"Survival of the Fittest"
What You Need To Know:
Real-life mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano stars in HAYWIRE in an impressive debut. Supporting her efforts is a high-class cast of actors led by Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, and Antonio Banderas, directed by Steven Soderbergh. HAYWIRE is very well made with lots of stunning action thrills and a great score, but little is explained about the motivations of the people trying to kill the likeable heroine. Thus, the movie basically comes down to a tale of survival of the fittest. HAYWIRE also contains plenty of violence and some foul language and sexual innuendo, so extreme caution is advised.
(HH, B, LL, VVV, S, N, A, MM) Strong implied humanist worldview with some light moral elements when rescuing a Chinese dissident where a female agent working for a company suddenly has to defend herself against the minions sent by her double-crossing boss to kill her, so the movie seems to come down to an amoral survival of the fittest storyline; 10 obscenities (including one “f” word) and four mostly strong profanities; very strong violence (but not gory or bloody) includes tough punching, kicking, and martial arts fighting between the female heroine and a former male fellow agent in a diner, coffee thrown at heroine’s face, character smashed in head with bottle during fight, man knocked unconscious when his head hits metal stool, some gunshots, car chase through the woods destroys plenty of trees, Chinese dissident rescued from kidnapping, gunshots and gunfights, woman knocked out with metal object, extensive fight in a hotel room destroying doors and furniture, point blank shooting, foot chase across rooftops, woman kills or knocks out various men in another extensive fight scene, fighting on beach, and villain left in tide pool to drown; some sexual innuendo and implied sex such as discussion about woman’s past relationship with her boss, heroine kisses a male colleague passionately and undoes his belt after a successful mission, implying they are about to have sexual relations, and villain on beach has a bikini-clad woman lying on top of him and feeding him strawberries while giggling; upper male nudity and women in bikinis; alcohol use and one man discusses his bad hangover and asks a waitress futilely for beer for breakfast; no smoking or drugs; and, multiple double-crosses.
HAYWIRE is a fast-paced, adrenaline-charged action movie. There’s not much of a plot, just a string of exciting action sequences and intense fighting scenes. Though exciting and well made, little is explained about the real motivations of the villains, and the movie becomes an amoral exercise in survival of the fittest.
In the story, a female special operations agent named Mallory (real-life mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano in an impressive debut) is set up to take the fall after a Chinese dissident she rescued from a kidnapping is killed by the people who hired her. She goes on the run across the planet, from Dublin and Barcelona to New Mexico and the woods of Colorado, alternating impressive fights, chases, and other stunt work with a high-class cast led by Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, and Antonio Banderas.
At the center of it all, Carano is an impressive force of nature, able to do anything the top male action stars can do and then some. She is also gorgeous and handles her rare quiet moments solidly, creating one of the more impressive debut performances in recent years. Director Steven Soderbergh employs a number of stylized shots and locations throughout the movie, while also not layering in any politically correct or anti-American plot elements, as he occasionally does in other films. The tight script by Lem Dobbs jumps the action around the planet and across multiple time frames in the tradition of Quentin Tarantino, but most impressive of all is the fantastic score by David Holmes, who counterpoints the action scenes with a propulsive mix of jazz, orchestration, and heavy grooves that are thrilling to hear.
HAYWIRE is very well made with lots of stunning action thrills, but, as noted above, little is explained about the motivations of the people trying to kill the likeable heroine. The movie also contains plenty of violence and some foul language and sexual innuendo, so extreme caution is advised. The new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie still playing, GHOST PROTOCOL, is just as exciting but more family friendly, so it’s a better choice.