CliqueClack Flicks

Haywire – Gina Carano can kick your ass

Haywire - Theater Review
Release Date: 01/20/2011 - MPAA Rating: R
Clacker Rating: 3 Clacks

'Haywire' is a pretty good showcase for MMA fighter Gina Carano, who may not be the best actress out there, but could certainly punch you in the face.

Can you tell the difference between a real punch to the face and a fake one? What about a knee — can you spot a fraudulent knee? No? How about this then: Can you tell the difference between a waif and a substantial fighter?

Haywire is the latest movie from director Steven Soderbergh, and in many ways, it’s a classic overly complicated spy revenge betrayal action flick, but with one very particular twist. That twist is star Gina Carano, a champion Muay Thai fighter best known for her appearance as the comely yet silent “Crush” in the most recent short-lived version of American Gladiators. She is not an actor by training or experience, but she can convincingly beat someone to submission. In Haywire, Carano plays Mallory Kane, the sole female member of a private contracting security firm that is hired by the US government, courtesy of mysterious US contact Coblenz (Michael Douglas). The team is led by Kenneth, played by Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, I Love You Phillip Morris), and after a seemingly typical mission in Barcelona with Aaron (Channing Tatum) and others, Mallory decides to quit the company. But of course, that’s just the beginning.

Spanish agent Antonio Banderas and British agent Michael Fassbender are also involved in appropriately serpentine ways, and as expected, soon Mallory must run and defend herself. Much of the movie cuts between past events and the story she tells to a kid whose car she’s “borrowed” (Michael Angarano). Honestly though, this narrative device is unnecessary and seems designed to cover the deficiencies in Carano’s performance. As you might expect, the fight scenes are enjoyably brutal, but considering the R-rating — not really that brutal. Carano isn’t a gifted actress, and her main expression of emotion consists of biting her lip. She speaks in a fairly flat way, and silent scenes essentially consist of her staying perfectly still.

Of course, the other acting in the movie (Channing Tatum’s boring delivery aside) is also good as expected, considering the acting talent of the supporting cast. And of course, the action scenes are pretty good and the story is nothing special, but not awful either. Just don’t expect something amazing out of this one, and you’ll be fine.



Photo Credit: Relativity Media

5 Responses to “Haywire – Gina Carano can kick your ass”

January 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Ever since their panel at SDCC (which I caught accidentally), I’ve been looking forward to this movie.

You’re not going to ruin it for me, Jerms!! :P

January 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Actually I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it. I found it recently that they changed her voice in ADR – that explains why it sounded so off.

January 22, 2012 at 8:48 AM

You’re right, I did like it. And Carano has the look to be a star. She’s certainly got the physical part of acting down – and I don’t just mean the flighting. She carries herself on screen well.

But you’re also right that she’s only got one emotion and one facial expression: A smirk.

I want to read more about the ADR thing. I’ve also heard about it, and then I’ve heard Carano downplay it. I don’t know one way of the other, but she sounded like Ashley Judd the entire movie to me.

January 20, 2012 at 11:14 PM

I’m looking forward to seeing this. I hate it when I’m supposed to believe that an actress with arms as thick as dental floss can beat the stuffing out of guys five times her size. I want to see women kicking ass, but I want it to be believable enough that it doesn’t seem like an obvious fantasy (unless it is IS, in fact, a fantasy). That means if your female character has to subdue people with her bare hands, casting someone who looks physically capable of doing so (not Scarlett freaking Johansson).

January 22, 2012 at 8:43 AM

But fighting is, more often than not, more about technique than power. It’s not like ScarJo’s Black Widow has gone blow for blow with any of the dopes we’ve seen her take down so far.

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