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January 22, 2012

5

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.

3 stars

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.


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 23 2012

    Sounds like a fun movie! I’m curious why it received such dismal reviews from general audiences though (it got a rare D- CinemaScore from exit polling)

  2. Jan 23 2012

    I’m not surprised the opening weekend audience didn’t like it. The trailer sold them wall-to-wall MMA action and instead they got the sleek stylings of the director of “Out of Sight” and “The Limey”. The marketing campaign did a great job of setting the movie up for failure.

  3. Jan 23 2012

    And just throwing this out there, writer Lem Dobbs also co-wrote Dark City. :O)

  4. Doc
    Feb 3 2012

    One of the pleasures of the film is to see Michael Douglas in an age-appropriate role. Another is to see that he was given a genre-inappropriate character who contributes nicely to the twists of the plot.

  5. Feb 4 2012

    The writing was at its sharpest in Douglas’ scenes too.

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