HST… Film Review: Haywire

Haywire_headerHello Boys and girls!  Here at HST we are always thinking of you, and as you may have noticed we have been slowly introducing co-reviews between some of the writers here.  That’s right, we are saving you time from your obligation to read three Haywire reviews this week by only providing two on the site (and this is more of a spoiler free discussion/review)!  What?  You don’t remember signing that contract a while back.  …Don’t worry about it.  Let’s begin!

Lauren:  Who the heck is Gina Carano?  For those of us not knowledgeable when it comes to people who love to punch faces for a living, apparently she is one crazy awesome fighter.  Or at least that is what IMDB’s trivia section has led me to believe.  Basically, she is one BA individual who is capable of more than just holding her own.  And I don’t care how confident you are, after seeing Haywire you better pray that you are never looking over your raised knuckles into her eyes.

Alan:  That’s right.  Carano can really kick some ass, and she does a great job of doing that throughout the movie.  I will go as far to say that her scenes of utter badassery compensates for her lack of acting chops, because let’s be honest, we didn’t see this film for her acting.  She seemed very robotic in the way that she delivered her lines (which might have to do with some voice tampering), and when she tries to be taken seriously during some of the later scenes, it comes off as a little bit comedic.

Lauren:  Yeah… she won’t be compared to Meryl Streep at the Oscars, if she’s even invited.  Now that you mention it, I am pretty sure I spent more time in an internal monologue debating if she was pretty or not (her jaw confused me) during her dialogue, clearly trying to find excuses for her acting.  I don’t know if I would go with robotic as you do considering there wasn’t too much depth to her character to begin with, but it’s clear that she has some growing to do in that realm.

As for story, I was hoping that there would be something Bourne-esque to compliment the action, but in the end it is definitely the fight scenes that carry the film.  Each fight (other than the last one with some spastic camera work) is comparable to that amazing one-on-one battle inside Bourne’s apartment in the first film, making it obvious why they went with Carano in the end.

Alan:  Agreed.  In thinking of it, there wasn’t really any depth to any of the characters.  It was mostly this guy gets hired by that guy who hires another guy to kill Carano.  Sure, the rest of the cast is filled with A-list stars (such as Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Michael Douglas), but none of them really hold any character, or threat, to Gina Carano.  You also realize this about ten minutes into the film, as the first half of the entire movie is a flashback.  A very nice looking flashback, but one nevertheless.

Lauren:  You forgot about Antonio Banderas (must be read with Spanish accent).  I can see where you are coming from with the lack of depth, but looking back this isn’t a movie about the supporting cast, which is why they end up as punching bags on more than one occasion.  I just wish that they hadn’t used another character to manipulate us towards rooting for Carano.  Instead of giving her depth and an amount of human emotion to connect to, Michael Angarano comes in during a lot of the present day stuff, and in all honesty there was no point to his character story wise.  However, what he does is add a human element to his scenes with Carano, and though I have no idea why she is telling him all that she is, his reactions (often hilarious) make us connect with him as the viewer, thus associating her with his likeability.

And I guess Haywire was good looking…  At least when Soderbergh wasn’t going crazy with the Jaundice filter.  How yellow can a scene get?  I had major issues with this and the crazy editing of the last fight, but he was able to come up with a great feel to the film.  The music gave it this spy/film noir overtone in its playfulness, and knew exactly when it was needed.  Sometimes it was a little Run Lola Run to up the excitement of watching Carano chase down a man for the better portion of 5 minutes, other times it faded out to not distract from moments of violence, which were instead accompanied with natural sounds.  This music playing perfectly over a film that had this slight fade to it, like it was worn and timeless.  Kind of like Rian Johnson’s Brick.

Alan:  I loved the score to the movie.  It gave it a sort of throwback feel to it, which is what the film itself really was.  I would’ve liked for the music to continue on through a scene, instead of dropping out when a fight was about to happen; it really ruined the suspense portion of the film (though, if you’ve seen ANY of the commercials for it, it basically sums up the movie, so nothing is a surprise).  I actually liked the color pallet to the movie.  Yeah, there was a lot of yellow, but it wasn’t as obvious as some of his other films (The Ocean’s series and Traffic, just to name a couple).  It could’ve been a lot darker, which most spy movies would’ve, but I feel like it gave it a nice breath of fresh air.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the movies.  This is by no way an Oscar-caliber movie, but an enjoyable 90 minute action film.  Haywire is one of those movies that really works when you go see it with friends, because all you will talk about is how awesome those fight scenes are.  Mostly because I don’t think they’ll talk about the acting.

Lauren:  [Lightly grumbling] the yellow was pretty obvious a lot of the time…

I’ll agree with you on that sum up, and add that I was a little frustrated with how long it took to be filled in on what was going on.  However, I can always just fast forward to all the good stuff when I watch this in the future.

Alan’s Grade: B-

Lauren’s Grade: B (I can’t help it; it had that Ninja Assassin appeal.  Not the best movie overall and the story was pretty thin in the end, but that action is awesome!)

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