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HAYWIRE (director/writer: Steven Soderbergh; screenwriter: Lem Dobbs; cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh; editor: Steven Soderbergh; music: David Holmes; cast: Gina Carano (Mallory Kane), Ewan McGregor (Kenneth), Michael Fassbender (Paul), Michael Douglas (Coblenz), Channing Tatum (Aaron), Antonio Banderas (Rodrigo), Bill Paxton (Mr. John Kane), Michael Angarano (Scott), Mathieu Kassovitz (Studer), Anthony Brandon Wong (Jiang); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Gregory Jacobs; Lionsgate; 2011)

If you’re a fan of the action-thriller genre,Soderbergh superbly nails what thrills it takes for those films to workso well.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Talented director Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”/”Magic Mike”/”Contagion”)co-writes with Lem Dobbs and does movie magic with thehackneyed double-cross of secret agents plot line to re-invent the low-concept B-film genre for his own devious artistic purposes, while using the same stale plot line. Soderbergh takes us on a roller coaster ride and creates a well-acted, technically proficient and highly enjoyable slick Hollywood thriller, that couldn’t be more familiar to a mainstream audience. It refreshingly stars mixed martial arts superstar and “American Gladiators” cast member Gina Carano, who in her film debut gives a kickass performance as she gloriously fights her way through the pic with original live or die savage fight scenes as a freelance black-ops agent for a government security contractor.Carano performs her own stunts. If you’re a fan of the action-thriller genre,Soderbergh superbly nails what thrills it takes for those films to workso well.

Ex-Marine Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a respected and efficient covert-ops specialist who is part of a team that frees Chinese journalist Jiang from being held hostage in a safe house in Barcelona, to only find that her slimy ex-boyfriend and private contractor boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) sets her up on a Dublin operation to be whacked by MI 6 agent Paul (Michael Fassbender). Mallory shows her fighting skills by taking down Paul’s surprise assault in a luxury Dublin hotel and then after escaping from Dublin contacting the American security contractor boss Coblenz (Michael Douglas). He’s the sneaky agent head who led the Barcelona rescue operation and should know why the double-cross.

In snowy upstate New York, Mallory in a rural diner punches the living daylights out of colleague Aaron (Channing Tatum), who is tracking her down for Kenneth and escapes a police trap by car jacking a diner patron’s (Michael Angarano) car.

Before turning the tables on her enemies, Mallory visits the only one she trusts: her action writer former Marine dad (Bill Paxton), living in an isolated mountain-top lodge in New Mexico.

Things get clearer about why the double-cross, as the characters of Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) and Studer (Mathieu Kassovitz) are expanded.

I found it as much fun as any Hitchcock or James Bond thriller, and I’m willing to bet that Carano could take out most male action stars in a real combat scene.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”