Mike Finkelstein has a friend who argued that girls always need a guy to take care of them.  He said that guys are always stronger.  Mike took this friend to see a little movie with Gina Carano.  That friend is now terrified of getting beat up by a girl (which probably could have happened anyway, even before they saw the movie…).  Here is his review of “Haywire”.

PLOT: When a seemingly by-the-books mission goes wrong, Black Ops soldier Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is forced to go on the run from both the U.S. Government and the men who tried to kill her.  Soon, she has to use all her skills and abilities to track down those who double crossed her—including her ex-boyfriend and boss (Ewan McGregor) and former lover (Channing Tatum)—and clear her name for good.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  The first time I saw the trailer for HAYWIRE was New Year’s Eve.  I heard a few things here and there about the cast, but until that moment, nothing had come across my radar.  The fighting seemed amazing, the cast looked great, and the girl was hot.  What more can you ask for?  Sadly, just because a trailer is well cut doesn’t mean that the movie will be able to live up to it.

Here’s how the story goes: After getting back from a search and rescue mission in Barcelona, black ops freelancer Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is convinced by her ex-boyfriend and employer (Ewan McGregor) to go on one more mission before quitting his agency.  It should have been an in-and-out job, but when her partner (Michael Fassbender) tries to kill her, she is forced to figure out why she would be wanted dead, and who she was sold out to.

I’m not saying that HAYWIRE was bad…it wasn’t anywhere near it.  The action was absolutely beautiful to look at.  We live in a time where fight scenes are chopped up so much, you don’t know who’s actually winning until the final wide shot.  Here, Soderbergh shows us every hit and kick and impact point with (wait for it…) static shots (!), and actually takes pride in his seemingly picture perfect fight choreography.  It also helps that he has actors like Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum and MMA star Gina Carano, who know how to fight, helping him out instead of random actors he’d have to cut around.

Speaking of Gina Carano, the girl is absolutely stunning, and puts her MMA training to good use.  Granted, she may not be the BEST actress, but I dare you to find an action star who started out as a good actor. (If you say Arnold Schwarzenegger, you need to alter your tastes in film.)  Also, I’m not sure what happened to her voice that caused Soderbergh to dub most of her lines (something obvious in some scenes and not so obvious in others), but I’ll even let that slip. Carano was great for her role.  She delivered her lines, delivered the action, and I hope to see her grow as an actress in the future.

With that goodness, there are many issues with HAYWIRE.  Usually, it’s a good thing when the audience is figuring out things with the characters, but here, we never knew what was going on!  We literally have to wait until the last ten minutes for any explanation, and by that point, I already checked out.  You have to give your audience some nibbles, guys.  It also didn’t help that most of the chase scenes were drawn out way too long.  Run, run, run, still running, around this corner and that corner…at some point, catch him!

And then, there are the other characters.  Despite a cast boasting the likes of Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, and Michael Fassbender, the character with the most screen time besides Mallory seemed to be…a random kid in a car??  Yup! Our favorite actors barely have sustainable roles, and seem to all take a back seat to a random kid that Mallory Kane is telling her story to.  Worst. Exposition. Excuse. Ever.   But hey, at least the kid from RED STATE and SKY HIGH (Michael Angarano) got a pretty good part.

Overall, I was disappointed by HAYWIRE not because it is bad, but because it could have been so much better.  This is a movie sporting a big time director and a number of A-list stars, with some of the best fight choreography put to film this year, yet it somehow managed to mold itself into every other B-level action flick that’s gone straight to DVD.  My only hope is that Gina Carano gets another chance to showcase her stuff, and doesn’t end up going the way of a John Cena or Stone Cold Steve Austin.

GRADE: B

Mike’s LIKES:

1) GINA CARANO: The girl is absolutely gorgeous, and she could fight.  I’m in love.

2) FIGHT SCENES: Soderbergh delivers with static and real fights that are a breath of fresh air in an age where most fight scenes cause you to miss everything.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) CONFUSION/DEVELOPMENT: After a while, hearing Mallory Kane asking what happened to her and not finding out can get pretty annoying…

2) CHARACTERS?  MORE LIKE CAMEOS: We had some pretty big A-listers here, including Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton, and Ewan McGregor.  To have all those roles reduced to nothing more than extended cameos is very disappointing.  You replace them with some B-list actors, and this would have been a movie for you to check out on Demand on a boring Wednesday night.

3) EXTENDED/DRAWN OUT CHASES: A few chases just lasted way too long.  Too much running with no fighting is just unnecessary.  Speed it up and get to the point!

4) EXPLAINING EVERYTHING TO THE KID: Worst. Exposition. Excuse. Ever.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Dennis Quaid was originally cast as Mallory Kane’s father, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.