As any frequent reader will know, I am not a fan of action films; even less am I a fan of martial arts films. So Haywire is not the kind of film that would normally attract my attention, even if it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars the likes of Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas. But most of my favourite critics gave Haywire a thumbs-up, so when it got to the cheap theatres ($1.75 on Tuesdays - amazing), I decided to check it out.
I won’t say I didn’t get my money’s worth, but I will say I was disappointed. The protagonist of Haywire is a young woman named Mallory Kane, played by Gina Carano, a martial arts expert who obviously wanted to try out some acting. Carano’s performance wasn’t terrible, but her character lacked personality and her great fighting skills interested me not at all. In fact, the character development in Haywire was almost nonexistent, despite opportunities, and the plot was just plain lame, not to mention preposterous.
I did enjoy some of the acting (Fassbender was my favourite) and some of the locations (Dublin, Barcelona, upstate New York in winter) and found the score (and its use) intriguing. I also found myself intrigued by the mystery of why everyone was after Kane - until the lame ending, that is.
One interesting piece of trivia is that when Haywire was over I was astonished to see that only 95 minutes had passed (it felt like two hours). I thought to myself: Not since Dark City (one of my very favourite films of the past twenty years) has a fast-paced film felt so much longer to me than it actually was. Haywire’s writer? Lem Dobbs, who co-wrote Dark City.
Haywire’s unique style and music make me want to give it ***, but that feels really generous to me, because this is basically a mug-down film that is not worth your time. Too bad.