Freelance covert operative Mallory Kane is hired out by her handler to various global entities to perform jobs which governments can't authorize and heads of state would rather not know about. After a mission to rescue a hostage in Barcelona, Mallory is quickly dispatched on another mission to Dublin. When the operation goes awry and Mallory finds she has been double crossed, she needs to use all of her skills, tricks and abilities to escape an international manhunt, make it back to the United States, protect her family, and exact revenge on those that have betrayed her. Written by
In the opening fight scene in the diner, after Mallory takes Aaron's pistol she racks the slide to charge the pistol (i.e., to load a round from the magazine into the chamber). In semi-automatic pistols, this is only necessary when the chamber is empty and is done automatically after firing each shot. As Aaron had already fired two shots before Mallory took the gun, the chamber would have been full (and, in fact it was, as an unfired round was ejected as soon as Mallory pulled the slide back). See more »
What the hell are you doing out here? I had to drive all night. I'm hungover as shit. And you're really starting to cut into my vacation time, so can we go please?
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'Haywire' looks really special but doesn't live up. It's merely decent.
Steven Soderbergh has a reputation for directing films that are great, weird or anywhere in between. You can, however, always depend on the right pieces to be in place, as he has a devoted following of A-list actors who agree to star in everything he does. With Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender in supporting roles, "Haywire" certainly has a large part of the equation covered in order to work, but it falls decidedly in the "anywhere in between" category.
MMA fighter Gina Carano is the foundation around which "Haywire" attaches its many Oscar- caliber ornaments. A fresh-faced action star padded with so many superb talents, Carano automatically rises to the top of this vanilla action-thriller concoction. Despite some really wooden line delivery in a number of scenes, she's got action star chops, and her character, contracted black ops agent and ex-marine Mallory Kane, isn't treated differently for being female.
"Haywire" isn't quite by-the-numbers as far as modern post-Bourne special agent action- thrillers go (nothing by Soderbergh ever is), but it places all its novelty in Carano's hands. She's an entertaining watch, but she's not going to take generic material and make it awesome — no one's that talented.
Lem Dobbs' screenplay isn't really a problem, as plenty of films in the genre have been made out of worse, but neither he nor Soderbergh make an argument for why you should watch "Haywire" instead of another movie (or even another viewing of any "Bourne" film) other than to see all the stars that have been collected to play minor characters.
"Haywire" follows a classic betrayed agent looking for revenge premise. Mallory is an asset working for a private ops contractor named Kenneth (McGregor) who is thinking about getting out. The film opens after he's betrayed her and left her for dead in Dublin, and she's set to meet with him in upstate New York, except he sends her coworker, Aaron (Tatum), who attacks her in order to bring her in. She breaks his arm and escapes in the car of a random person at the diner (Michael Angarano) and tells him the whole story of her betrayal as she flees.
Soderbergh downright refuses to follow some of the most fundamental conventions of the action genre in this film, which keeps "Haywire" fresh but ultimately renders it somewhat stagnant. The trade off for avoiding something stylistically generic is depriving the audience of some of the usual tactics of action films to engage and maintain interest. With a short run time, "Haywire" never gets too boring, but it does at times feel flat.
The technique Soderbergh uses that stands out the most involves flipping the traditional use of scoring in an action film. Whereas most movies use silence to build suspense and then use music to underscore the intensity of an action sequence, Soderbergh does the opposite: he enlists David Holmes (of the "Ocean's" films) to create synthetic-sounding '70s action music leading up to action confrontations and then cuts the sound completely to make the fighting feel more raw and natural. It has an interesting effect that manages to work in the fight scenes, but it sets an awkward tone for the build-up given how dated the music sounds.
The hand-to-hand (or I should say foot-to-throat) combat scenes we get are rather exciting with this raw presentation, and it suits Carano well given her talents before she decided to try acting. She is definitely beautiful, but she's not lady-like, and as you watch her you aren't distracted by her sex. The point is that it would be wrong to categorize her as a femme fatale or anything we've previously seen in this genre. She's an action star and she earns it here.
Solid is one and perhaps the most applicable of the many unremarkable yet reputable adjectives one could use to describe "Haywire." Its detractors will likely come from disappointment over potential rather than poor filmmaking and considering the names on the poster, it's not an unwarranted complaint. One could also argue that without the level of pedigree, the material wouldn't warrant any attention but the bargain bin. Best, then, to attribute to "Haywire's" lack of being special to some miscalculation on all fronts. Fortunately, it's quite tolerable nonetheless.
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