Two things on my somewhat large list of things I hate in cinema are the overseas depiction of the Irish, and sports entertainment endorsed films. The former can best be summed up by the god awful Leap Year, which had stuff harking back to the D'arby O Gill days, and a trailer which depicted Cardiff as within driving distance to Dublin (no joke, look at the link!). It also depicted women as if they were from the older times too, since when was it a law for women to only be allowed propose on the 29th Feb?
Also you have to be married to go to a B & B, god help they may have sex outside marriage! the times we live in...
The entertainment sports is the other sore spot, most transitions are just horrible, particularly basketball stars like Shaq and Michael Jordan, they just cannot pull off good leads for their life. the WWE has a hit and miss record, hitting where Dwayne Johnson stars, and missing with pretty much every other superstar of the last decade, Steve Austin perhaps an exception in the Expendables, but its been a bad line up. Take Hulk Hogan's performance in Suburban Commando.
Which brings us to Haywire, Steven Soderbergh's latest action film with a large portion set in Dublin, and starring MMA star Gina Carano. this has the recipe for disaster out the gates for the afformentioned reasons, but here's something I didn't think I would say once the credits rolled...
Its not that bad.
It has an effective score throughout, makes the most of the Heroines abilities in the ring, and is the first overseas film in quite some time to not depict the Irish as leprechauns. While the star studded cast do help as side characters, it focuses on Carano, and ONLY Carano. Its a bit of a fault not to develop the baddies a bit more, even when you have the likes of Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum taking the roles in varying shades of evil. But keeping on the protagonist is not a bad thing when she kicks ass and then runs along the rooftops like Ezio Auditore every time she has to. She is not a bad lead in the slightest, only talking when needed, and letting the moves do the talking, a great performance.
Carano is a part of a PMC of sorts that solves some terrorist problems around the world behind the scenes. She starts off in Barcelona, then sticks around in Dublin before going to various parts of North America, be it the snowy borders or Mexican beaches. Tatum helps out in Barcelona, and Michael Fassbender helps out in Dublin, acting like a mix of his secret agent in Inglorious Basterds, and the man who swims to New York to say sorry in the Guinness ad. shortly after her oirish adventure she finds herself on the run and must clear her name and kill all the baddies for some reason that is too clever for its own good, it had me muddled.
If there is a major criticism to be had at the film, its a lack of consistent pacing or build up. The first half is flashbacks and the second is followed by the american trips, but it keeps going back and forward, so its hard to focus on the grand scheme of things. Also there is no real final ending or build up, it just drags over the guts of 20 minutes rather than go out with a bang. Its like a horrible kind of tantric sex, only to realise you have to wait ages for the actual thing, and by then all feeling is gone, so what was the point in building up to a 'final ' scenario if the the real one was 20 minutes down the road?
It tries to surprise, with the first scene showing the viewer whats to come, but luckily the director realised that this is a straight up action film, not a thriller, and keeps shocking moments away afterwards. He sticks with a lot of beat em' upping, and some strange sense of cool throughout, though this may have to do with the excellent score by David Holmes.
The end result; it tries a bit too hard to be clever, but if you want to just see some asskicking from a woman to loads of action stars in a non-Leprechaun Dublin, then this is the film for you. Give it a pass if you want to see some smarter film at work
+Great lead performance
+Strange sense of cool from the score
+Fassbenders abs (im not gay!)
-Side characters underdeveloped
-No grand finale