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Review – Haywire

12 Feb 2012
Dublin based actioner just misses the mark
adj. informal: Mentally confused or erratic:

It’s rare a dictionary definition can more succinctly surmise a film than any analysis or critique. But let’s crack on anyway, eh?!Haywire is a straight to DVD action film. Decidedly.But somehow, perhaps due to a Gypsy curse or King Willie’s Voodoo, it snared acclaimed director Steven Soderberg and approximately half of Hollywood!

The cast is frankly staggering: Ewan “Obi-Wan” McGregor, Michael Wall StreetDouglas, Antonio DesperadoBanderas, Channing G.I. JoeTatum, Bill AliensPaxton, Michael Red StateAngarano and home grown Michael I’m better than all of you put together” Fassbender.

I don’t know why any one of these names is attached to Haywire. Beyond financial debt or the occult, I’m stumped. This is a humdrum revenge caper revolving around MMA sensation Gina Carano.
What part of that synopsis is so alluring to A-listers?

This attitude is perhaps a little harsh. Admittedly, it’s not terribly inspired stuff, but alike so many overlooked DVD shelf-fillers, it can be diverting for its part.

With a budget of $25m, Steven Soderberg chose Dublin as the primary locale for his spy thriller, much to the delight of the 100 or so lucky folk who got a job out of it. And doubtless, this will act as the primary draw for most of us. Watching Carano’s Mallory Kane chased by armed Garda across Dublin rooftops, down Grafton Street and through the Wynns Hotel is nothing short of a hoot!

However, though it’s thrilling to see urban Ireland in the spot light for once, in comparison to more cosmopolitan destinations, it is strikingly obvious why Dublin is rarely featured.

Despite weighty support, this is very much Carano’s film. And though she (obviously) commands the action, she doesn’t embarrass herself when it comes to dramatics. She’s not the most magnetic performer, but it’s a perfectly respectable debut (and yes, I’m pointedly ignoring her 30 second cameo in 2009’s Blood and Bone!)

Scary Lady

Also, I can’t recall the last time I flip flopped so frequently between being attracted to and terrified of an onscreen actress...

Dialogue in Haywire is sparse. This hinders a labored, poorly exposed plot. However it’s a blessing in disguise, considering the writing is seriously woeful. Trendy pseudo militaristic phrases (asset, extract, pacify, other grating terms) and naff clichés abound.

In its place, music is the primary thematic medium, save when the action kicks in and everything barring the crunch of combat is muted. These aural touches certainly add a distinct signature to proceedings.

Similarly the action is a step in the right direction. Though a far cry from the steady well shot sequences I’d prayed for, there is a certain visceral flair to Haywire. Lamentably the film’s absolute highlight, an impressively vicious fistfight pitting Carano against Fassbender in a Shelbourne suite, comes far too early and is followed by sequences of diminishing quality.

With a fighter of Carano’s caliber at the helm, there’s no excuse for muddying the fights especially when you know, you just know, everything else is going to be botched anyway.

There’s hardly an abundance of pleasure to be gleaned from Haywire. But if nothing else, it’s certainly a blast to see Dublin’s fair city in the limelight for once.

Also I’d be happy to see more of Gina Carano.As an actress. An actress who punches.Also, Fassbender is cool.Though, that’s pretty much a given at this stage right?

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