20 January 2012
Action | Thriller
Action movies are not altogether the same from one type or another, neither are action movie heroes. Then again, there aren’t many action movie heroines save for those who bulk up with muscle and just try to act more like men. Then there’s Gina Carano, a former women’s MMA contender and American Gladiator. You may not know this 145-lb beauty yet, but her athletic skill and gorgeous appearance have given her a chance at Hollywood in the new Universal Pictures release “Haywire”.
Carano stars as Mallory, a former Marine turned private contractor for rescues and extractions. She is hired to help rescue a Chinese journalist and place him in the care of a man named Rodrigo, played by Antonio Banderas (The Skin I Live In, Puss in Boots). The job, set in Barcelona, has some hiccups but in the end works out as planned. It’s during this time she gets close to her teammate Aaron, a jock-type Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 21 Jump Street) but after one night of romance they go their separate ways. Only later when Mallory thinks she is off the hook she is approached by her employer Kenneth, played by Ewan McGregor (The Men Who Stare at Goats, Beginners). He has another job for her already, and he desperately needs only her for it. Her new mission is to meet up with MI5 agent Paul, played by (A Dangerous Method, Shame) and pose as his wife at a luxurious party, nothing more. She agrees, and all the time she is monitoring his cell phone with a tracking device. Smart move, because he inadvertently leads her to a shack where she finds the Chinese journalist with a bullet in his head. Now Mallory knows this is a setup, and by the end of the night someone will probably be dead.
Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion) likes to make his films deliberately paced and not filled with over-the-top grandeur, which is how he treats this action movie. Most of the camera moves are stationary save for some momentary pans or tilts. The music keeps things going but doesn’t dominate the picture. For a while the film seems like a series of chase sequences with stops only to explain more of the conspiracy against our girl. So in short, this movie feels like “The Bourne Identity” with a female lead and less intrigue. However, Carano can really hold her own and kick ass while still being feminine and elegant (check out her ballroom dress!). With such a male-dominated movie, and male-dominated movie genre, she is perfectly cast for the role and even outshines the likes of actors Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, and Mathieu Kassovitz.
“Haywire” is kind of a standard action thriller with some good moments but Gina Carano is the real reason to watch this. There needs to be more strong female leads in the movies, and I for one was rooting her on the whole time. I’d also like to see her in more upcoming films.