Review: HAYWIRE (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review: HAYWIRE (2012)


On paper, Steven Soderbergh's first foray into action-movie territory is certainly too good to give this a miss -- HAYWIRE stars former MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano (who was best known in TV's reality show called American Gladiators) and favors clean-cut fight choreography unlike most like-minded movies (read: shaky-cam) shown these days. Unfortunately, what you have read or seen in the promotional materials that have been heavily advertised all this while, isn't exactly the kind of straightforward action-packed extravaganza you would hope for. Instead HAYWIRE is an artistic farce disguised as a B-grade action wannabe and worst of all, it's unbelievably boring.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) entering a rural diner in wintry upstate New York and have a cup of coffee. Not long after, a man she knew from her past named Aaron (Channing Tatum) arrives and sits at her table. They exchanged a few words, which are mostly cryptic talks. All of the sudden, they fight against each other but Mallory manages to beat the crap out of Aaron and goes on the run with a 19-year-old diner customer Scott (Michael Angarano) and his car. On the way along the road as far away as possible, Mallory begins to expose her backstory related to the dangerous situation she's currently facing now.

During the extended flashback, we learn that Mallory is a covert operative privately contracted by the government where she is sent on a mission that takes from Barcelona to Dublin. She is subsequently gets double-crossed by lots of people she comes to contact with -- including her boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) - the man responsible for the mission set-up; her partner Paul (Michael Fassbender) and Colbenz (Michael Douglas), an American diplomat who hired Kenneth's company. She ends up on her own and the only person she can trust is her father (Bill Paxton), a successful author and retired Marine.

As an action movie, HAYWIRE feels oddly disconnected. Sure, Soderbergh's camerawork is admirable enough to keep his shot still and focused. He favors widescreen angle so the viewers can witness properly what is going on during the fight sequence. Unfortunately, most of the action scenes are sorely lack of urgency. For instance, the whole Barcelona rescue mission scene is needlessly overshadowed by annoying black-and-white cutaways and muffled gunfire that totally taken away all the possible kinetic flair it supposes to have at the first place. Even the fight scene feels somewhat too stagy and also way too short-lived to last a satisfying experience for any action fans. Perhaps the biggest problem here is the way how Soderbergh casually handles the action scene in such laidback direction that doesn't really gel together. Only the highly-publicized fight scene between Gina Carano and Michael Fassbender at the hotel room stands out the most.

As for the plot, Lem Dobbs's script is needlessly convoluted. For all the playful flashbacks and double-crosses which zigzag throughout the movie, the entire story is simply uninteresting to hook the viewers. Even the presence of many A-list ensemble are all criminally underutilized. As for Gina Carano's acting debut, she is certainly has the screen presence to make her the next female action star to look for. But for now, her character here is totally lackluster with flat line delivery and equally wooden expression it's really hard to root for her.

Considering such title like HAYWIRE, the entire movie is terribly subdued it feels more like a failed experimental exercise in combining action-movie genre and indie sensibility without even bother to make everything as interesting as possible. Adding further insult is the anticlimactic third-act which totally wrecks the movie out of proportion -- a lazily-constructed fight scene set in a beach house which is so poorly lit it's difficult to see what is going on, and the lame final confrontation between Gina Carano and Ewan McGregor at the beach. In the meantime, David Holmes's smooth-jazz score does have its catchy moments, even though there are times it wears out the kinetic mood of the supposedly intense action scene. What a colossal misfire.

No comments: