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.
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.