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FILM FANS: Action-packed scenes still no help for 'Haywire'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week, "Haywire." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

1 out of 4 Stars

Chalked with much more confusion than entertainment value, "Haywire" is the type of movie that excels in the previews but falls flatter than a pancake in reality. It stars Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a moody martial arts expert whose plain dialog doesn't play well. But as a counter espionage agent her ability to kick any male takers has no limit. The males who try to eliminate her on a special mission soon find out she is not your average date. However, she is sharp and can weed out the creeps who have set her up.

The movie offers no more that a mere cameo appearance from a proven star, Michael Douglas, but his role adds absolutely nothing. Nor does the part of Bill Paxton, who plays Eric, Mallory's dad. It's obvious the movie's producers used the "bait and switch" move of dangling real stars as a carrot but don't be fooled -- this is a legitimate dog with fleas. Its short run time is its best redeeming feature. Seldom has a movie been any more confusing or failed as miserably as this.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

3 out of 4 Stars

Take one part "Lara Croft," add one part "Bourne Supremacy," shake it violently, and voila You have "Haywire," starring mixed martial arts (MMA) star Gina Carano as former Marine -- now freelance black operative -- Mallory Kane.

After Mallory takes part in a hostage rescue in Barcelona, her team then travels to Dublin, where things go south and Mallory then becomes the target. It's apparent that someone on the inside has betrayed her. Is it her teammate Aaron (Channing Tatum) or Paul (Michael Fassbender)? Maybe her handler Kenneth (Ewan MacGregor)? The shadowy U.S. government guy Coblenz (deliciously played by Michael Douglas)? How about the mysterious Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas)? Mallory uses every trick -- and kick -- in her arsenal to evade an international manhunt, ending up in New Mexico at the home of her dad (Bill Paxton in a mostly wasted role) for the climatic showdown.

"Haywire" is a tense shoot-em-up that kicks butt and takes names. The plot is pretty loose, but who cares? Gina Carano is easy on the eyes and shows some decent acting chops to go along with her MMA skills. Stay off the caffeine before you see this flick; otherwise, you might go a little "Haywire" yourself on the way home.

-- Tim Weekley, Suwanee

1 1/2 out of 4 Stars

I watched the trailers for "Haywire" and it prompted my suggestion that it would be a great movie to review for this weekend. Oh boy -- how did a movie go so wrong? All the best scenes of the movie were shown during the trailers and there was nothing new left over for the movie. Totally soporific, old-timey photography, super slow action movie (could that even be possible?). I don't know if this movie is the same one having raving reviews from film critics comparing it to the Bourne series of movies because I wasn't the only one leaving the theater feeling cheated from the most awful spy/action movie of all time.

I loved "Salt" and even "Red," but this one, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Gina Carano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, wasn't for me. The only redeeming qualities, other than Gina's haircut, were the Krav Maga fighting scenes and only because my daughter is doing that fighting style locally. The most memorable line of the movie was its final word -- go ahead and search the Web for that since it can't be published.

-- Alfred Richner, Duluth