Steven Soderbergh is possibly the most hyperactive director in the business today. Just in the past five years, he’s put out an all-star broad-strokes drama about a killer disease, a spy-comedy with Matt Damon, a tiny indie starring a porn star and a five-hour biopic of Che Guevara. They vary is scope, in cast (and yes, in quality) but they are always inextricably his.

“Haywire” is no different. From the first sepia-tinged frame to the last moment of violence, the story of a woman betrayed by the Blackwater-esque company she works for is pure Soderbergh- even in its flaws.

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Written by: Lem Dobbs

Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender

Rated: R

I suspect the movie is supposed to flourish into a franchise, in the form of the character Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), who works for an unnamed independent spy agency contracted with the U.S. government. It’s a typical spy story: she goes off on a “routine” mission that quickly shows itself to be a frame job intended to either kill Kane or plant a murder on her.

The plot itself isn’t overly impressive- at just over two hours, the plot is a little undercooked and wrapped up in a tidy (and lazy) flashback scene. I found myself wishing there had been more to the story, or another twist to navigate. The end comes too quickly, leaving several threads hanging and a certain sense of dissatisfaction.

But Gina Carano makes it all worth it. As a mixed-martial arts champion (who previously appeared in competitions like “American Gladiator” and “Fatal Femmes Fighting”) seeing Carano run, jump, fight, or even just walk around a room is riveting- like seeing a wild animal do what evolution has specifically developed it to do. Combine that with a stoic, Bruce Willis-like acting style and raw sex appeal, she has all the makings of the next big action star. She’s backed up with an all-star, all-male cast (Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas, among others) who despite their star power seem happy to simply get out of her way.

It will be intriguing to see if Mallory Kane can become a franchise; it’s always difficult to market a woman action star, but Carano’s worth her weight in gold if she can keep strangling people with her thighs. But there’s no telling. After all, who knows what Soderbergh will do next.

About The Author

Emma Johnson is a Blast Magazine critic whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe

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