Haywire – DVD Review

Steven Soderbergh’s gone Haywire.

Gina Carano as Mallory Kane

As another entry to the scarce list of Hollywood wonder-woman movies, Haywire builds its arsenal through generously sponging from its immediate superiors. Soderbergh politely knocks on the door of Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as he fancies the protagonist make-up. Next stop – he races down the fast lane and pulls up alongside the Bourne franchise, hijacking the series’ celebrated close-combat M-O. Destination…nowhere.

You might think, ‘hey this don’t sound too bad’ but unfortunately it’s a case of death by style. The almost ever-present score weakens any meaning we might get from the “plot-pusher” scenes. Also, why delve into moments of black & white? It’s simply superfluous and The Artist already drank that juice.

This action thriller revolves around a highly trained marine, Mallory Kane (Gina Carano). As Mal’s black-ops missions rapidly transpire into chaos, she soon realises that the only person she can trust is her dad. As she relays her backstory, which comes in the form of sequential flashbacks, the story becomes further lost to style.

Michael Fassbender on the end of a triangle submission

I’m all for complex narratives, but not when they come in a flood of montages which stain any opportunity to grasp the plot’s intent. The twisted narrative structure mirrors that of plot, as a myriad of conspiracies present themselves in a coarse shade of grey. It’s difficult to fit any of the pieces together until the narrative flattens out in the present day.

Victorious in almost all her bouts via submission, our female protagonist carries herself into many action sequences in a way that could see even the Expendables expended. The action creeps up on you out of nowhere, but shamefully feels staged. With Miss Carano being plucked from the MMA octagon itself should offer some indicator as to the nature of the fight choreography.

As no stranger to directing an all-star cast, Soderbergh groups some of Hollywood’s A-listers but underutilizes their talent. First word must go to excluding Channing Tatum from the afore mentioned ‘talent’ and to label the Hollywood heart-throb as being out of his depth:

Dear John,

Your pretty boy persona has earned no place in this league of assassins. 

Yours sincerely,

FRR.

P.S See you in the more becoming ‘Magic Mike’

The boastful talent regrettably resides in the behind-the-scenes ‘baddies’, who essentially run the show, but gain disappointingly little screen-time. Antonio Banderas’s rough Spanish charm, Michael Fassbender’s simply harmonious screen presence and diversity, Michael Douglas’s in-your-face wisdom and Ewan McGregor’s classy Scottish grit have frustratingly not been unearthed to any real extent. Instead, the Ocean’s director relies on newcomer Gina Carano to attract and maintain our attention… and she might have just done it.

The bonus features acquaint us with Gina’s transition from fighter to actress and offers brief but extraordinary insight into Soderbergh’s inspiration to want to create Haywire. The disc proposes extensive intuition into the many fight scenes and allows the actors an opportunity to speak in relation to the physicality of their roles. As well as this, the features include the now rather mundane routine, “what attracted the cast to the script?” and “what was it like working with the director?” Finally, the bonus feature entitled ‘characters of Haywire’, instead of actually being what the name suggests, rather feels like a sequence of repetitive promotional material, which truthfully adds nothing to our character comprehension.

 

Released on Blu-Ray and DVD May 21st

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