critics’ consensus: Haywire – a good genre jaunt for Soderbergh & Gina Carano is your new action heroine

Posted by: p0d on January 21, 2012

  •  RICHARD ROEPER: (Grade: A)
  • -“Haywire a refreshing changeup (from quick-cuts and stunt-doubling in action films)…plays like an indy version of franchises such as Mission:Impossible.
  • -“Gina Carano makes a spectacular debut…a few line readings are a bit flat, but she has an enormously appealing, natural screen presence…think The Rock, only way cuter…a memorable debut” (ReelzChannel)
  • ROGER EBERT – Sun Times: (3 out of 4 stars)
  • -“Carano can hold her own…I expect her to become a considerable box-office success, because the fact is, within a limited range, she’s good.”
  • -“Haywire has no lasting significance…but(is) a first-rate genre thriller.” –
  • Peter Travers – Rolling Stone: (3.5 out of 4 stars)
    “She more than holds her own with the big boys…Carano is poetry in kick-ass motion.”
    Haywire comes close to achieving Soderbergh’s goal of creating “a Pam Grier movie made by Alfred Hitchcock.”
Mark Kermode – BBC radio
“I thought she (Gina Carano) did terrific…she has fantastic screen presence.”
“We’ve got so used to wire-work, people flying through windows…(just) unbelievable fights, when you see something that looks like people actaully, genuinely having a proper punch-up, it really does pack-a-punch.”
Leonard Maltin: (grade: B)
“The action yarn was built around mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, who looks great, handles dialogue well, and knows how to kick butt. “
“…Carano shows real promise as an action star-in-the-making.”   (IndieWire)
ASSOCIATED PRESS (3 out of 4 stars)
Her dialogue may seem a bit stiff – and she has acknowledged that Soderbergh made some tweaks to her voice in post production – but she has tremendous presence; an  intriguing mix of muscular power and eye-catching femininity.” (Christy Lemire)
USA Today (3 out of 4 stars) 
Briskly paced action sequences are riveting, and Carano’s charisma, physicality and daring keep the adrenaline high and the clashes captivating. ”  (Claudia Puig)
CNN: (‘Haywire” is a rush)
There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing for a while and Carano is just so much fun to watch…a fantastic newcomer.”
“she’s far more than a pretty face. She’s got a bag full of charisma and her physical acting (beyond the fighting) is excellent…knows how to look natural on camera (not an easy task)…but she’s not (yet) all that adept with her lines…I want to see more of (her character) Mallory Kane.” (Mark Rabinowitz)
Wall Street Journal
“…a fast, stylish thriller”
“It remains to be seen whether Ms. Carano’s star presence will take her beyond action roles, but she’s certainly appealing in this one, and very much at home in a strong cast that includes…” (Joe Morgenstern)
  • MICHAEL PHILLIPS  (3 out of 4 stars)
  • it’s eccentric, and the on-screen violence is sharp and exciting — brutal without being either subhumanly sadistic or superhumanly ridiculous.”
  • ” Carano (whose voice was altered — lowered to a menacing purr — in post-production)…may not be a born or a natural actress; she is, however, an undeniable and heartening rebuke to the skinny-Minnies Hollywood favors over real women with curves. (Chicago Tribune)
NPR: (recommended)
As with any great action movie, what we’re really here to see is the star showing off whatever skills got them on screen to begin with. And Haywire never disappoints…doesn’t cheat reality with close-ups and disorienting quick-cuts. “
“Some might say that Soderbergh doesn’t give Carano much to do, but the fact is that he gives her only exactly what the movie needs: a stone-faced, magnetic physical presence with singular purpose and laserlike focus.”
“To see what she’s capable of here is to witness the birth of the next great action hero.” (Ian Buckwalter)
“…Carano is good.” (Chris Klimek)
The Sun (3 out of 5 stars)
The fights are brutal, authentic affairs and while her action skills outweigh her acting skills, she(Carano) still makes for a strong lead among the assembled screen heavyweights.” (Alex Zane)
