Steven Soderbergh’s latest film Haywire is clearly a vehicle for MMA star Gina Carano’s entrance into the world of action films. As far as action stars go, Carano seems to fit the bill. She’s quick, strong, charismatic, and attractive. She can also roundhouse a bad guy in the face with tremendous ferocity, or if the fight goes to the ground, she has a handful of submission moves to make her opponent look like an oversized rag-doll. Add to this an all-star cast featuring the likes of Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, and Antonio Banderas, and you would think that Haywire would be a certain success. Unfortunately this is not the case, as Haywire stumbles out of the gates and never even approaches an entertaining action movie, let alone a coherent narrative.
Carano’s debut into the world of features films can be viewed as a success if isolated from the rest of Haywire. Her acting and dialogue delivery may need some work, but her coquettish facial expressions mixed with her volcanic fighting ability make her an interesting action star, not simply a one-dimensional cardboard cut-out. In addition to Carano’s onscreen presence, the fight scenes are often fairly good, especially one with Fassbender in which Carano’s strikes appear to be absolutely bone-crunching. However, these positives are too few and far between given that the script appears to have been written by a dozen monkeys randomly banging away at a keyboard.
I may be exaggerating regarding the script, but only slightly. Haywire should have been a no-brainer. A film that audiences could walk into and lose themselves in the action for ninety minutes. Unfortunately, Haywire thinks it’s an intelligent action movie, but it is anything but. Constant location changes (Dublin, Barcelona, USA) and relentless references to off screen characters (Rodrigo, Kenneth, Paul), imply that quantity is equivalent to an intelligent plot, but the complexity turns out to be simply boring and confusing. At no point does Haywire even come close to a coherent narrative. I don’t even feel like getting into the incredibly ineffective Jazz soundtrack or the snail like pace created by Soderbergh. For me, if a film doesn’t even attempt to have an interesting story, then I am not interested in the other details, they are simply incidental.