Retro Review: Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire (2011)


Haywire Official Trailer #2 - Steven Soderbergh. Gina Carano Movie (2012) HD

 

Haywire‘s an atypical film for Steven Soderbergh in being a fairly mainstream actioner, which follows betrayed Black Ops operative Mallory Kane (MMA star Gina Carano in her breakthrough role) in a quest to uncover the conspiracy that saw her burned.

 

 

Not that the picture doesn’t have some distinctive Soderbergh touches, particularly in the darkly humorous script by Lem Dobbs (Dark City/The Score), who the director worked with on 1999’s superb crime drama The Limey and the little-seen Kafka (1991).

 


The Limey (6/11) Movie CLIP - Over the Ledge (1999) HD

 

The jazz-rock tinged score is great, courtesy of longtime Soderbergh collaborator David Holmes, providing a real contrast to the usual by-the-numbers action movie soundtracks.

 

I detect some influence from the film on the selection of  Tom Zé and Valdez’s ‘Jimmy, Renda-Se‘ for 2015’s Man From Uncle.

 


Агенты А.Н.К.Л. Tom Ze - Jimmy Renda-se

 

Haywire has a top-notch cast, including Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, the late Bill Paxton and particularly Ewan McGregor, embracing his inner slime-ball as bad guy Kenneth.

 


Haywire Clip- 'The Motive is Always Money'

 

Antonio Banderas sparkles as duplicitous agent Rodrigo, one of his final lines explaining his actions (“besides my money? a new life. And a new wife”), spoken just before his comeuppance at the end of the picture.

 


Haywire - Movie Clip - Character Dossier - Antonio Banderas

 

Carano was still very much feeling her way as an actress – her voice had to be deepened in the final mix and Laura San Giacomo (Pretty Woman/Sex Lies) was brought in to dub some of her lines, but she more than compensates with the stunts and bone-crunching fights she performs herself.

 

Apparently Michael Fassbender sustained a fair few bruises in the clip below – and I can well believe it:

 


Haywire (2011) Gina Carano - Hotel Room Fight [HD]

 

Rather than the by-now cliched Bourne-style hyper-fast edits and hand-held camera work, Soderbergh lets the fight scenes play out in a classic fashion, which to me helped ring the changes on the ten year dominance of the whiplash-inducing Paul Greengrass approach.

 


Haywire Fight Scenes #1

 

All in all, it’s got rooftop escapes, car chases in reverse gear, a hostage rescue set to music and, typical of Soderbergh, great fun. At the time it was released (2011) it was a fresh, muscular payback movie shot through with Soderbergh’s mischievous indie-spirit. Whether Gina Carano turned out to be the new Angelina or the new Cynthia Rothrock, I suppose the jury is still out on that…

 

You can watch it for free at TubiTV or Vudu (with ads).

Arnell Esq

Broadcast consultant - former Director/Creator of ITV3, ITV4 in the UK, producer/writer (most recently Bob Fosse for Sky Arts in May 2019, also Alex Cox, Sinatra), commentator for trades, broadsheets and magazines. Also occasional lecturer (University of Westminster, London). Content provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'

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