Film Review: Haywire
starring Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor,
Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.
Just recently saw Haywire and I must say it was lackluster. Sorry, but with an impressive supporting cast, it was not that good nor great as most film critics have critically raved it about. Can't believe they give this film a high rating and the good ones they gave very low...interesting how most movie audiences disagreed with the critics (who mostly love movies that movie-goers don't like) on this one as a lot of them said they walked out even before the movie ended. I didn't and was hoping the ending will redeemed itself, but it did not. I don't know why, but I couldn't help but compare it to the far superior film Salt starring Angelina Jolie. Now, that was a great movie! Salt, this movie was not. Even Saoirse Ronan's Hanna was several miles far superior than this (Read my Film Review: Hanna) and she's a much younger actress in a lead, but Ronan's amazing as she's great and versatile character actress that can play any lead/supporting role (ie. Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna) brilliantly. This film probably was a cheap and poor version of it (Salt) and tried to do those shaky camera filming, ala Bourne films style in those chase/fight scenes, which failed and didn't impressed me in the least as those great films did.
While it's great that there's another strong female lead here much like in Underworld: Awakening (and series) with Kate Beckinsale, Saoirse Ronan in Hanna, and Salt with Angelina Jolie, the difference here was that the lead star is not well-known (not that there's anything wrong with being unknown, even if you are, if you're a good actress...you're good and it will show) as the other two popular and established aforementioned stars (Beckinsale and Jolie) with huge fan base familiar to their work. Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, while she was okay and not too bad on this film, I thought she was pretty dull, bland, and miscast in the protagonist role here as she didn't have any interesting things to say (her dialogue was quite short) or do other than do those few brutal fight scenes. Not too mention, she's a newcomer to lead an action flick like this as she's not as familiar and experienced actress as Beckinsale and Jolie. I've never seen her in other films before nor have I heard of her until after I've seen her in this film. So, I guess that's why I didn't connect with her on this one as the lead. She just didn't come across as believable in the role she played in this film. She lacked the lead star appeal, presence, and acting experience to be the lead here like Jolie and Beckinsale before her. Her voice too when she talks just sounded off like someone had dubbed her voice...it just didn't sound like her. It's not her fault she was miscast in the lead role. I just didn't see or find her character appealing nor interesting for me to invest and care for her here. I just didn't have an emotional connection with her character, who was mostly running/walking while being chased at. She did do her best (must give her credit) for a few of those that seemed like realistic fighting scenes that she did very well in this film, but even those couldn't save her wooden acting performance. She's good in fighting, but a good actress she's not. I just didn't find her acting nor her fight scenes that interesting. I don't know, it just didn't come across as believable and often times I found every scene she appeared in to be predictable as well as the anti-climactic conclusion to this film. Not too mention, the ridiculous beach scene prior to the ending scene was just not good, and Banderas at the lucklaster ending made me laugh when he said, "Shi***!* like its title, this film went haywire... lol.
This film could've been better though as Carano had a great supporting ensemble cast to support her in this film such as Channing Tatum (as Aaron...but unfortunately, I didn't find him interesting in this film at all...he just seemed off, wooden, and miscast in his part here...), Michael Fassbender (as Paul...who's always good whether he's in a good movie or not...mostly, he was in good movies I've seen him previously...even here with a small part...his brief scenes were the only good ones here, but not enough to save this film) Ewan McGregor (as Kenneth...not used to seeing him play a baddie, but he did alright here), Michael Douglas (he's always good, no complaints here even though he didn't have much screen time and wasn't sure if he was a good guy or bad guy), Antonio Banderas (he looks unflattering with his long beard here, but he still did good playing a different character here from his other films where he typically plays a good guy), and Bill Paxton (I almost didn't recognized him here, he did a good job playing Carano's dad), none of them were given much screen time though to developed their characters. Also, this film still lacked the appeal and star quality of a strong lead female character that if a different well-known and experienced actress had played the lead character of Mallory Kane (other than Carano, perhaps Piper Perabo of Covert Affairs? She's more fun and enjoyable to watch), It would've been an interesting and great film to watch.
Another thing was that this movie became stale and flat right after the unexpected (and almost interesting) Carano/Fassbender fight scene. Everything else just became stale, flat, slow, boring, and predictable. The story just was not written well nor interesting to begin with. It was underwhelming and forgettable. The jazzy music didn't help either. There was no suspense nor edge-of-your-seat, thrilling and exciting scenes to watch and follow as say Salt, Hanna, and Bourne films to name a few spy thrillers that got me hooked into watching them. The choreography on the fight scenes just seemed flat and looked to be an amateur at best. No character development for the heroine either as well as under-developed characters for the good supporting actors (Fassbender, Tatum, Douglas, McGregor, Paxton, and Banderas) in this film that they seemed like they were just in cameo appearances than in bigger or smaller supporting roles. It's ashamed, they're all good actors. Unfortunately, they were all wasted in this film. And to think an Oscar winner director Steven Soderbergh (who directed Oceans 11-13 films, Traffic, etc...then, again, I was never into his Oceans films even with Brad Pitt and George Clooney in the lead...) directed this film, was hard to believe. Poor direction and editing here on his part. Also, poor filming, editing, storyline, and acting. The confusing plot already ruined the first half of this film, too much use of unnecessary flashbacks scenes that don't really explain much.
Overall, I thought Haywire was just ok (more like a straight to DVD film than a theatrical one) and a typical agent gone rogue film I've already seen that's been done before but in a better and more superior action/spy thriller films such as Salt, Hanna, and Bourne films. Too many flaws and shortcomings in this film, just didn't do it for me. It was an action flick but with less action, predictable plot, zero explosion, no suspense, and no excitement. It didn't leave me wanting to see more. One unfortunate viewing of this film was enough. It was just an empty action flick, no spark at all. Not worth your money or time watching. Instead, watch Underworld: Awakening 3D, Contraband and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol films...now, those were fun, action films worth watching multiple times!
My Haywire film rating: (4/10; D)