HAYWIRE – Review by Susan Granger

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As the story goes, when director Steven Soderbergh was watching “American Gladiators” on television one evening, during a bout of women’s mixed martial arts fighting, he was so impressed by 29 year-old, raven-haired Gina Carano that he decided to develop a grim revenge thriller with screenwriter Lem Dobbs (“The Limey), casting Carano as a globetrotting lethal operative.

Introduced in a prologue at a rural roadside diner in snowy upstate New York where she has a confrontation with Aaron (Channing Tatum), another hired assassin, Mallory Kane (Carano) is a freelance black-ops who seeks vengeance when she realizes that those whom she has trusted have double-crossed her, placing her life in jeopardy. Working for a shadowy, private sector agency run by her nerdy ex-boyfriend, Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), she’s sought after by a high-placed government operative named Coblenz (Michael Douglas). A specialist in international intrigue, Mallory’s previous covert assignment – to rescue a kidnapped Chinese dissident held hostage in Barcelona – went terribly wrong, as she relates to Scott (Michael Angarano), whose car she’s hijacked. Revealed in a flashback, that fiasco is somehow connected with a brawl in a Dublin hotel, where Mallory and a suspicious client, Kenneth (Michael Fassbender), decimate the furniture. So now, Mallory Kane is paranoid. Basically, the only person she trusts is her ex-Marine-turned-fiction writer dad (Bill Paxton), living in New Mexico.

Although she has yet to develop her acting talent, certainly tough, strong Gina Carano’s physical presence puts her in a kick-ass warrior category with Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill”) and Angelina Jolie (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Salt”). So instead of emoting, Carano excels in an inordinate number of action-packed street/alley chase sequences in which Soderbergh stylishly photographs Carano sprinting from a myriad of angles. Soderbergh has done this before, like when he cast porn star Sasha Grey as a New York call girl in “The Girlfriend Experience.” Yet it’s too bad there’s not even a shred of humor.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Haywire” is a fierce, ferocious 5, filled with relentless, kinetic, if senseless, violent mayhem.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.