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January 20, 2012
Review - " Haywire "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael
Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas

Time to hail a new action queen as mixed martial arts star Gina
Carano blitzes the big screen in this supercool thriller from director
Steven Soderbergh. She plays Mallory Kane, a government-trained
assassin who goes on a personal mission after being set up during a
black ops operation. Dropped into a powderkeg of conspiracy and
revenge, Carano holds her own amidst a heavyweight cast including
Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio
Banderas and Michael Douglas. You go, girl!

Whether he’s directing gritty, Oscar-winning Traffic, having Oceans
of fun in Vegas, or musing on sex, lies and videotape, everything
Steven Soderbergh does, he does with style. So it’s no surprise that
this showcase for professional kick-ass Gina Carano is slick, punchy,
and cool. As a private contractor in the ‘global security’ business,
Carano’s Mallory Kane is sent to Barcelona to free a kidnapped
Chinese journalist on a mission set up by a Washington string-puller
(Douglas), his Spanish counterpart (Banderas), and her boss and ex-
lover Kenneth (McGregor).

Soon after, Kenneth asks her to partner a suave MI5 agent
(Fassbender) in Dublin in an attempt to flush out a shady
Frenchman (Mathieu Kassovitz). The mundane job takes a turn for
the interesting when she finds the aforementioned Chinese
murdered. Suddenly, everyone’s playing “kill the scapegoat”... and
she’s it.
Keeping up? No matter, because Mallory is drilling her story into a terrified teenager (Michael Angarano) whose car she has
commandeered in snowy upstate New York following an unhappy reunion with one of her old Barcelona teammates
(Channing Tatum). The most sensible option would be to make like Mulder and trust no one. Except, maybe, her dear old
soldier-turned-author dad (Bill Paxton) who hides out in his wilderness home like an all-American Andy McNab.

While Carano busts heads aplenty - most impressively while taking a couple of armed Irish Garda to the (dry) cleaners and
showing Fassbender who’s boss in the bedroom – Haywire never runs amok. There’s nothing wildly original about
screenwriter Lem Dobbs' plot, but it offers some good hiding places for Soderbergh to spring his surprises. Like Cato in the
Clouseau movies, the action comes out
of nowhere.

From Run Lola Run-style foot pursuits to one
of the longest car-reversing scenes in history,
even the chase sequences are unpredictable.
The greatest revelation, however, is Carano.
Physically, her casting was a no-brainer. But
where so many sporting champs turn out to be
dramatic chumps, this is a supremely confident
debut from a talent who packs charisma like
her punches. She'll go far.

It helps that her more experienced co-stars are
so generous in support. Given their refusal to
chew scenery, the smattering of interesting
locations, and David Holmes’ smooth score,
Haywire is as laid-back as action flicks get.