Today: April 22, 2024

Haywire DVD

Nobody does it better than this girl.

Nobody does it better than this girl.

There aren’t many
strong female roles in Hollywood.
Such was the case until recently, they were there for arm candy,
manipulating dames or maternal figures.
But the emergence of hardnosed stars like Angelina Jolie, Charlize
Theron
and more recently Noomi
Rapace
and Rooney Mara, thanks
to a certain Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,
have begun to shift that paradigm.
Enter Steven Soderbergh, no
stranger to strong women with Erin
Brockovich
, a filmmaker who loves to push convention and genres to the
limit. Here is the man who made Clooney the leading man he is today
with films like Out Of Sight and Ocean’s Eleven, so when he called up
former Mixed Martial Arts fighter Gina
Carano
with the intent of basing a movie around her physical presence you
suspect the results are going to be nothing short of impressive.

Marion Kane (Gina
Carano) is a freelance Black-Ops agent.
A gun for hire to whomever needs something done off the books. While on a mission with MI6 agent Paul
(Michael Fassbender) Kane discovers
something has gone very wrong in her previous assignment in Barcelona. Suddenly on the run Kane must discover
who is responsible for setting her up.
But as the CIA, led by agent Coblenz (Michael Douglas), close in Kane must figure out if her former
colleagues Kenneth (Ewan McGregor)
and Aaron (Channing Tatum) are her
friends or foes in her fight for survival.

Let’s be honest,
the spy-game is a man’s game. It
takes the suave grace of a Bond, the ingenuity of a Jason Bourne or the
dare-devil antics of an Ethan Hawke.
Forget the men’s club because, based on Marion Kane’s abilities they’re
days are numbered. Haywire is a
blistering thrill ride from start to finish. Where Bond would walk into a bar, order a martini and wait
for a woman to drape herself off him, Kane struts into a diner, gets coffee
thrown in her face before donning a ball gown and beating seven shades out of
anyone who so much as looks at her funny.
It goes without saying you do not call this broad “babe”.

Soderbergh does a
wonderful job of manipulating your expectations. One minute we’re in a break-neck fistfight, glasses being
smashed, heads being cracked and punches being brutally thrown. The next we’re witnessing gentle
character development and story exposition that subtly draws you into this
world of back-stabbing and double-crossing. The action is so fluid and relentless that when it goes all
quiet you find yourself trying to catch your breath. It has all the gritty ways of a Bourne film, sans the annoying
shaky camera action, with the finesse of a Bond.

This being new terrain
for Soderbergh he uses what’s already in his arsenal to great effect. There is the slick execution of Ocean’s
Eleven, accompanied by a tension raising jazzy-score, but when the adrenaline
kicks in he utilises the gritty aesthetics of The Limey. As a result Haywire is a wonderful
little pressure-cooker of a thriller which builds and builds to a wonderfully
choreographed finale.

Of course being
one of the most in demand directors in Hollywood allows you to call on the
crème-de-la-crème of acting talent.
Douglas and Antonio Banderas bring a sinister all-powerful atmosphere to
proceedings, both remaining ambiguous to the bone-crunching climax. Tatum is asked to do little more than
be his GI Joe meat-head, but he does it well and watching him go toe-to-toe
with Carano is hugely rewarding.
Meanwhile McGregor strikes a nice balance between creepy and
nurturing. Then Fassbender, the
man in every film going, once again proves he is the natural, nay only, choice
to play Bond once Daniel Craig has hung up his gun and pout. He is endlessly charming, suave, good
with the ladies and, most importantly, quintessentially British. But all of this would pale in insignificance
if it were not for Carano. While
she was always going to nail the physical side of the role, and she really nails it, carrying any film,
especially your first was always going to be a test. A test she passes with flying colours. She is the epitome of tough-girl. Delicat in her delivery but with a look
behind the eyes that screams “I’m going to turn you in to silly-putty if you
get on my bad side”. No actress in
Hollywood can take a kick like this girl.
Jolie may try but she wouldn’t look nearly as competent. It’s all about allowing the make-up to
smudge a little and as Kane, Carano isn’t afraid to get ladders in her
tights. To say a star is born is
unfair, she was a star in the ring long before she turned to acting, but
Hollywood need look no further for its next high-octane leading lady.

Edgy, tense and
bruising beyond belief, Haywire is a gem of an action-thriller.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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