Haywire is a 2012 film written by Lem Dobbs and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It stars Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, and Bill Paxton. It was released on January 20, 2012.
This film is centered around an operative named Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) for a private contractor named Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) that handles international assignments of questionable legality. One assignment is to retrieve a political hostage named Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong), who is held prisoner in Barcelona. She is teamed up with Aaron (Channing Tatum), among others. The mission is mostly successful. Kenneth later approaches Mallory about another assignment in Dublin. That one...does not go over so well. She is given the old double-cross. She escapes and sets out to find out who set her up, and why. Along the way, we discover Mallory and Kenneth had a prior relationship, and that she is a former Marine who keeps close contact with her father Mr. Kane (Bill Paxton).
Haywire actually begins in the middle of the time line. We then get jumps from past and present until we're fully caught up in the third act.
Gina Carano is a former MMA fighter, and this is her first starring role. I would have to say she does well here. As she is a trained fighter, her fight scenes here come off as very convincing (as opposed to Zoe Saldana in last year's disappointing Colombiana). Mallory is straightforward and uncomplicated, and it works. Whether it was by design or as a result of Carano's acting abilities, the director/screenwriter don't give her a lot to do in the way of dialogue, but that doesn't really hurt the film in my view. I imagine real-life covert operatives don't do more talking than is necessary.
There really isn't a lot that can be said about Carano's co-stars. Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas play the typical higher-up types who are careful about their words (though there is one humorous telephone exchange between them). Bill Paxton here is just as straightforward as Carano. Man of the Year Michael Fassbender does well in his minor role as Mallory's Dublin contact. I don't think there is a man on this Earth who wears a suit better than he does. Ewan McGregor is the most interesting as Mallory's immediate boss and ex-lover. All the while, the mystery is who among all of these guys are the ones that screwed her. Maybe they are all in on it.
In a genre of film that no longer has a true #1 star (and hasn't since Arnold Schwarzenegger left Hollywood for Sacramento), Gina Carano could carve out a spot in a field that includes the likes of Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, The Rock, Jason Satham, among others.
January is usually the month when Hollywood dumps out the worst of the worst on paying audiences. Haywire is actually a solid effort. Definitely worth a watch.