Haywire, the latest directorial effort from Steven Soderbergh, is a muted, subdued affair, despite its purported action status. Containing a number of promising elements – a genuine female action star, a great supporting cast and great locations, Soderberg’s film fails to connect these individual elements, resulting in a lacklustre film.
MMA fighter Gina Carano, who Soderbergh reportedly cast after witnessing her participation in a televised fight, stars as Mallory, a privately-contracted killer for hire. As will be familiar for those accustomed to the action genre, Mallory, after being double-crossed, spends much of the film on the run, whilst desperately trying to both prove her innocence and find out who has set her up.
Whilst not an original concept, Haywire could have proved itself a worthy addition to the female-driven action film if only Carano’s skills were properly utilised: Carano is a fully-fledged action star in waiting, her acting may not be wonderful, but there can be no doubting her ability in performing tightly choreographed fight sequences.
The supporting cast, including Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender, are all fine, but there is only so much that can be done with such a loosely, poorly-developed script. Pacing is a major issue: an action film shouldn’t drag, but Haywire is entirely dull when Carano’s not busy beating up every man in sight. This pacing isn’t helped by the often-bizarre jazz-esque soundtrack, denying the film any opportunity at creating tension.
Carano, in the right vehicle, could show herself to be a truly successful action-star, and her casting will hopefully pave the way for more realistic female action-heroines: women who really look like they can hand-out a punch, instead of the usual hyper-sexualised fare.