I’m sorry, Gina! Please don’t shoot me for this review.

Theatrical Release Date: 01/20/2012
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton
Rated: R for some violence.
Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes


I said I’m sorry!

So … there’s this director. His name’s Steven Soderbergh. He makes movies like “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Ocean’s Twelve”, “Ocean’s Thirteen” and “The Girlfriend Experience”. Sure, he’s also made others like “Traffic” and “Out of Sight” but let’s concentrate on what seems to be his more consistent path: laying down crappy elevator jazz over scenes of people walking around while the audience wonders how long’s it been since a character said something.

Sure, movies are a visual medium but playing fast and loose with the camera while pinning a film’s success on the likability of the actors is hoping for lightning to strike multiple times in the same spot. Yes, it’s a myth that lightning never strikes the same place twice … but waiting to see it happen is really, really dumb.

That about sums up how “Haywire” comes off. It wants to be this stylish spy thriller but meanders about lazily while that crappy elevator jazz plays ad nauseam. The basic espionage plot seems like something written on the back of a cocktail napkin and forgotten in the screenwriter’s jeans until after they were washed. The good actors do an okay job with their parts. The bad/non actors do not.

Case in point, the leading lady Gina Carano. A real UFC fighter and former American Gladiator, she’s a bad ass. She’s also very, very hot. Too bad that’s not quite enough in a film where she’s given dialogue. As much as I really wanted to forgive any stiffness (no pun intended), it was painful to listen to each flat line delivery or watch each blank expression. To add insult to injury, there are scenes where she acts opposite Channing Tatum. While I’ve heard great things about him as a person, watching Carano act with him is like watching the blind leading the seriously blind through an M.C. Escher maze.

Of course, the large majority of people looking to plunk down their $62 to see the film are just hoping there’s some great action. On that front, the fight scenes are fun … just don’t expect too many more than what you seen in the trailer. Carano spends more time walking around or talking too much to a kid she basically kidnaps (Michael Angarano) in order to fill the audience in on backstory, than she does beating in people’s faces.

Also, thanks to the terrible pacing Soderbergh maintains, the brisk 93-minute runtime feels more like 120. Half of that is just getting the audience caught up with where the film begins. The final scene is nicely left up to the imagination but considering the masses tend to prefer a completely spoon-fed resolution, it’ll be interesting to hear what they have to say upon grumbling their way outside of the theater.

It’s actually not quite clear who Soderbergh made “Haywire” for. If it was general audiences, there’s not nearly enough action. If it was the art house crowd, they’ll be wishing for better acting and a more intelligent script. A 2 out of 5, I enjoyed watching Carano strut around in evening wear and beat the crap out of a few people but instead of looking for her mark or memorizing bland dialogue, I’d rather have just watched some reruns of her days as Crush on “American Gladiators” where she actually looked like she was having some fun. The only fun I had with the film was leaving it behind me in the rear view mirror.

2 out of 5