Film Review: Haywire

Given the talented cast and director involved with this project, Haywire is a disappointing film. At best, the film is mildly entertaining, although it never really engages the viewer.

Mallory Kane is a freelance operative, working for a company that hires out her services to government and other powerful figures. After a mission goes wrong, Mallory discovers that she has been betrayed. On the run, Mallory must find out the truth and fight to stay alive…

Haywire is very much a by-the-numbers action thriller, offering little innovation or surprise. The narrative is predictable, with the flashback format doing little to alleviate this. Haywire features the usual themes of double crosses and omnipotent agencies, which is fine but for the lack of development or decent storytelling. Moreover, anyone who has seen the Haywire trailer will have had the movie ruined as it gives everything away.

The only thing that distinguishes Haywire from a plethora of similar action films is its choice of protagonist. It would be refreshing to have a female hero at the centre of Haywire if the depiction of her character was not so lacklustre. Apart from the fact that she is a good-looking female, everything about Mallory suggests stereotypically male traits. She uses force to fight back against her male antagonists, rather than having to use ingenuity. Her seduction, for want of a better word, of one of the male characters is also very masculine. Mallory is the only female in the film except for a few extras, yet she is a man in all but gender.

Characters in Haywire are barely developed. Mallory’s relationship with her father is presumably meant to humanise her, but does little to endear the audience to her character. Similarly, Kenneth and Aaron are too one-dimensional for the audience to care about.

Performances in the film are fine. Gina Carano does a decent job as Mallory, excelling in the fight sequences. Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas are given little to do in their narrow roles. Director Steven Soderbergh appears to think that quirky angles are enough to make a straightforward action thriller.

Haywire is not painful viewing, but neither is it particularly enjoyable. Give it a miss.