Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is one tough bitch! A private contractor to global governments who can do everything from rescue a hostage in Barcelona to being simply being an ‘eye candy’ distraction during another operative’s mission, Mallory is the go-to girl for successful operations.
But in the world of spying and covert government operations, crosses and double-crosses are routine and Mallory goes from a hunter to being hunted and must use all her skills and resources to climb the international ladder to find out who is behind her betrayal.
Mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano makes her lead acting debut as the kick-ass Mallory. We first get introduced to our protagonist at a rural coffee shop when she is confronted by fellow hire Aaron (Channing Tatum) who is following orders to bring Mallory in for questioning. After an awkward, yet polite discussion, Aaron throws a cup of hot coffee in Mallory’s face and a ruckus starts in the café. Mallory takes a beating until she is able to get her bearings and dish out a can of whoop-ass on the under-estimating Aaron. Mallory flees the scene and this catapults the story that utilizes flashbacks to try and help explain why Mallory is being chased while offering hints as to whom might be behind the treachery.
Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s 11) directs Haywire based on a screenplay by Lem Dobbs (The Limey, Dark City) and he has an interesting approach to presenting the action genre. Big explosions, exaggerated punching sounds and an over-wrought music score during action scenes are non-existent. Instead, the action is real and punctuated by silence. There is a 70’s exploitation type of musical accompaniment to many of the chases which was a welcome departure from the Hans Zimmer Transformer’s style of overpowering scores which result in our characters yelling above the rock n’ roll thumping.
The fight sequences were very realistic and had a Jason Bourne feel to them at times. There is no denying that Carano can fight and Soderbergh was smart to keep the sequences within the realm of believability (there are no exaggerated leg kicks or bodies flying through the air before leveling someone with a punch).
The story itself was more complicated than your average picture housed within the same genre. We travel from the US to Barcelona to Dublin and back as Mallory works on amassing as many Air Miles as possible. Her trip to Dublin, Ireland and her interaction with Michael Fassbender was the highlight of the travels as the non-splashy realities of being a spy was on full display (think of it as an anti-Mission Impossible).
In all, Haywire delivered, but not on the levels we expected. Trailers had us geared and prepped for an action adventure of fist flying proportions. Instead, we got an intelligent thriller that used Carano just enough without fully exploiting or exaggerating her talents.