In the globe-hopping Haywire, Mallory Kane (Gina Carano, pictured) is a black-ops agent who, mid-job, finds herself the victim of a set-up. One of her associates has put the black mark on her; now, how quickly can she take one, two or maybe more out? "I don't like loose ends," she says — movie code for a high body count.
Carano is a star on the mixed-martial-arts circuit. She does her own body work, and it's no surprise that her fists, feet, knees and thighs are employed as weapons. (Also making cameos as weapons are: coffee pot, assorted guns, serving tray, vase, lamp, security shutters, high-heeled shoe, elastic strap and ocean.)
Director Steven Soderbergh has famously shifted between arthouse films ("one for me") and mainstream fare ("one for them"). But Haywire is no Ocean's Eleven or Out of Sight. This reputed actioner is talk-talk-run-talk, punctuated by Carano beating the hell out of some guy. Mark it as "one for Gina's fans."
Carano can rock a hoodie or a cocktail dress, and brawl like a pro, but she's awkwardly paired with a slew of better actors: Ewan MacGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas. Her scenes with man-candy Tatum Channing, though, reveal what a B-movie this really is.
The pulp-novel plot is thin and confusing, with the story beginning in the middle. Characters and relationships are never properly explained. I gave up after 40 minutes and made do with: She's trying to kill people, but other people are trying to kill her.