Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Haywire, dir. Steven Soderbergh, wr. Lem Dobbs, st. Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas

It must have seemed like such a good idea on the page; a lean and limber, post-Bourne, cerebral arthouse flick masquerading as a beat-em-up, with a stoic turn from an American Gladiator that'll pass as a muted, introspective character study, some walk-on starry turns, and a trademark sleaze-chic score from David Holmes. The good news here is that Carano passes muster as a credible action star, and the bone-crunching, lo-fight choreography welcomingly eschews the staple Bam!'s and Kerpow!'s of baseball bat-into-melon foley sfx that have have become the heightened-reality principal in any kind of contemporary action sequence sound design. The bad news is that it's so committed to its mould-breaking cause, it's utterly humourless and lacks much, if any heart at all. Matters aren't helped by a humdrum script by Dobbs, and one dimensional portrayals by Douglas, McGregor, Fassbender and Banderas who should all know better. It's odd too that after the lukewarm reception of 2009's The Girlfriend Experience, Soderburgh should return to gimmicky casting, and for me, nothing has ever reached the heights of his take on Tarkovsky's 1972 existentialist sci-fi Solaris, remade with George Clooney in 2002. At least Haywire marks the one step closer we are to a Soderbergh film worthy once more of his talent.