Haywire DVD Review

Why ye gods of Hollywood have you finally decided to make a realistic action movie?

As a child, I was weaned on action films where balding men saved entire buildings even though they couldn’t find a pair of shoes; where being shot was just a way to get a cool scar, as opposed to being something that might actually kill you, and where cars burned brightly as they sped down some empty highway before burning even harder as they blew up.

Though this is never quite as explosive as the sexual tension between the two beautiful, star name actors on screen.

I love action films.

So when Haywire finally reaches its first car chase scene and the first car that careens off the road does not explode like a sunspot, well it’s hard to disguise my disappointment.

Steven Soderbergh’s modern take on the action genre has, however, forced me to re-evaluate what I look for in an action movie.

Haywire is an interesting and well-crafted action film that explores and plays with our conceptions of the genre whilst also spinning a gripping yarn.

Mallory Kane, played by Gina Carano, is an exceptional secret agent who has managed to make enemies in some pretty high places. Set up to take the fall for the assassination of a civilian and hunted down by fellow agents she thought were her friends, Mallory must clear her name and find out who wants her dead and why.

This traditional plot is subverted by Soderbergh’s unique spin on action films, namely that Carano is actually a Mixed Martial Arts Champion. She has the body, grace and skills of bona fide fighter, which lends a dangerous authenticity to her character that is rarely seen in action films.

Carano’s natural talent for the physical, coupled with her undeniable charm, make her a joy to watch. Furthermore, Soderbergh doesn’t just turn her character into the sexy female spy archetype who needs to don skin tight clothing for every mission, instead Kane’s personal journey supersedes all the kick ass action that takes place around her.

Haywire continues down this path of originality and playfulness by rooting its scenes in the real world. Realistic fight sequences, natural lighting and spy jargon heavy dialogue are all shot within normal settings like drab office buildings and derelict diners, which make Haywire a breath of fresh air to this genre.

As well as helping my head come to terms with my heart having room for action films that aren’t just senseless explosion fests.

Shelton Lindsay

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May 2012
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