Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

January 27, 2012

She bangs, she bangs!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:30 pm

January 27, 2012

Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Gina Carano, the 29-year-old star of Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire is not someone you want to get into an argument with. This mixed martial-arts fighter who punches, kicks, slams, smashes, and whacks her rivals into pulp, was cast by the filmmaker when he reportedly watched her in the ring on sports television.
In her first movie outing, Carano plays Mallory Kane, a highly skilled assassin who goes on the run when she realizes she’s been double-crossed by her boss and former lover (Ewan McGregor). We learn in the film’s first scene itself that she can more than take care of herself, when she beats the living daylights out of a former colleague (Channing Tatum) in a roadside diner in upstate New York.
Dragging along an innocent bystander from that diner, she makes an escape in his car, filling him – and us – in on the events that have led to this moment. In flashbacks we watch a rescue mission go horribly wrong in Barcelona, and then a brutal set-up in a Dublin hotel room involving another spy (Michael Fassbender).
For an espionage thriller, the script of Haywire is serviceable at best, and there’s very little tension leading up to the action scenes. But boy, what action! Shooting her fight sequences as cleanly as possible, Soderbergh shows us just how tough his star is…she’s smashed into mirrors, hit on the head with objects, kicked and punched. And she gives as good as she gets. There’s a clockwork precision in her hand-to-hand fight scenes, and prepare for your jaw to drop when she performs those wall-climbing backflips.

Carano is no Meryl Streep when it comes to acting, but she can hold a close-up. It helps that Soderbergh surrounds her with solid actors like Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, McGregor and Fassbender, but chances are your eyes won’t wander from her when she’s on screen.

I’m going with three out of five for Haywire. It’s a guilty pleasure, a thoroughly enjoyable B-movie for action buffs. Watch it strictly for its breakout star!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. I went to see the movie by my brother’s advise that Rajeev Masand gave a very good review of the movie, but I was truly disappointed. The script wasn’t good, the acting of the heroine was bad. Please don’t give this kind of a review again.

    Comment by Eldho John — January 31, 2012 @ 12:50 am

  2. I enjoyed the movie as well. In some ways, it’s very samilir to Contagion. Both movies are grounded more in reality than other mainstream fares. Contagion is what could really happen if there is an epidemic, and Haywire is about what could really happen if there is a spy betrayal. It’s shot samilirly, and both have settings in different locales. In some ways, they belong in the same universe.Gina Carano is fine, she has charisma. As a fan of MMA, I do enjoy the fight scenes. The best one is with Fassebender where it feels more like a sex scene than a fight scene at times. she is at her weakest when there is very little action/dialogue, so the camera just focus on her. But she isn’t a strong enough actor to convey emotions (Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan pulled it off in Drive, but they are much better actors). It’s interesting to see 3 genre bending films in the last 12 months: Hanna, Drive and now Haywire. All receive pretty negative reactions from the general audience. I think the reason is that they are not used to watching how directors doing something different with familiar material. Though I think the audience reactions were quite positive when I saw the film in a preview screening.

    Comment by Nacho — May 18, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  3. Nice review, We cheeckd out Haywire this weekend and had just about the same reaction you did. Carano was great as an action star and it was refreshing to see a woman who actually looks like she could fight. That being said it looked like everyone else in the cast was sort of just cashing a paycheck. Other than the fight and chase scenes this movie was not very good.

    Comment by Solo — August 23, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

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