Review: Haywire



  • Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode III), and Michael Fassbender (300)
  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
  • Synopsis: “Mallory Kane is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive.” (
  • Rated: R for some violence
  • Trailer:

“Dear, Gina Carano, where were you at the casting call for SALT?”

Okay, let me come at this review in a different way than usual.

For those of you who do not know, I live in southern New Mexico in the United States (Yes, New Mexico is part of the United States…not to be confused with the nation of Mexico). My particular city of residence, though, lies approximately 50 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. As with every area of the world, there are several little characteristics that display and/or define the cultural environment of where I live.

One of those characteristics is food. (And boy, do I love the food in my area.) Mmmm! 😀

Something that I never quite understood in my area are these little lollipops with bugs inside. Have you seen them?

I’ve never tried one before (don’t fancy having a scorpion in my house, let alone my mouth)! The disturbing fact is: no matter how much sweet candy surrounds the bug, at it’s core still lies…you guessed it…a nasty bug!

Does this have a point? Yes. Yes it does.

Haywire is nothing more than a bug wrapped in a lollipop. The movie may look good, but at its core, beneath the layers, it is BAD!

Like this lollipop, Haywire may appear somewhat tasty to the moviegoers’ “film tastebuds.” Look at what it has to offer:

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, the Ocean’s trilogy, Contagion) films in his very recognizable style with limited use of music.

Veteran cast: Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender all bring with them some experience that shows onscreen.

-And even, (*WARNING* Possible heretical statement about to be made!) even Channing Tatum acted in a believable manner that I could buy in to. (Can’t believe I just said that. If some of you readers unsubscribe because of that statement, I understand…sorry.)

Gina Carano looks amazing and is the epitome of what a female action star should be. (Take notes, Angelina Jolie.)

ACTION! The action is superb and appears so realistic without the embellishments of additional pulsing music, talking/joking between the fighters, and extra amplified sound effects that have become staples in just about every spy/action flick.

But, here’s the scorpion that stings underneath those great-looking candycoated layers: the movie’s plot, acting, lack of character development/connection, and order of events make it a highly boring, and often confusing, string of scenes connected by some fantastically choreographed fight sequences and a few believable moments of dialogue.

Yes, Gina Carano can fight. and oh boy can she fight! But her acting does need work. The real acting came from the veterans in this one. But, in her defense, she did not have much to work with from the script, even as the lead. Writer, Lem Dobbs, whose last full-motion picture screenplay was 2001’s The Score, seemingly borrowed parts of the Bourne series, Salt, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, and decided to make it all one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well.

There is NO connection with the characters at all. True, it attempts to drum up some feelings between characters here and there. But ultimately, you will find yourself caring nothing for ANY of the characters and only caring about 3 things:

1- when the next fight scene comes,

2- when the end credits will roll, and

3- when you get to see Michael Fassbender or Gina Carano again.

Haywire suffers from so much going on and no development of any of it.

You will end up asking the following questions during the film: Is this in the past? Are we in present time? Wait, which guy? What was that guy’s name again? Where did Gina Carano come from? (she looks amazing) What company did what to who? How did she do that? Is that even possible? Wasn’t that the guy from that one movie? Wait, where are they now? How did we end up in Barcelona? Who was that dead guy again, and what did he do?

No, seriously. You will.

Mr. Soderbergh, while you successfully filmed this in a style all your own that allows the viewer to practically be a silent observer in the scene, your editing crew did a disservice to Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, and, yes, even Channing Tatum with this one. There’s a better story told in the trailer than there is in the movie itself.

Much like that lollipop, it was fun at the beginning and the possibility of it being great tempted me to give it a shot and stick with it. I almost left…and should have because, once I worked my way past those attractive layers, the sting of disappointment still arose.

Be warned. You may just go haywire sitting through this film. Especially if you are expecting it to be a Bourne replacement.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

Score:  2 out of 5 stars for Haywire

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”


  1. Amen! Great review. U said it more eloquently and gave it a more creative twist, but we definitely share the same comments. Although I thought Tatum was still as unbelievable and horrible as he is in any other movie…How DOES this guy keep getting roles is beyond me…smh


  2. Thanks for the review. I only want to see the movie because of Gina Carano because as you said, she knows how to fight. And she is stunning. I’ll go see it as a matinee and not pay full price, thanks to your words. thanks! ps. the ladies like Gina Carano too….especially those of us who like the ladies in general 🙂


  3. Darn! I really was thinking about seeing this too. Something about the trailer gave me pause so I ended up on the fence but I so wanted to see Michael Fassbender in something action-y. I think a director gets to a certain level and they get lazy just wanting to have fun and hoping movie-goers will just see it based on their past work. I really dislike this! Get a good story person in…be proud of your product! Anyway off my high horse, sorry…..

    Loved the review! Loved the way you wrote it with the scorpion lollipop! Cheers!


    • thank you for the compliment and taking the time to read.

      I should stop having so much hope for January movies, but I can’t help it.

      and you’re right…another example of a good director not doing all that he is good at.

      Glad you liked the review.


  4. [“Gina Carano looks amazing and is the epitome of what a female action star should be. (Take notes, Angelina Jolie.)”]

    If Jolie had any sense, she would ignore this comment. She can do decent fighting on the screen. Even better, she is ten times the actress than Carano.

    “HAYWIRE” could have been a decent movie, if it had a decent plot and actress. Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi are better with fight scenes than Carano . . . and they are dancers, not martial artists.


