Sunday, February 12, 2012


Michael Douglas and Gina Carano in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire
*** out of ****

Gina Carano may be the first female lead I've seen in an action movie, who seems like the equivalent of a male action star. This isn't just because of her amazing physical skills. I draw the comparison because of her acting limitations. She works well in this movie because it has been tailored for her and designed to show what she can do. For that, we get a pretty good show. She's a fascinating person to watch. I guess I'm trying to say that there's a bit of character to be desired.

Haywire is a movie that had a trailer that looked embarrassingly generic. Like Drive, it's a question of execution. Steven Soderbergh is the last person to make a genre movie in a run-of-the-mill fashion. We've had a lot of 'chicks who kick ass' type movies in recent years but they all star Hollywood actresses. This one stars a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter. It's the supporting cast in this film, who are the movie stars.

Check out this AV Club interview with Soderbergh as he talks more on his 'no-nonsense' stance on film-making. I like where he mentions the action directors he borrowed from.

The diner scene in the beginning of this movie is a great example of how Soderbergh effectively frames the action. He avoids the typical shaky, quick cutting and gives us a perfect shots of two operatives spontaneously fighting in the middle of everyone eating breakfast. The assaulting moves appear to connect without the aid of editing. It's very effective.

David Holmes (A Soderbergh regular) does one of his best music scores ever for this film. Like his music for Out of Sight he creates smooth tracks that are kind of like neo-exploitation cinema music.

The story and screenplay by Lem Dobbs (The Limey)feels simply worthy of an action movie and nothing more. 

I was a bit disappointed to learn that Carano's voice was altered in post-production for this movie. It kind of reminds me of how Schwarzenegger was dubbed in Hercules in New York. It just seems like a cheat unfitting for a director who cares so much about what his performers bring to the screen. 

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