Feature

Haywire

In Steven Soderbergh's new thriller, a covert operative and martial arts expert seeks revenge on former bosses who double-crossed her.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
R

***

Steven Soderbergh is a master filmmaker “whose work moves almost eagerly” between styles, said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. While Haywire, his first foray into martial arts, may have “no lasting significance,” it’s still a pleasure seeing an A-list director taking the trouble to make “a first-rate genre thriller.” To give the film’s fight scenes an extra kick, Soderbergh enlisted former mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano to star­—as a black ops agent seeking revenge on former bosses who’ve betrayed her. “Carano doesn’t do a lot of what you’d call acting—just monotone line readings,” said Bill Goodykoontz in The Arizona Republic. Yet Soderbergh makes her flat demeanor a strength, letting Carano communicate through sheer physicality. As for her fighting skills, she “kicks butt, plain and simple.” Haywire’s fleet screenplay “doesn’t get bogged down in psychology or humanizing backstories,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. The film “simply gives audiences what they came to see: bruising fight sequences set up and executed with economy, skill, and one or two genuine jaw-dropping jolts.”

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