Wednesday, 18 January 2012


What's happened to Steven Soderbergh? The man who made Out Of Sight, The Limey and Traffic seems to have been kidnapped and replaced with a Soderbot programmed to shoot potentially explosive movies with all the verve and elan of an Open University programme about the history of ironing.

Last year's Contagion was just about fine despite stepping in the odd cliché-cowpat that '90s Soderbergh would have dodged in some effortlessly stylish way, but Haywire takes a thrilling premise and drains it of anything that might raise your pulse above a steady beat. I'm not saying it's dull, but I had to imagine a shark into each shot to stop myself nodding off.
Haywire is at least notable for the talents of former mixed martial artist Gina Carano who, as an actor, is an excellent former mixed martial artist; her skill at kicking a man into small pieces is matched only by her inability to elicit any interest from the audience. Still, the kicking men bits are undeniably impressive: the kind of fights a Bond film would shamelessly rip off, but cut mostly without a score (which is good) and dispassionately shot as if they were polite disagreements in a Yorkshire tea room (which is not).

The point of shooting a fight in this way is obviously a) so we can get a good look at Carano flinging her legs around like a windmill in a hurricane and b) to demonstrate the everyday nature of a government-hired assassin killing people with her thighs, but in successfully conveying the mundanity of femur-based assassination it just comes across as, well, mundane, and there's little else in the film to fall back on.

Perhaps aware that Carano might not be able to carry the film by herself, the Soderbot surrounds her with a dream supporting cast, some of which get to share a tumble with her, but most of which he insists on enforcing the banality of the job by having them either stand around and not do much, or sit around and not do much. Antonio Banderas sits around and strokes his magnificent beard, the mighty Bill Paxton bimbles about a house experimenting with both sitting around and standing around, while Michael Douglas is just looking for some breasts to point at.
If you can get past all that and Ewan McGregor's appalling haircut maybe you'll enjoy Haywire, but don't hold your breath for the Soderbot's next film, Magic Mike, which stars Channing "Po" Tatum and Alex Pettyfer as strippers. At least Matthew McConaughey's in it to add authenticity.


  1. The Incredible Wired Suit's reviews are full of irony. Bond in Betty's tea room in Harrogate is quite a departure from Gina's martial arts. (Is Jeremy Irons a guest lecturer at the OU).

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  3. The only feeble connection I can see between kevin21's haywire comment and the movie is that Soderbergh heard Gina Carano's recorded voice, said "No cigar" and had it altered in post production. Perhaps The Incredible Smoking Jacket could make kevin21 by Photoshopping cigars into all the mouths in the publicity shots.

  4. RIP Kodak that got overexposed as everything positive in film developed negative. It could not be fixed and has rolled up. What Wratten luck.