Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs collaborated a dozen years ago on one of my favourite films, The Limey; an unusually thoughtful revenge film. Haywire dials up the action, introducing martial arts champion Gina Carano as a soldier for hire seeking revenge on her ex-boss. The supporting cast is impressive, including Michael Douglas, Ewen McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum.
Like The Limey, Haywire has a relentless through-line that is a pleasure to watch even if we know where it’s going. Carano is a solid leading presence and I hope she continues to find onscreen work if she wants it. Like many of Soderbergh’s other films, the camera travels through warm and lush locations. The score in parts is so similar to that of Soderbergh’s Solaris that I assumed the composers were the same, but they are not.
I do wonder if it is a bit unseemly that Carano’s nemesis is her ex-lover as well as her ex-employer, because it’s hard to imagine a film where that happens when the genders are reversed. Is it strength when Carano (or Zoe Saldana in Colombiana) is sexually aggressive onscreen, or is it just titillation? Can we really see a woman as an action hero the way that we see James Bond?
I hope so. I don’t think we are there yet, but if anyone can take us there, it might be Gina Carano.