Tuesday, June 19, 2012


2011, US, directed by Steven Soderbergh

Crisp, quick and ultimately rather forgettable, Haywire is another of Soderbergh's films that functions rather better as a concept than a final film -- with the concept here presumably being to ask what it might be like to cast a person with genuine action skills, in the person of MMA champ Nina Carano, as an action hero, thus eliminating all that messy stand-in work. Carano's more than adequate as a performer -- the mainstream action films hardly make many demands of their stars anyway, and few enough of them have the balls-to-the-wall conviction of a Bruce Willis, who manages to invest everything with a little extra vim -- and the plot is brisk enough, if rather obviously a Bourne knockoff, with Ewan McGregor doing his best to exude menace. In the end I found myself more taken with Soderbergh's sojourn in Dublin, where he makes geographically accurate use of the capital to stage several fine sequences, than with the substance of his film; Soderbergh rather undercuts his central concept anyway by casting Michael Fassbender for one of the film's key fights, and I couldn't tell whether it was Fassbender himself, or his stand-in, doing the punching and grunting, but still enjoyed the sequence.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States