Haywire Review

What do you get if you cross a Mixed Martial Arts expert with an actress?

I’ll never know, as I’m not nearly foolish enough to cross an MMA anything.

Fortunately, the same cannot be said of the famous faces in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire.

A striking looking woman stumbles into a snow covered diner, sits down in one of those fifties style booths and orders herself a coffee.

This is Mallory Kane and she’s on the run from, well, we’re not quite sure just yet; but judging by the marks on her face, Kane looks like the kind of gal who doesn’t run from much.

As if to prove this, she’s swiftly joined by a former colleague of hers who’s been assigned to track her down and bring her back, whatever the cost.

Which turns out to be a broken arm for this neanderthal, as Kane dispenses her own retribution for his crudely aggressive attempt to change her mind.

Clearly this guy hasn’t learnt that you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

With a bullet wound to her arm, and a willing hostage in tow, Kane relays to her fellow diner just how it is she ended up in the middle of nowhere as they speed along an icy road in his virginal sports car.

We learn that Kane is a former marine and now a gun for hire for a supposedly benevolent organisation that handles covert operations official hierarchies would rather not be linked to.

Having realised her employer, fronted by one time paramour Kenneth, set Kane up to take a fall on her last mission, our heroine goes in search of the reasons behind this.

And is prepared to knock down whoever stands in her way to get to the truth.

Haywire is the new thriller from the original director of cool Steven Soderbergh, and sees him introduce a new action icon to our screens in the alluring shape of Gina Carano.

A former MMA fighter, Carano stars as Mallory Kane in every sense of the word.

With her past and sheer presence ensuring Carano’s alpha female credentials were never in doubt, Haywire’s future was always going to rest on how well she could adapt to acting.

And in this, I was pleasantly surprised by just how well Carano ties everything together.

In spite of her commanding presence and physical prowess, there’s a real vulnerability to Carano’s portrayal of Mallory Kane that makes you take to her prettily immediately.

As you might expect of an actress with her background, Carano does all her own stunts; frequently tossing some of Hollywood’s leading men around as if they were little more than rag dolls.

And judging by the number of illustrious male counterparts Soderbergh’s assembled, they just can’t get enough of it either.

In the uber masculine world of action films, it’s refreshing to have a heroine you can actually believe in; while Soderbergh mixes up this staid genre with some familiar touches from his own past.

Anyone who’s seen Ocean’s Eleven, or more pertinently Out Of Sight, will recognise the classy production values in the way Haywire has been put together; making it even easier to be seduced by the sleek and sexy soundtrack that complements the film’s similarly blessed protagonist.

Admittedly, Haywire’s not perfect and it suffers from some continuity errors that aren’t difficult to pick up.

Like Kane’s bullet wound in the opening scene that never receives any medical treatment, or the stylish cornrows she sports towards the film’s climax without explaining where our heroine found the time to have these done.

But as Haywire’s such good fun, you don’t mind forgiving these minor rough edges.

I mean, who couldn’t get on board with the idea of a female MMA champion beating up a posse of Hollywood’s leading men?

I sure as hell did.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

January 2012