I’m tellingly unenthusiastic about Haywire, Steven Soderbergh’s latest, “Hey that chick is cool, I want to make a movie for her” project (last time it was The Girlfriend Experience with porn star Sasha Grey, which is easily one of the top 10 worst movies I’ve ever seen). Crafted for female MMA star Gina Carano, Haywire is appealingly slick and appropriately paced—it runs at a swift 90 minutes—but it left me a bit hollow, probably because it had no plot.
First and foremost, this movie was meant to introduce us to Gina Carano: Action Heroine. For the most part, this worked. I accept Carano as an action star. She’s watchable and she definitely sells the physical stuff. I am not saying this as a knock on her weight or anything—Carano is NOT fat—but it’s nice to see a woman on screen that actually looks like she could kick a man and it would hurt. She’s substantial. There are muscles. And, what interested me most—she used a lot of leverage in her fight scenes. In most movies with female action characters, the chick fights just like a man. Throws a punch like a man, moves like a man, reacts like a man. But let’s be honest—women don’t fight like men. We move differently. We have a different range of motion. Carano’s fight scenes repeatedly show her using leverage to increase her force and propulsion so she can take down men bigger than her. She isn’t doing fancy parkour tricks because it looks cool, but because bouncing off that wall is going to boost her momentum so she can knock that guy down. It was visually and characteristically pleasing.Continue reading “Haywire: Not awful. Gina Carano: Also not bad”