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Released 20 January 2012
Director Steven Soderbergh

Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender,Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas
Writer(s) Lem Dobbs
Producer(s) Gregory Jacobs
Origin United States
Running Time 93 minutes
Genre Action, thriller
Rating 15A

Let it entertain you.

Gun for hire Mallory Kane finds herself increasingly on the wrong side of the law after a seeming rescue operation goes awry. Her subsequent framing sends her on an international jaunt for justice with a tinge of revenge from Barcelona to the US, Dublin then onto Canada in a confounding world of double crossing spies.

Taking tropes from the spy film and espionage thriller, Haywire sits comfortably in a genre where being called a b-movie isn't a criticism. In fact, an appellation like b-movie only increases the barmy breadths to which Soderbergh can stretch his story into an ever entertaining and creatively cranked up caper. With a pace that hits like a deftly swung kick, Haywire connects from the start and its spy fiction flair leaves you in little doubt that 'undercover' is just a byword for unabashed violence.

Continuing a trend for atypical casting that however notable didn't begin with his use of pornstar Sasha Grey's role in The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh, this time, lays his eye on Mixed Martial Arts champion and American Gladiator Gina Carano. Weaving a film around her character Mallory Kane that suits but doesn't stretch her talents, Soderbergh makes sure she gives a suitably believable performance in a movie that harkens back to but often exceeds beloved ‘80s actioners. Often exceeds... as in however many instances Haywire nods to an ‘80s early ‘90s oeuvre of action film it also often employs a knowing wink or genre-rific extrapolation of their elements. For example the music that's so jarringly present throughout the movie drops sharply in the you-could-hear-a-pin-drop-were-it-not-for-the-sound-of-punching fight scenes accentuating the violence in a bone-crunching comic book cacophony. While a car chase hostage provides an unconventional means of exposition in flashback, so scenes cut between the equally high octane occasions and hard boiled codified spy repartee. Irish interest abounds too, and Mallory Kane having encountered spy colleague Michael Fassbender doesn't let the ass kicking abate in Dublin's fair city.

Soderbergh clearly isn't afraid to explore old ground and although it is at times more Magnum P.I. than Magnum Opus, I definitely enjoyed the many tricks Haywire had up its sleeve. My advice is to be moderately entertained!

- Cormac O’’Brien