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Haywire - DVD Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HAVING turned his hand to more populist fare such as the heist genre (Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13) and the paranoia thriller (Contagion), Steven Soderbergh now turns his hand to the action thriller with similarly stylish and enjoyable results.

Haywire is a lean, no-nonsense revenge film that takes a real-life mixed martial arts star and places her at the centre of a vehicle that’s designed to play to her kick-ass strengths.

To add extra style, however, it also adds some starry A-list support who are willing to get their asses kicked by her.

Gina Carano is the fighter in question, playing a government assassin named Mallory who, at the top of the film, finds herself betrayed and having to clear her name in order to survive.

Standing in her path are various former colleagues (led by Channing Tatum), bosses (Ewan McGregor), shadowy figures (Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas) and rival assassins (Michael Fassbender), most of whom cannot be trusted.

Most of the fun in watching Haywire unfold undoubtedly lies in seeing Carano’s agile ability being tested. And Soderbergh duly obliges with some stunning fight sequences that have deliberately been choreographed to showcase them in their rawest form.

Hence, you can hear bones cracking as well as see what’s going on in a way that seems to deliberately eschew the higher octane, more rapidly edited approach of the Bourne films. The confrontation between Carano and Fassbender in a hotel room is a particular highlight: exhilarating and with an emotional edge.

If there are criticisms, they stem from a heroine who is perhaps a little too bullet proof for her own good as well as a storyline that isn’t anywhere near as involving as the best the genre has to offer.

But Carano is an appealing central presence whose own brand of kick-ass cool would comfortably invite further sequels, while the likes of Fassbender, Douglas, Tatum and Banderas are clearly having fun.

A typically slick score from regular Soderbergh collaborator David Holmes also heightens the style while adding to the director’s trademark values.

Put together, it’s an irresistibly knockabout package that should delight fans of this kind of thing.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 93mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 21, 2012