Los Angeles Times
“…watching Carano kick, spin, flip, choke, crack and crush the fiercest of foes — mostly men about twice her size — is thoroughly entertaining, highly amusing and frankly somewhat awe-inspiring.”
” Carano might be able to do just fine with a role that didn’t rest so heavily on fighting…There are glimpses as well of an active interior life behind that flirty smile. But a fighting Mallory was her mission in “Haywire,” and in that it’s hard to imagine that anyone could beat her.” (Betsy Sharkey)
MSN (4 out of 5 stars)
” In an age when filmmaking has made fake fighting too fake, “Haywire”‘s grunting, gut-bruising fight scenes hit like, well, one of Carano’s blows. As an actress, she’s in the same boat as, for but one example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: I wouldn’t want to watch either of them take one of the lead roles in “Hamlet,” but they’re easy to watch, physically magnetic and possessed of a grace in action that one cannot shop for, study or steal.” (James Rocchi)
San Francisco Chronicle 
Beautiful in a girl-from-the-neighborhood sort of way, Carano inhabits Soderbergh’s elaborate frame with wit, physicality and just a hint of ironic distance, the suggestion of someone who’s not overawed by the opportunity or taking herself too seriously.” (Mick Lasalle)
New York Observer
While the film could have easily been a tired spy flick, Ms. Carano brought a refreshing dose of athletic realism to the lead character, and Mr. Soderbergh’s distinctive hand made the movie worth watching.” (Elise Knutson)
The Vancouver Sun (3.5 out of 5 stars)
“Haywire: tough thriller hits the target”
“(Carano is) more Bourne than Rambo, and she may be just what the movies need: not a girl with a dragon tattoo, exactly, but a woman with a devastating right.” (Jay Stone)
The Atlantic
“…uncommonly smart, disarmingly taut, ridiculously entertaining action/spy picture, an unexpectedly frisky exception to the rule that January releases are generally terrible.”
“She’s not an actor by trade, and some of her line readings are, it must be noted, a little flat. But she’s got cool charisma down pat, and does she ever bring it in those action scenes.” (Jason Bailey)
NBC Miami
Haywire is a knockout.”
“(Carano) a far better an actress than you might reasonably expect. Does Meryl Streep need to worry about her place in history? No. But Carano shows more than enough talent and charisma to make “Haywire” work.” (Scott Ross)
The Hollywood Reporter
(Soderbergh) emphasizing his star’s abilities to the extent that the semblance and extremity of the combat’s reality becomes the film’s entire raison d’etre. In this, Haywire entirely and winningly succeeds.”
“The director shrewdly determined what she could and perhaps couldn’t do, and she delivered with a turn that makes other actresses who have attempted such roles, no matter how toned and buff they became, look like pretenders.” (Todd McCarthy)
The Philadelphia Inquirer (3 out of 4 stars)
Haywire isn’t deep, and Carano’s line-readings could use honing, but she has presence, and grace, and grace under pressure.” (Stephen Rea)
“Carano is a believable female action star which is something that has previously only existed in Asian flavors.”
““This is about the birth of a brand new action star.” (Rob Hunter)
“Giving a realism to the viscerally choreographed fights that we haven’t seen in quite some time, and pairing that with this sense of slight innocence and pure beauty, Carano is a star in the making.” (Joshua Brunsting)


“Move over Angelina. Gina Carano is the latest female warrior to grace the big screen…She’ll rough you up.”   (Marlow Stern)

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    I was a television journalist for thirty years covering the world. I have covered several wars and high profile trials like that of O.J. Simpson. I just wanted to give a little personal background before saying I love Gina Carano and Haywire. My wife and I enjoyed seeing a real woman kick butt. Hurrah for Steven Soderberg for putting a real female fighter on the screen and filming such dramatic and compelling fight sequences. Bravo!