Capsule Movie Review – Haywire (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
Haywire is a stylish action thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. It works just fine as a straight-up action movie, a streamlined 90 minutes of car chases, foot chases with a touch of free-running, gunfights, and mixed martial arts hand-to-hand fighting carried by a “who set me up and why?” plot. For viewers ready to play along, it works even better as a sophisticated cinematic game. Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs, prior collaborators on The Limey (1999), cheerfully subvert genre expectations beginning with a scenario and lead actress straight from the straight-to-video actioner playbook in a movie characterized by deft time-shifting, place-specific location shooting, and a cool, jazzy score. MMA star Gina Carano turns in a competent dramatic performance. More importantly, she takes down her adversaries convincingly and moves beautifully through the chases. She’s supported by a deep roster of veteran actors and up-and-comers in small but plum roles (in alphabetical order, because it wouldn’t be fair to single anyone out): Michael Angarano; Antonio Banderas; Michael Douglas; Michael Fassbender; Mathieu Kassovitz; Ewan McGregor; Bill Paxton; and Channing Tatum.
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: Her rooftop escape in Dublin was terrific. Nothing stands out as a didn’t like, although I had thought she would do more with the umbrella.