I had a DVD delivery from my Lovefilm list yesterday; Steven Soderbergh‘s ‘Haywire‘. With the wife out for the night (getting cold & wet camping with her Girl Guides group in the glorious Cheshire countryside) I settled down and popped the DVD in for a good bit of espionage, action and intrigue.
The basic premise is pretty straight forward – Spy for hire Mallory is engaged by the Government for under the radar ops. Everything is dandy until, whoops, one op goes wrong and Mallory has to go on the run and investigate the truth behind the events surrounding her operation going “haywire” – many hi jinks ensue.
On paper this film has buckets of potential. Right out of the gate it’s got quite a cast of faces – Ewan MacGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Channing Tatum along with action-belle newcomer Gina Carano. It’s got a hip and stylish director in Soderbergh and a seasoned pro of a writer in Lem Dodds. (the writer of ‘Dark City’ and ‘The Score’; both of which I found to be very enjoyable.) The premise is tried and tested to make for good, gritty action and I’ve always liked a strong, kick-ass female lead in this sort of setting. (Although I largely find the best female action leads are in television than in movies.)
But that’s on paper. In reality this film is dull, dull, dull.
Every single one of the aforementioned cast dials in a wooden, outrageously bad performance. It’s embarrassing. There were many instances through the film when I cringed as they delivered crappy line after crappy line with little evident skill at all, it’s as if none of them have acted in anything other than village hall Am-Dram and have had all the emotion sucked out of them. As for the bright new talent of Gina Carano showcased in ‘Haywire’ – she is surely destined to fizzle out and disappear into direct-to-DVD action movies sold in pound shops, probably only showing the briefest spark of upgraded celebrity when she “leaks” a sex tape or takes a cheque from Hugh Hefner. She’s that bad; it’s like watching a limp and motionless puppet. I did not care one bit if her character lived or died.
All of this is helped in no way by the ploddy, ridiculous plot and truly dodgy direction. All of the furious and brutal hand to action the movie was marketed on turns out to be tedious, flat and utterly lacking in any verve or energy whatsoever. I swear – somehow Soderbergh makes the film feel like it slows down during the action scenes. The plot is full of massive holes; character motivations go largely unexplained, events happen that have little or no relevance to the narrative at all, and the ending is abrupt & unsatisfying. Two apes could have written and directed a more comprehensive and satisfying piece of work than this nonsense.
Seriously – I’m not certain I know enough ways of expressing “dull” and “boring” to get me through this blog post. I actually feel a little aggrieved to have used a rental queue spot on it. IMDB has it rated at 6/10 – who the hell gave it anything more than a 4? I’ve plenty of perfectly satisfying 6/10 actioners that were perfect for a Saturday night but this isn’t one of them. This flick should be prescribed as a non-narcotic treatment for insomniacs.
I can’t find one good thing to say about ‘Haywire’ at all, and shall not use any more space on it – please avoid and re-watch a Bourne or Casino Royale instead.
- Review: Haywire (2011) (thefilmoracle.wordpress.com)
- Haywire (2011) by Steven Soderbergh (vertigostare.wordpress.com)
- Haywire ~ USA, 2011 ~ DVD (chazzw.wordpress.com)