“Haywire” is a gimmick movie, and not a very good one. Its entire premise is built around the now-ubiquitous figure of theglobe-trotting super-spy, a la Jason Bourne, who has amazing hand-to-hand combat skills. Except in this case, the butt-kicker supreme is a woman – specifically, novice actress and Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano.
Director Steven Soderbergh doesn’t do anything particularly imaginative with this tired genre other than flip the gender of the protagonist. It’s almost as if he and screenwriter Lem Dobbs are saying, “See, we can make a movie with a female lead where the characters are just as stilted, the plot just as much a nonsensical bramble as one starring a dude.”
Carano, who resembles Rachel Weisz on human growth hormones, isn’t asked to do much beyond scowl and kick. If the movie’s entire reason for existence is to prove a woman can be as convincing as a brutish action star, then Carano certainly passes muster.
If, on the other hand, the idea is to create a believable, identifiable character and see how she reacts to seemingly insurmountable circumstances, then Carano is out of her league.