January is the month of the year usually reserved for Oscar bait trying to make one last run at a gold statue. I guess the award winning director of the Ocean's Franchise, Steven Soderbergh, never got the memo. Soderbergh, who oftentimes has a unique way of doing things, will introduce his latest piece of action work, Haywire, to the general masses this upcoming weekend. While attempting to tackle the "covert ops revenge" genre with former female mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, it's apparent that Soderbergh has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Haywire centers around Mallory Kane (played by Carano), a covert operative who's often hired out by Kenneth (played by McGregor) to handle various jobs for governments who can't openly be connected to a situation. Whether it be a rescue mission or an assassination, Mallory is the one you want. After returning from a job in Barcelona, Kenneth immediately dispatches Mallory to another mission in Dublin. But when her latest mission becomes botched and she discovers that she's been double crossed, Mallory returns to the U.S. to seek vengeance on those who betrayed her.
Years from now we may be thanking director Steven Soderbergh for introducing us to the action star Gina Carano. The former MMA fighter turned actress delivers a knock out performance in the high octane thriller Haywire. Carano's major motion picture debut is an obvious success and, given that she does all of her own stunts, even more credit must be sent her way. Without sounding too sexist, it can be difficult for a director to convince general audiences to buy into a tough girl lead character. However, Carano's on screen work should quiet all the naysayers as she delivers the role to perfection. In addition to Carano, Soderbergh once again offers a remarkably star-studded cast. Haywire see's a variety of roles from the likes of Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum. Perhaps the most surprising supporting role comes at the hands of Channing Tatum. Tatum, who has an extensive history of lackluster performances, gives his best work to date. Haywire's entire cast does a stellar job of allowing an overdone premise to resonate with audiences.
On the flip side, Haywire still has a handful of flaws. In conjunction with it's unoriginal back story, the film feels like a mashed up set of ideas. Built more for its action than it's plot, Haywire feels very one dimensional. It draws influence from other action hits such as the Bourne trilogy and Taken, but never quite reaches their heights. Even with the aid of Soderbergh's crafty camera skills and direction, Haywire still has a noticeable ceiling.
From its opening moments to the closing credits, Haywire is an action packed ride that's sure to entertain. You'll feel bombarded by its incredibly choreographed fight scenes, and the shock of Carano's character slugging it out with men twice her size never wears thin. It goes without question that you'll be glued to the screen throughout the film's rapid hour and a half duration. Although Haywire will never be more than an intense, fun-filled display of action, it still manages to claw past the realm of mediocrity. If you're an action junkie, then this is one worth checking out.