A top-billed director, a modest budget and a list of stars as long as your proverbial arm still couldn’t save Haywire from tanking at the U.S. box-office.
Where sometimes Soderbergh’s indie-infused charms turn an outwardly straight-forward crime escapade in something unique and truly magical (‘Out of Sight’ being the case in point), here it seemed to just miss the mark with audiences who stayed away in droves.
Which is a shame, because Haywire, Soderbergh’s second collaboration with screenwriter Lem Dobbs (after their 1999, similarly themed revenge flick, ‘The Limey’) really isn’t all that bad.
Trouble is, it isn’t really all that good either. It’s decidedly middle-of-the-road. Which is fine, most cinema releases these days are, but with names like Soderbergh, Banderas, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and ‘it’-man Michael Fassbender all lending their considerable talents, Haywire should have knocked our socks off.
Perhaps it was the run-of-the-mill plot that was at fault? This has government agent Mallory Kane (Gina Cararo, playing it with more believability than any female UFC fighter should be allowed to demonstrate on a debut acting endeavour) double-crossed by her superiors and takes it upon herself to find out the who’s and why’s and fulfil bloody retribution.
The real revelation here is Cararo. Not only can she throw a punch with some sense of realism (let’s not forget she gets punched and kicked in the head for a living) she does it with an undeniable charm and engagement. In short she makes anything Angelina Jolie has done in this arena look pale in comparison.
Soderbergh brings his usual retrained visual flair to the proceedings as we jet from Barcelona to Ireland then to the States, and when things do get lively, Cararo brings a brutal edge to the otherwise stock-standard fisticuffs, but ultimately it’s not enough to drag Haywire’s momentum-less corpse back into the realms of solid entertainment rather than the state of almost total inertia is was left to occupy.