Movie Review: Haywire

By  | 

Last year “Drive” showed the great divide between the film critics and general audience.  The critics gave rave reviews while it didn’t receive much love from the audience.  This year we have “Haywire.”

Gina Carano may be more of a female Jason Bourne than James Bond, but this is not a ‘Bourne’ movie.  It doesn’t have the fast-paced and grittiness.  I love the ‘Bourne’ series, whereas “Haywire,” I like it enough.

Stephen Soderberg assembled a team of well-known actors with starpower (Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum) surrounding Carano, a newcomer to acting and a martial arts fighter (Muay Thai) in real life.  Carano is ‘Mallory,’ a former Marine, black ops private contractor, whose company is hired by the U.S. government to undertake off-the-grid missions around the world.

After a mission in Barcelona rescuing a Chinese journalist, Mallory finds herself set up by her former employer as a spy gone rogue and pursued from all angles.  The mystery here is that it’s a successful job.  The pursuits take the team to Dublin, Washington DC, San Diego, New Mexico and Old Mexico.

Carano looks natural for a first-timer and this is the ideal vehicle for her.  Her scenes do not require in-depth acting and she’s at her best during the physical ones.  She brings certain credibility to the fighting scenes.  Her running, leaping, kicking, punching, choking, shooting look real.  She goes toe-to-toe with the guys and really does look like she’s capable of doing these things.  The fact that she also falls and doesn’t spring back up adds a sense of realism.  No special effects, just old-fashioned, hard and brutal hand-to-hand combat shot in close range.  Strong, sexy, street-smart, Carano has the realistic build and the look of a bona fide action star.

Whether or not you’d enjoy “Haywire” would depend on your expectations.  The layered conspiracy, betrayal and double-crossing are revealed in the end.  But it feels longer to get to this point than it should.  Instead of a speedy action movie, it’s slow and steady with stylistic direction, and sometimes silent with the soundtrack blaring in the background.  The latter reminds me with a killer hit last year, “Hanna,” although “Hanna” has a much cooler soundtrack.

If you’re expecting a ‘fast and furious’ action flick, you won’t find it here.  If you’re expecting a high-tech super-spy movie, you won’t find it here either.  If you’re familiar with Soderberg’s style and allow your patience to be tested, there’s a payoff in the end.  While there’s a pre-ending scene that seems to come out of nowhere (a connecting scene or two might have ended up on the cutting floor), it fades to black with a great ‘gotcha’ scene.

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (  Twitter:

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *