All I ever want is a kickass action movie with a kickass lady at the center that doesn’t get bogged down in stupid romance or sexism or boring parts. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THIS IS TO FIND. (Side note: give me recommendations, as usual.) Thankfully that inscrutable trickster Steven Soderbergh stepped up to the plate with Haywire. American Gladiator Gina Carano stars as Mallory, a tough-as-nails secret agent/assassin-type-thing who is betrayed by her own people and thrust into a deadly international chase. Told primarily in flashbacks as she narrates her tale to a half-terrified, half-turned-on dude (Michael Angarano) she’s sort of carjacking, the story moves through several missions and countries, all with their own bloody fistfights, until the asshole who sold Mallory out is identified.
Packed with crazy action scenes, an impressive cast, and lots of intrigue, Haywire is basically the perfect thriller. The narrative is complex enough to keep me interested but never gets in the way of the wonderfully intense action. There are multiple chase scenes, lots of expertly choreographed hand-to-hand combat sequences, and some awesome sneak attacks. Nothing is over-directed, there’s no shaky-cam or frenetic close-ups that only serve to confuse the audience and mask a lack of imagination. The story clips along at a good pace, allowing enough quiet moments for character exposition but never really losing its momentum.
Ok so sure this movie has Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, and now I finally know who Channing Tatum is, but I can’t even pretend to give a shit about ANY of them when Gina Carano is on screen. Have you seen this woman? She is spectacular. My god. She’s charismatic, stunning, chic, and just fucking radiates badassery. And she will just beat the shit out of EVERYTHING and there’s NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. I can’t even. Ugh. Star in every action movie, please.
Admittedly the ending gets a little dragged-out, and there’s a moment of super shitty CGI, but otherwise I had very few problems with Haywire. There is a trace of a romantic subplot but it barely even registers, and there’s never any lost time with boring mushy stuff. It’s just all kickass action. Bam.
Pair This Movie With: For another recent awesome, badass lady action hero, I was pretty taken with Hanna. Alternatively you can go the more grindhousey route with something like Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones, Faster, Pussycat!, or newer throwbacks like Planet Terror.