The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Gina Carano, Ewen McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Music by: David Holmes
Written by: Lem Dobbs
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 1, 2012
"They left her no choice"
Haywire, directed by Oscar® winner Steven Soderbergh and written by Lem Dobbs, introduces mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a black-ops agent for a government security contractor. Mallory is a highly trained government operative who works in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist who was being held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Instantly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious - and dangerous - trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she'll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
The first time I saw Gina Carano was on American Gladiator (she was named Crush) back in 2008. I was immediately taken with her good looks, physicality and ass kicking ability. I googled her and found that she was an accomplished MMA fighter which really didn't surprise me. Last year I saw the trailer for Haywire and was glad to see that she was putting her charisma and physical talents to work on the big screen. The trailer showed promise as did the cast but there wasn't enough interest to lure me out to the theater so I waited to see/review it on Blu-ray. Let me start off by saying that I liked Haywire. Director Steven Soderbergh's signature style direction is all over it which depending on your point of view can be as much a hindrance as a benefit. Writer Lem Dobbs' script is nothing special and features a story of assassins, betrayal and revenge. There is a lot of covert cloudiness and technical jargon tossed in but the truth is the excess of subtext isn't satisfactorily sorted out and the underdevelopment of the characters, save for Mallory, never provides an opportunity to truly care what happens to them. I found this to be particularly problematic in the case of bad guy/betrayer and the potential ally/boyfriend (sorry no names). There are aspects of the story that make little sense, like the events following the opening sequence which takes place in the diner. The first and second acts are told via flashbacks as Mallory recounts the specific details of what happened to her to a twenty something kid she just met in a diner in upstate NY. I kept wondering the reason for that only to be disappointed. I won't even go into the inept depiction of the New York State Police (Mallory referred to them as Deputies, Really?). Sorry, I had to mention that.
At various points throughout Haywire I found myself wondering where is this leading? I didn't get all of the answers and those that came either had weak foundation or did little to build intrigue. I felt that the explanation for the betrayal, which the plot hinges on, just didn't hold water and came off as a bit lame. So why do I like Haywire? It's simple, Gina Carano. She isn't much of an actress but she has a commanding presence, inherent charisma and the chops to easily pull off an action/thriller. The film is clearly meant to showcase her physical/martial arts abilities and does so successfully. There is plenty of slickly executed action and as the primary character she is well drawn and effectively carries the movie. Mallory/Gina had the potential to be more than the straight forward redemption seeking bone cracker depicted. I would have preferred deeper mystique with an edgy femme fatale framework enhanced by the explosively dangerous physical prowess she displayed. Oh well, maybe next time. For now Haywire works even at a base level and makes for an entertaining action/thriller that has decent replay value even if just to watch Gina Carano kick lots of tail.
The rating is for violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Haywire comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
Lighting schemes are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn't diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided a looking through a window effect.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does a nice job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that where appropriate engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn't extensive however the action based elements provide an enriching level of immersion which is generated by a seamless sound field. The extended fight sequences are empowered by near field sound effects, robust dynamics and room energizing low frequencies.
- (HD) Gina Carano in training - 16 minute production featurette
- (HD) The men of Haywire - 5 minute featurette
- Digital Copy
Haywire is a decent action/thriller that with a better developed storyline and secondary characters could have been a great one, especially in the hands of director Steven Soderbergh. Luckily star Gina Carano makes up for its shortcomings with a solid performance that showcases her mixed martial arts prowess, eye catching good looks and effecting onscreen charisma. Haywire comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a middling supplemental offering that is highlighted by a feature on Carano. If you're an action/espionage film fan Haywire on Blu-ray is worth dropping in your rental queue.
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