Friday, November 11, 2011

AFI FEST 2011: Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire"

HAYWIRE (2012) **** D: Steven Soderbergh. Gina Carano, Michael Fessbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas.

After being betrayed on a covert mission she was specifically selected for, a seasoned, hard-nosed agent sets out to uncover who turned on her and why.

Steven Soderbergh unleashes his take on the action-espionage genre and it was pretty damn fun. The plot is pretty basic for the genre and is essentially "Bourne" without all the hyper-kinetic editing. It is very much like an '80s action movie where the plot's sole purpose it to bridge the fight scenes which in this film's case is not a bad thing at all.

Speaking of being unleashed, Soderbergh plucked Gina Carano out of the MMA cage and put her in a vehicle that is tailored for her. Beautiful, stealthy and lethal. Carano is a veteran MMA fighter and her talents are put to great use. She does all her own stunts which adds to the excitement of the fight scenes. She is stellar in combat but as for acting, I think we still have to wait and see. In serious situations, she exudes a level confidence that she can handle herself and is not at all worried which adds to her level of badassness. I'm not sure if the lack of urgency was due to her acting or it was a conscious decision for the character. Either way, it worked.

The rest of the cast pretty much serve as fodder for Carano to manhandle. Despite that the supporting cast of Tatum, Douglas, McGregor, Fessbender, Banderas and Paxton are up to the task and clearly had no qualms about being upstaged by a lady.

Soderbergh's thriller effectively introduces the world to a new action heroine and hopefully Hollywood will take notice. She's already being touted as the female Steven Seagal, except she's better looking, a better fighter and a better actor.

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