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Haywire

by

Jeff Nelson

There's a lot of talent involved here, although everything is too scattered to truly bring this action thriller together.

Haywire
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Looking back over the thriller and action flicks containing agents from the government, I can't help but notice a genre formula that consumes many of these films, with both large and small budgets. Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule. Is all I generally look for in these films are to be entertained with a set of characters that I actually find interesting. However, the most important rule of an action flick is generally to keep our attention, even if it means resorting to a popcorn flick. Haywire showed a lot of promise through its trailers to be a fun action thriller that will be compelling and embrace such clichés with open arms. While the latter is most certainly true, I found the first portion of that to be lacking quite a bit.

A last-minute mission in Dublin turns deadly for stunning secret operative Mallory Kane when she realizes she's been betrayed and that her own life is no longer safe. Now, to outwit her enemies, she'll simply have to outlast them. Writer Lem Dobbs has written the impressive Dark City, so I held some expectations towards the way that this film would be handled behind the scenes. The film constantly flashes back and forth between the current mission and Mallory's past missions leading up to, and explaining, the hunt for her by those she once worked for. There are a bunch of twists and turns that are thrown into the mix, which don't really feel like big reveals. Viewers with half a brain could predict who double crosses who and what move each character is about to make. The strongest portion of this motion feature is actually during the flashbacks. I found those missions to be quite interesting and some characters met along the way are enjoyable on screen. However, each time it flashed back to the current objective, my interest would become weary. The two most intriguing characters for me are Aaron and Paul, both being other secret operatives aiding Mallory Kane in past missions. While Aaron stands as one of those attempting to kill Mallory, his character is never front and center. Mallory simply isn't as interesting as a character as some of the supporting ones are. She's your stereotypical badass secret operative. Even though there's an attempt to provide a backstory for her, it comes across as flimsy and she isn't somebody I ever wanted to root for. There's a lot of long, unnecessary dialogues and not enough action sequences. For those expecting an action flick from this should be warned that this is primarily a thriller with some action elements. From an action thriller without much action, Haywire disappoints with its attempt at an entertaining and compelling story.

There are times where it feels as if this screenplay was written for Gina Carano to play Mallory Kane. Physically, she most certainly fits the role. However, some people simply shouldn't be actors or actresses. Carano isn't as horrible as she could have been, but she still delivers a rather shaky performance as the secret operative. The supporting cast here contains a lot of big names, such as Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas. However, these actors never get his or her chance to shine. Channing Tatum is surprisingly solid in the role of Aaron, whom I would have liked to see receive more screen time here. Michael Douglas has such a tiny role in this, I'm not sure why he even has a spot on the poster or in the trailer. Don't expect to see very much of him or Antonio Banderas. Ewan McGregor delivers as being the unlikable Kenneth. Those who know me shouldn't be surprised to hear me say that Michael Fassbender delivers the finest performance here. Despite the fact that he doesn't have very long in this feature, he still nails the character of Paul. He's convincing and brings that charm that audiences crave from him worldwide. Haywire has a couple performances that are good, although the supporting cast doesn't receive as much time to shine as they deserve.

Even though Haywire is primarily a thriller, there's still some action. What Gina Carano doesn't deliver in the dialogue portions of the movie, she makes up for during the action sequences. She's awesome in these scenes, although the big problem is that there isn't enough of these. The trailer features a strong majority of the action seen in this flick. I expected a lot more violence and action than what's actually here. However, the action that makes itself known isn't your average fighting. It's very stylized and extremely entertaining to watch. Steven Soderbergh is just as incredible behind the camera as one would expect. I still wish that he could have pulled through with some more action and ditched a bunch of the tacky dialogues. I rarely ever say that, but in this case, it's absolutely true.

I'm sure that Haywire has its audience, although I'm simply not it. I found it to be rather dull due to the fact that it embraces the genre clichés, but never does anything with them. I continued to wait to see how things would twist and turn throughout the story, but it consists of the exact same formulaic plots and dialogues that we'd expect here. The screenplay is uninteresting with a protagonist that couldn't hold my attention. While the acting is quite good from the supporting cast, they aren't shown long enough for us to truly appreciate it. Instead, we have an actress who is great during the action sequences, although the film doesn't offer very much action to begin with. This automatically eliminates what makes her a worthwhile casting decision. However, I most certainly enjoyed the stylized action that we do get to see. I was very excited to see Haywire after seeing the trailer, although it ultimately disappointed me. There's a lot of talent involved here, although everything is too scattered to truly bring this action thriller together.

My Rating = Two Stars

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