    • Ha! Thanks for commenting! We will have to agree to disagree on the Jolie statement. One of the biggest flaws of Salt was that there is no way you are convincing me that Jolie with her build could successfully beat up all of those trained agents. No way.

      But watch some MMA bouts of Gina’s and she def has the capability and credibility!

      Carano would take out Jolie any day of the week. 🙂


      • [“. One of the biggest flaws of Salt was that there is no way you are convincing me that Jolie with her build could successfully beat up all of those trained agents. No way.”]

        Spoken like a man.


      • I agree. Jolie isn’t the best choice of a teacher for her . . . as far as fighting skills go.

        But many of you seem to think that being able to fight is the only way to be an action star. Being able to act helps.

        Jolie may not be a better fighter than Carano. How could she? She wasn’t trained to be a martial artist. But she knows how to look good on the screen. And more importantly, she knows how to act.

        And I didn’t realize that a woman has to be of a certain height and size to be able to be a credible martial arts fighter. How incredibly sexist.


  5. I like your comparison to the lollipop, T!

    I actually really liked this film. It was very fresh and, in my opinion, very well paced and shot. Carano was a great casting choice, and her fight scenes had that extra touch of realism. For her debut film, I don’t think she did bad at all. I can appreciate why this isn’t for everyone, but I will definitely give it a rewatch when it’s out on DVD.


  6. Wow the reviews are all over the place for this movie. It seems like generally, the average moviegoer didn’t enjoy this movie at all (as the D- CinemaScore testifies) but somehow, this has a fairly high Rotten Tomatoes score. Good review T :O


  7. LOL. Lets mark this weekend down as the weekend you and I did NOT see eye to eye at ALL man.

    You couldnt overlook the super basic plot here (no argument, it sure was), while I couldn’t get past the script by numbers of Red Tails. 😀

    When you said “Let me come at this review a different way” though, I sat right up man. Nicely done… very nice. 😉

    I guess I liked the candy more then you did. Let me overlook the bug…


  8. You know, I wasn’t planning on seeing this one to begin with, so I’m glad to learn I made the right choice. I got the impression just from the trailer that this was a movie populated with a thousand stars to prop up a weak performance from an MMA fighter.

    Thanks for the review!


    • thanks for reading. Some people are really enjoying this one. Ironically, as Castor pointed out, the critics approve of this one whereas the moviegoers don’t. Interesting results so far. But, for me, it wasn’t what it could and should have been.


  9. Couldn’t agree with you more. You’ve totally touched on the exact same things that I had problems with with this film. The scorpion in a lollipop metaphor is pretty much perfect.

    I loved the action and the styling of the film. But I had no connection to any of the characters. I didn’t feel for anyone. Just because this is a film about an assassin doesn’t mean the film itself has to be cold.

    The last 2 Soderbergh films I’ve seen, Haywire and Contagion, left me cold. I’m beginning to wonder where his head’s at.


    • You know what? your last statement there summed up what I’ve been feeling about Soderbergh lately pretty perfectly.

      There was much left on the table with this one. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jaina. Are you ready for The Grey?


  10. I loved this review, T. You did a better job of summing up the movie than I did. I was going to give it a better review than I did, but at the end it was just about the stars and action, but little else.


    • Thanks Max. I’m a little behind on everyone’s pages today. Working on 9 straight days of work before a break. ha! But I will be sure to read your review on it. I have to read Fogs’ and TajGreene’s too!

      Thanks for the kind word.


  11. Nice writeup, T. Ahahaha… I had to laugh about your comment on Tatum… he is believable?? Heresy!!! ha..ha..

    Well from what I gather from the comic-con panel, this film seems to be fun to watch for action fans but it’s not something that’d leave a lasting impression. No I don’t expect this to be a Bourne replacement in the slightest, I mean it’s quite obvious from Gina’s pretty-but-empty expression, ahah. I give Soderbergh props for experimenting w/ this genre and all but ultimately, there’s only so much one can do w/ building a story around a sexy female fighter. Ah well, I might rent this one just to see her beat up all those guys… again poor Fassy, that vase hitting him was real btw, it wasn’t his stunt double.


    • 🙂 thanks Ruth.

      this was a fun review to write. I didn’t expect Tatum to be okay like he was. haha heresy!

      Didn’t know that was really fassbender getting hit. Props to him! thanks for sharing that. I read a story that Ewan accidentally hit Gina and Gina stopped and asked HIM, “are you okay?” haha


  12. I am actually kind of glad you didn’t like this… the film didn’t appeal to me at all, but I was shocked to see it get the reviews it did. I may see it eventually though!

    Good review Mr. T!


  13. I like your unique take on this T. You summed it up very well. It has all the right ingredients but someone’s forgotten to turn on the oven. Carano and Fassbender are about the only noteworthy things about Haywire. That and a good part of it was set in Dublin, my country’s capital!


  14. Hand me that bug lolipop because I enjoyed this one. It was a fun light action movie about a girl who got betrayed by her job and seeks revenge. Nothing more. I loved that the action did not have any music . The sounds of Miss Carano kicking ass were enough for me. Great post though


    • hahaha. I felt the bug lollipop to be so appropriate here. LOL. I liked watching Carano do what she does so well in this film. and in that light, you are very very right! 🙂 Thanks for checking it out. (did you know that she really did bust that vase over Michael Fassbender’s head?)


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