Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Haywire review

So I went to see Haywire today. Of course this is the film debut of MMA fighter Gina Carano. Director Steven Soderbergh saw Gina fight on a 2008 EliteXC show and decided to build a film around her. He hired Lem Dobbs to write the script (he wrote The Limey) and Soderbergh did the cimematography himself as Peter Andrews. His idea was to make the fight scenes as realistic as possible with no camera tricks or CGI. For the most part, that part of the film is successful as Gina expertly kicks ass. But the story is such convoluted nonsense even for this genre of film that it could frustrate viewers. Half the film is told in flashbacks. And you won't be able to figure out the rest of it. The basic story is Gina plays Mallory Kane, a black ops operative who is double crossed by every member of the cast except her father. It starts with a fight against Channing Tatum in a coffee shop. And then she hijacks a car and tells her story to the poor schlub. That made absolutely no sense. Look, it's just a silly plot device that leads to more fight scenes. And Gina is great in the fight scenes. It seems like Soderbergh didn't care if the story made sense. But viewers do care. And that's why I think Haywire is ultimately a failure. The plot is too difficult for anyone to figure out. There are several big stars like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum getting beat up by Gina. But all of them are cardboard characters with no personality. And I wasn't impressed by all the running around in Barcelona. The one thing I did like was David Holmes' 70s retro Lalo Schifrin influenced musical score. The film grossed $9M last weekend which was about what was expected. The film budget was modest and it should do well in foreign markets. Not being 3D may have hurt the film. It also had a Cinemascore rating of D+ probably because the trailer gave up too much of the story. Gina is fine with what she is given to do. But other than the fight scenes, that ain't much. So will Gina Carano come back to MMA? It depends on what kind of films she is offered. Once she has worked with Soderbergh in her debut, it's all downhill from there. I wouldn't be surprised to see her back in the cage this year. So if you're a big Gina Carano fan, Haywire is worth seeing for her fight scenes. But if convoluted stories bother you, wait for the DVD. Here's the trailer for Haywire.

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