Monday, January 30, 2012


Over the last two decades, Steven Soderbergh has proven himself to be the most versatile and chameleon-like film director currently working. He can jump from genre to genre, tell a great story, while still keeping his trademark style at the forefront. In the past, he's made slick heist movies (the Ocean's 11 series), sweeping crime epics (Traffic), a science fiction romance (Solaris), tiny improvised independent films (Bubble), and so on. Just four months ago, he gave us an apocalyptic medical thriller with Contagion. What I'm saying is, you could find a Steven Soderbergh film in just about every Netflix category. I suppose that's why he plans on retiring a few movies down the road.

Haywire is Steven Soderbergh's martial arts movie, starring MMA fighter Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a mercenary on the run from her employers who set her up for a fall. There's more of a story, but that's kind of all you need to know. She kicks lots of ass and tells her story to a 19 year old kid she takes with her. It's like a smart, slick, and stylized Steven Seagal movie, but with a hot girl mercifully put in Seagal's place.

Gina Carano is not an actor (or wasn't before this), but she did alright. She did better than I probably would have done if I ever tried acting. I thought she was better in some scenes than she was in others, which made me wonder if her better scenes were the ones that were the ones that were shot later on. Soderbergh wisely surrounds her with a lot of big talent, including Bill Paxton as her military father, Ewan MacGregor and Antonio Banderas as those plotting against her, Michael Douglas as the government man who hired them, and Michael Fassbender as a British agent she must work with.

I liked Haywire. It's not one of Steven Soderbergh's best works, but you can tell he's having a good time, and I found it infectious. Lots of cool camerawork, great editing, and a funky Out of Sight-esque score by that movie's same composer, David Holmes. The action sequences are really cool too, choreographed to play to Gina Carano's strengths as an MMA fighter. I'm not sure if this movie made a star out of her, but I bet she'll continue to find work based on it.

I'll always gladly go see a Steven Soderbergh movie upon release. I hope his talk of retirement is just talk. I hope he takes a couple years off, gets bored and comes back to filmmaking. I'm sure there are still a couple of minor subgenres he hasn't tackled yet.

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