DIRECTED BY Steven Soderbergh
STARS Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor
Appeasing everyone from your grandmother to your little sister, director Steven Soderbergh has populated Haywire with hunks of every age, starting with 67-year-old Michael Douglas and running through 51-year-old Antonio Banderas, 40-year-old Ewan McGregor, 34-year-old Michael Fassbender and 31-year-old Channing Tatum before bottoming out with 24-year-old Michael Angarano. I suppose we should thank scripter Lem Dobbs for not fashioning a role for 19-year-old Taylor Lautner to complete the spectrum.
Despite that dreamboat-heavy cast, this isn't a big-screen episode of Spartacus or a sequel to Gladiator, although its leading player is best known for TV's American Gladiators. That would be Gina Carano, the mixed martial arts fighter who made her mark in the arena usually under the moniker "Crush." As he did with Kentucky Fried Chicken manager Debbie Doebereiner in Bubble and porn star Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh has again taken someone who hails from outside the realm of mainstream Hollywood and built a movie around her. In Carano's case, the limitations of the film aren't her fault: Admittedly, her emoting borders on the wooden side, but she does have charisma and a natural screen presence, neither of which should ever be underestimated.
The plot of Haywire is nothing special: A government operative who has just successfully completed a mission gets betrayed by one (or more) of her colleagues and finds herself on the run. Carano displays some deft moves, Soderbergh directs in a coolly detached style (it's like A Dangerous Method for action junkies), and poor Channing Tatum is humbled as he emerges as the only one who's out-acted by the MMA screen newbie.