Haywire was one of my ten most anticipated films of the year. After seeing the trailer for the film last year, I was instantly sold. Gina Carano, a real MMA fighter that is equally beautiful as she is lethal, was headlining an action film in which she gets to do exactly what I want to see her do, kick ass! On top of that, it’s a film that is under the deft direction of Steven Soderbergh and has powerhouse cast members supporting Carano. The trailer sells the film as a female Jason Bourne movie but, in reality, what we get is an action revenge story that is reminiscent of films from the 70s and it’s all the better for it.
This easily could have been a generic revenge story but it is elevated by a lot of the stylistic choices Soderbergh makes on the film. While watching Haywire, I often felt reminded of films like The French Connection. The jazzy score by David Holmes and the slightly desaturated earthy look of the film gives it an exploitation film vibe that, at first is unexpected, but really gels together to create something incredibly fun and cool. Soderbergh also does a great job of not sensationalizing the action. The punches and kicks never feel like they are being overly enhanced by sound effects and instead feel more like you are watching people in real life fight. By letting the action stand on its own, I think it only enhances the brutality of Carano’s hits even more.
Besides the strong cast, in which Michael Fassbender proves yet again what a badass actor he is, Gina Carano really holds her own. I’ve read some reviews saying that the quieter moments of the film is when Carano is at her weakest as an actor but I really can’t complain at all. With this being her first lead role and having minimal acting experience, I’d say she did a fine job, but what all other reviewers and myself seem to agree on is that Carano proves she has the chops and physicality of an action star. Anytime she is in action mode is when she excels and you never doubt her capabilities. I really hope everyone else takes notice of Carano’s star power and gives her more lead roles in action films. I’ve always wondered who our next big action stars will be when the likes of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, etc., hang up their hats. In doing so, it (sadly) never occurred to me that it doesn’t have to be a man to fill those shoes. Gina Carano, in my humble opinion, could be one of the next big action stars. Jason Statham is currently the only one that comes to mind as the successor of those action legends, though Dwayne Johnson could reach that status as well if he continues on his current path. I could easily see myself looking forward to the next Gina Carano action film if someone decides to give her a continued career in the genre, barring that she wants to of course. I’m imagining a film in which Carano and Statham face off against each other in hand to hand combat, man that would be a sight to see. I wish Haywire had come out before production of The Expendables 2 as I would have really liked to see her considered to join that film as well.
While my love for this film definitely centers around Gina Carano’s star prowess, it is Soderbergh that made it a much better film than I even expected. I love the tone and feel of the film, it really just makes the film stand out much more from being a standard action movie. It’s a revenge flick that simmers in 70s cinema but is combined with today’s action sensibilities. I honestly can’t wait to watch it again and really hope everyone goes out to the theater to see it this weekend. I’m definitely in Carano’s corner and I hope American, even international, audiences agree with me.