DVD Review: HAYWIRE

Lionsgate Entertainment
Release date: May 1st. 21012
MSRP: $29.99

When you hear about a  movie made with an athlete/musician/celebrity in the lead, it is usually to assume the film will be a turkey (Anyone remember STONE COLD with Brian Bosworth?). There are exceptions, the Ices Cube and T come to mind, but most have an aroma similar to Vanilla Ice’s COOL AS ICE.

But Steven Soderbergh’s decision to cast MMA fighter Gina Carano in HAYWIRE proves to be inspired. Even in MMA, Gina has a certain charm that gave her popularity and fame beyond her in-cage skills. And that charm is very present here.
Mallory Kane (Carano) is a “government contractor for hire” that is on the run after some jobs gone bad and being double crossed. Right off the bat, Channing Tatum throws hot coffee in her face and begins to kick her ass. But Mallory is no regular damsel and manages to escape.

Now since we have all seen this film before, it should come as no surprise that Kane now sets about tracking down those that have wronged her and beat the piss out of them. It takes a certain kind of lady to not make guys roll their eyes at the idea of a lady pounding the crap out of a dude…Gina is just such a lady. The fight scenes are fairly stiff and look very realistic. Gina gives as good as she gets and slowly works her way up the McNasty food chain to figure out who double-crossed her and why.

There are both positives and negatives to Soderberg’s handling of this genre. On the up side, his independent sensibilities offer up a refreshing change from many of the cliches that riddle the films of Statham and company. For example, fight scenes are free of dramatic background music, a fact that makes them seem more realistic.
But Soderberg has certain tendencies when it comes to shots, lighting and music. And those were all too present here. It is not good to be thinking of Ocean’s Eleven and Out Of Sight instead of focusing on the tale at hand. And because the music used here was so similar to that used in those films, my mind wandered back to them.
I found HAYWIRE to be slow-going at first, but once we get caught up on the overall story, it flows quickly and seemingly with ease. Soderberg takes great care not to ask too much of Gina and lets her charm and physical skills shine. In Gina, we get a lovely woman that looks plenty feminine, but carries herself in such a way that you also buy her as a physical force to be reckoned with. She has a stellar supporting cast in Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbender and the aforementioned Tatum.

Folks looking for an over the top action film that moves at breakneck speeds should look elsewhere. But if you have a little patience, you will be rewarded by a delightful debut by Gina Carano and likely find HAYWIRE an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

Jeremy Lynch