Scoring her first lead role, mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano struts her stuff in this fast-paced action thriller from director Steven Soderbergh (SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE).

At a small restaurant in upstate New York, Mallory (Carano) sits and waits when a young man, Aaron (Channing Tatum) shows up. He informs Mallory that he has arrived to pick her up and that she is cutting into his vacation time. When Mallory refuses to go, Aaron throws a cup of coffee at her and a fight ensues. Mallory eventually gets the upper hand and then forces a local boy, Scott (Michael Angarano), to help her escape. As Mallory drives with Scott in the passenger seat, she begins her story.

Mallory is a covert operation specialist who handles jobs that U.S. government cannot handle. When she is recruited by Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) to go to Barcelona to rescue Chinese hostage Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong), she assembles her team, which includes Aaron. The team succeeds in their mission and bring Jiang to Kenneth’s Spanish contact Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas).

However, things come to a head when Mallory is dispatched on a mission in Dublin, posing as the wife of British agent Paul (Michael Fassbender). When Paul meets his contact Studer (Matthieu Kassovitz) and follows him into a barn, Mallory follows. She finds the body of Jiang and learns that she has been set up. A fight with Paul results in his death and when Kenneth calls Paul to confirm Mallory’s death, he learns it is the opposite. Now, with nowhere else to go, Mallory begins her quest for revenge and redemption.

The film can be best described as a B-movie actioner that just happens to have a casts of A-list talent, from Michael Douglas as the government operative who handles all the missions to Channing Tatum as a member of the covert ops team. However, despite the A-list supporting cast, the film clearly belongs to mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano, who met director Steven Soderbergh, who was so impressed with Carano’s ring skills that he hired Lem Dobbs to write the film around Carano.

Carano definitely has what it takes to be an action star. She combines the eye candy look with the martial arts skills to match. Having made a cameo appearance in BLOOD AND BONE (2009), fans will get to see what Carano can really do when she is joined by a cast of A-list talent. She does fairly well in the role of Mallory, who only has one thing on her mind: revenge. Despite having her voice dubbed over, she pulls off quite an interesting performance in terms of the acting side of the table. Should she continue with her film career, one can only think that maybe she will have a chance to polish her skills in the acting side as she already holds her own with the action side.

From the opening alone to the climactic battle pitting Carano and Ewan McGregor, this is truly Carano’s show. One may think of it as a feature-length showreel that highlights Carano’s MMA skills used in a film environment. KFC favorite J.J. Perry (UNDISPUTED 2) choreographed the film’s fight sequences and while actors Michael Fassbender and McGregor do fairly well in their fights, the opening fight between Carano and Channing Tatum (who is actually a martial artist as well in the style of Shaolin Ngor Chor) truly is one of the best fights of the film.

If you are into the simplicity of plot and love some major butt-kicking, HAYWIRE is definitely worth a rental. The film is truly Gina Carano’s as she uses her skills to excellent effect against the backdrop of a revenge plot with the support of some major Hollywood talent.

  • John Firth

    I thought they’d only dubbed a phone conversation, but her whole performance? Ouch. Andie MacDowell all over again…

  • Mark

    Just picked up the DVD the other day.  Hopefully, she’ll continue to make movies with good directors who know how to maximize her skills and make a decent movie in the process (like with Soderbergh).  I’d hate to see her go down the same road that Steven Segal travelled when he started out:  three good movies and the rest were crap.  The only good movies that he did were the ones directed by Andrew Davis. 

  • Wade – MartialArtsActionMovies

    I always thought Gina Carano had the right look and the skill to make a good martial arts actor.  I find it bit annoying that they dubbed her voice though.  Either way, I can’t wait to see the movie, when it reaches Australia :)

  • John Firth

    Can probably blame Seagal’s ego for that. He’s hardly the first to do that either. Shame.

  • Barry

    Really liked this movie in the first two thirds, but quickly fizzled out in the last third, with a really disappointing climactic fight.  The opening fight sequence blew me away with its realism (and lack of background score adding to that feel) and there’s another good fight halfway through, just a shame the ending was a flop.