Set up on a botched job, private-ops Government contractor Mallory Kane is forced to go on the run as she attempts to get to the bottom of who doubled-crossed her and just how high the conspiracy goes up. Thinking she’s gone rogue, Kane’s team from their last successful mission in Barcelona are tasked by boss Kenneth (McGregor) to stop her in her tracks, but as they soon find out, it takes more than you’d expect to bring Kane down.
Gina Carino is impressive in her debut performance but doesn’t quite possess the charisma to carry the film’s lead role. Coming out of an MMA background, she’s thoroughly at home in the action sequences but is still very raw elsewhere and fails to possess the emotion and subtleties the film needs from her in the sequences of extended dialogue.
The rest of the cast put in solid turns, providing solid ground for Carino’s all-action spectacular, though their collective effort still stutters at best.
It’s that rawness from Carino and a lack of sheen in the filmmaking that makes it fall flat on the big screen. The plot is contrived and massively overcomplicated meaning as a result never truly picks up real pace while the twists and double-crossings do little to draw you in too. Haywire feels like a lot of people aimlessly running around for 90 minutes, kicking each other to the whimsical jazz score.
The choreography is frenetic, and with the soundtrack on mute for these brief moments, you’ll quickly learn to savour the action; the opening fight in an isolated diner is particularly impressive. But thanks to many of the above frustrations and more, Haywire doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts.
Everything feels very clean cut and sparsely put together, which while adding to certain elements of the film, on the whole, leaves it cold and uninspiring. For a thriller, it’s shocking low on thrills, another impact of the lean production values. It just doesn’t suck you in with the plot by the end, resolved twists and all, that appears lifeless and convoluted. Director Steve Soderbergh and writer Lem Dobbs have unfortunately mistaken a story that criss-crosses the world for a captivating narrative, but the two are far from the same.
I wanted to like it, I really did, but Haywire needed to offer up at least a hint of its own emotion before I could return the favour, and I got nothing.