Monday, January 23, 2012


Director: Steven Soderberg
Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, and Antonio Banderas

It's upsetting that I'm feeling like I might have to adjust my expectations with certain movies.  I was really, really looking forward to this movie but I was in a realistic place about it.  I knew that the main star, Gina Carano, is not an actress.  I knew that Soderberg saw her fight (if you don't know-she's an MMA fighter) and had this desire to make a movie with a female lead and not have to cut to a stunt double.  I knew that in order for him to pull this off he'd have to fill the movie with solid, well-known actors.  I knew that he'd have to use a solid script and not give an actress with little to no experience dialoge she couldn't handle.  I knew he'd have to rely on the techniques that make a Soderberg movie a Soderberg movie.  I knew this.  I knew this deep down inside.  I knew this and I was wrong...but only on a few counts.

What didn't work
Carano.  I so wanted her to be better than she was.  She was terribly wooden when she wasn't kicking someone's ass.  I'll give you an example of what could have been different.  She's telling her story to a guy who she's kidnapped (sounds like a worse situation than it was).  It should have felt like a natural conversation between two people.  It wasn't.  It was obvious she was reciting dialogue and that took me right out of the movie.

Speaking of, the dialogue was not good.  I get that they wouldn't want to give her more than she could handle but you've got award nominated or winning actors (ok, maybe not Tatum) in your movie.  Give 'em something good to say.

What did work
The ass kicking.  It was fun to watch.  Mostly it was well-choreographed and Carano looked right at home but there were many times where it looked more choreographed than natural.  I don't know whether this is because a lot of the actors wanted to be in the brawls as much as possible and the insurance people wanted to keep them out of the hospital.  The fight scene that makes the movie worth watching is the one with Michael Fassbender in the hotel room.  I loved hearing every punch land and in a real way.  Ok, so you know how when someone gets punched in a movie it sounds like someone slaps a big side of beef?  That's not what this movie sounded like.

Speaking of, the sound and sound editing was stellar.  You might be thinking to yourself, "What the heck is she talking about? Sound editing?  Really?"  YES!  Really.  The use of sound in Haywire was almost as good as Soderberg's use of film stock (which varies greatly in color).  When people were talking, that's all you heard.  When they were fighting, that's all you heard.  When there was music there were no people talking or fighting.  Or they may have been talking or fighting or shooting but you didn't need to hear it.  Instead you heard what Soderberg wanted you to hear.  Sure, it was pretty much the same music from the Ocean's movies but it's fun and stylistic and moves the scene along.

The last thing that worked was the deer. 

I just want to publicly apologize to my friend Jenna.  She and I have equally bad taste in movies and I feel like the good ones we see together are terribly overshadowed by the bad ones.

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