experience, the filmmaker took the inherent seduction and sexuality of Sasha Grey’s porn star past and formed it into a narrative about a high-class escort, pushing the bounds of intimacy.  Haywire’s lead, MMA fighter Gina Carano, is a purely physical being in every way, shape, and form.  Beyond just her sensual beauty, every move the actress conveys throughout the film conveys a brutality and a sense of violence that belies that sexual exterior.  There is no doubt throughout the film that she can kick anybody’s ass.

And she proves that over and over again throughout the film.  The plot, as it is, is perfunctory as it merely serves as an excuse for Carano to plow through the male cast of the film, which includes Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender.  Burnt by the agency she works for, lead by an ex-boyfriend played by Mcgregor, Carano embarks on a journey of revenge and violence.

The film’s low budget digital photography feels inert and roughshod at times but the film’s propulsive, jazzy score by David Holmes refuses to adhere to strict movie rules and provides the film an extra flourish that really drives the film in interesting ways.  Soderbergh lets Carano’s physicality carry the film’s action scenes letting the camera act more as viewer than participant to the physical violence, highlighting the rough and tumble fight choreography in a way that would be hard to appreciate with the shaky cam style that has become de rigueur in today’s modern action parlance.

Carano is not an actress and many of her line readings convey that amateur status but she more than makes up for that in brute physical force and she’s certainly no worse than other low-budget action stars such as Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris.  The film’s plotting makes itself out to be more intricate that it really is with an unnecessary framing device dragging things down for much of the first half of the film.  However, one can’t say it is really a delight in watching Carano kick, punch, and ground and pound her opponents into submission and the film rises above its flaws to provide a somewhat out there, but ultimately pleasurable action experience.


One response to “Haywire

  1. Pingback: Rapid Review: Haywire « RЯ

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