Friday, January 27, 2012
Haywire (Release Date: 1-20-2012)
Soderberg has always been obsessed with the notion of genre; Movies like Contagion and Ocean's Eleven would instantly slot amongst the ranks of high concept genre fair (Disaster Epic, and Heist Flick, respectively) were it not for their outstanding levels of quality. It's clear that this is what Soderbergh is trying to do here, take a framework that we all know front to back, and reveal just how exciting and alive it can still be when handled properly. While his motive and message are worth applauding, it almost seems like the guy wanted Haywire to succeed in spite of its rhetoric, not because of it. The plot is paper thin, impossible to truly invest in, and the way that actors like Antonio Banderas and Michael Fassbender are wasted is fairly disheartening. As if stacking the obstacles against itself on purpose, the rogue female previously mentioned is played by non-actor Gina Carano, who has occasional good moments, but certainly isn't anything to write home about as a thespian. Where Soderbergh had perhaps wanted to turn a tired movie into a good one, here he's attempting to will a bad movie into a good one.
The guy isn't without his fair share of successes; This is Steven Soderbergh we're talking about. Some of Haywire's action sequences are clumsy and off-kilter, but others are absolutely electric, owing much to the supreme physical talents of Carano, who battles with the same trained finesse that dancers dance. Other Soderbergh stand-bys are here as well, including the blurry, gold-tinted frame, the vaguely jazzy score, and a hankering to globe trot for no real reason at all. Soderbergh set out to show people how to make a dumb action movie, and while he has fleeting moments of real success, the whole thing just isn't sweaty enough to create real tension. Caught somewhere between the cartoonish wonder of Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol, and the edge-of-you-seat seriousness of the Bourne series, Haywire feels cobbled together out of spare parts, and the fact that its kind of supposed to feel that way offers little consolation. It has highs, and it has lows, and a week after you see it, you'll never think of it again. Welcome to January.