By Justine Ashley Costanza
The current pool of film releases boosts some seriously kick-ass females, “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” and “Underworld: Awakening” come to mind. Yet watch the previews that lead into these movies and it’s clear that when it comes to the film industry, women still have a long way to go. Countless quick cuts of barely clothed actresses and dismemberment, the act of focusing on specific body parts, are proof that studio execs are still catering to the male perspective. After watching ‘Haywire’, it’s clear that Steven Soderbergh skipped the seemingly mandatory ‘Objectification 101’ course in film school. He did however attend ‘Intro to Tarantino’, and learned that opening a film in a diner is wicked cool.
The film follows Mallory (former fighting champ, Gina Carano), a former marine/super soldier who is on the run after being framed for a double-murder in both Barcelona and Dublin. After a bad-ass fight with her former co-worker (with benefits), Aaron (Channing Tatum) one of two things becomes clear. First, there are few she can trust. Second, coffee and bar stools make for suitable weapons. She flees with the help of an innocent bystander (a hilariously awkward Michael Angarano) and recounts her story of deception and betrayal.
We learn that Mallory, a freelance covert operative, is contracted by the government to perform what leaders of the free world must turn a blind eye to. Her boss (and sometime lover) Ewan McGregor coordinates with governmental agent, Coblenz (Michael Douglas) and his contact Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) to carry out the rescue of an innocent hostage. For the mission that follows, she poses as the glamorous wife of a British agent, Paul (Michael Fassbender). This makes for some sexy exchanges and eventually leads to a hotel flight that’s likely hotter than any sex scene out there. To say more would be an injustice to Lem Dobb’s boldly written screenplay, which provides intriguing twists without falling into a trap of convolution.
“Haywire” recalls why “The Matrix” was so distinguishing. It captured the beauty of martial arts without decorative pomp. “Haywire” does the same. Music is absent from the fight scenes, as the audience is meant to focus on the genius of each motion. We’ve seen how a great film can be ruined by unnecessarily graphic violence, i.e “Drive”, but “Haywire” spares us of guts and gore. It’s riveting, suspenseful, and displays a degree of humor so rare for the genre.