Haywire (USA, 2011)

mzi.govrpgccDirected by: Steven Soderbergh. If I had a rating system, I would rate this at a confident and resolute OK. Without such a system, I’ll just go ahead and report that this movie was pretty OK. I admit that this movie poster looked pretty crappy—some patronizing Laura Croft shit, the “babe with a gun and an attitude out for revenge” thing—but the strong cast (mostly Ewan McGregor and Fassybendy) and the name Steven Soderbergh drew me in. I’m not particularly a Soderbergh die-hard or anything, but Out of Sight was one of the first “mature” films I ever enjoyed (by “mature” I guess I mean a crime film that wasn’t Tarantino). Of course, those Ocean’s 11 movies kind of sucked, but hey, a guy’s got to make a buck (or a million). Maybe it was his talk-on cameo in Waking Life that implanted the idea in my head that he was an inherently awesome director to watch. Either way, I checked it out, and it turned out to be about what I thought: a low-brow, shitty, 2-dimensional action script filtered through Soderbergh’s directing to make it a tolerably high-brow enough, good enough movie with characters developed enough so that the movie is at least watchable and enjoyable without too too too much guilt or camp-ironic distance necessary. Ultimately, though, the central point—the main character—is pretty vacant. The high-paced story lacks the outright ADD of a Bourne movie (thanks to Soderbergh), but it also lacks that extra something, usually possessed by the lead actor, that lets us stick through it. To me, that elusive aura that is composed of the individual’s facial expressions, composure, vocal ticks, and probably straight up magic, are the main factors keeping an otherwise stock action movie from being unbearably hollow, and for examples, I’ll point to Michael Caine in Get Carter/Harry Brown or even Lee Marvin in Point Blank. With a lesser actor than Marv, even John Boorman’s brilliant directing might not be enough to make a stock revenge story into something sublimely awesome. It was a neat idea to get Gina Carano, a legit MMA fighter, for the lead role of an action movie, and her acting isn’t terrible or anything: she’s good enough. But I guess for me, for this film, good enough isn’t good enough.

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2 responses to “Haywire (USA, 2011)

  1. Pingback: Side Effects (USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: 12 Years a Slave (UK/USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

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