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Pretty lethal from any angle

 | February 11, 2012

A freelance super spy finds herself on the choking end of another agent assigned to cut short the former's professional career.

MOVIE REVIEW

(Haywire) “Haywire” is the grown-up version of “Hanna” (2011). While the latter is a 16-year-old teenager who has been trained by her father to be an assassin, “Haywire” is about a black ops agent who can take on the best man and bring him down to his knees, and if necessary, dispatch him post-haste to the next world.

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a freelance super spy who carries out “dirty” assignments for different governments from Barcelona to Dublin. One fine day in a hotel, she found herself on the choking end of another agent who has been assigned to cut short Kane’s professional career.

But Mallory who is easy on the eyes has instincts that belong to a highly trained killer. She soon turned the tables on her would-be assassin and eventually shot him in the head. But first she muffled the sound of the gunshot with a pillow over his head.

That was the beginning of Mallory’s troubles because she doesn’t know why she has been targeted by contract killers. Overall, the plot is a bit convoluted but the action scenes are nicely done and editing is pretty tight.

There are some prolonged pauses in the plot which are symptomatic of European films. Just when one is tempted to let out a cuss word, the action resumes.

Initially, it doesn’t strike a viewer as one of those top-notch action films but five minutes into the movie, faces belonging to Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum and Ewan McGregor start to show up.

Taxing role

It is then that one begins to question whether “Haywire” is one of those low-profiled big budget movies. Not really so because the estimated budget for the movie was US$23 million (RM69 million). It is not exactly an Avatar-sized expenditure.

For me personally, main actress Gina Carano is relatively an unknown because she has so far starred only in a couple of B Grade movies like “Ring Girls” (2005), “American Gladiators” (2008) and “Blood and Bone” (2009).

The question is why Hollywood big wigs would want to pick Carano for this physically taxing role. One could only guess that the others like Scarlett Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez or Megan Fox were probably preoccupied with their own projects.

If it had been up to me, I would have hired Rodriguez for the role. It suits her well because of her on-screen persona. On top of that, Rodriguez is a big fan of the late Bruce Lee so she will probably know what to do when big punches are being thrown.

It came as a surprise to see big names like Banderas, Douglas and Tatum playing second fiddle to a Hollywood B-lister like Carano. I suppose someone in the boardroom felt that the big names could help draw the necessary numbers to the cinema so that the box office takings would show healthy returns.

“Haywire” is not bad by modern spy movie standards but my expectations were high after watching the thrilling teaser trailer.

Cameo appearances

The movie begins well but it wobbles to a slightly lackadaisical conclusion after 93 minutes. I had expected better from director Steve Soderbergh. After all, he was the man responsible for shows like “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”.

With a director of Soderbergh’s repute, it should have been an explosive climax coupled with a generous dose of fireworks and master ninja-type of physical movements.

In the end, it was as if Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor were doing Soderbergh a favour for making cameo appearances.

Mallory Kane is no Jason Bourne but she has obviously given her best in this movie. Let’s hope that in her next outing as Kane (if there is a sequel), the script would be much better and the action scenes, especially the hand-to-hand combat sequences are as thrilling as they are deadly. Let’s get a Krav Maga combat instructor this time.

Need I repeat that name, Michelle Rodriguez? If you don’t know her, just let your thinking be “Fast & Furious!”


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