This is my kind of chick flick.
Mallory (Gina Carano – real life female MMA fighter), a former marine, is a special ops agent-for-hire. In the opening scene of the movie, after having a knock-down drag-out fistfight with Aaron (Channing Tatum), we discover she’s on the run from her employer (Ewan McGregor), the government, and probably a bunch of other people, in an extended flashback that takes up most of the movie. She doesn’t know why she’s been “burned,” but is determined to find out and stay alive.
And…that’s pretty much the whole story. I’ll be honest, it won’t be nominated for any screenwriting awards. And if you go in expecting that, it’s a very fun B action movie. Almost the entire story is told in flashback, and you spend 90% of the movie finding out who and why they betrayed Mallory, and only the last 10% actually going after the “bad guys.” In that respect, it’s a little anti-climactic. But, it’s fast-paced and action-packed, so we don’t really care. You just want to see Mallory tear up some more red shirts. Even better is the fact that Mallory is a real powerful woman. Yeah, she's got some pretty outfits, but she doesn't have to do the stereotypical "let me distract you by dancing in my underwear before going for a kill shot" routine. She's a beautiful lady but doesn't need to use her looks to be dominant. She's a fighter who happens to be beautiful.
Carano flies across the screen like a fury, and even though you know it’s “movie fighting,” she’s got the skills to make it look very, very real – which is aided by the fact that you know she probably really could take down every single guy in the movie the way she does. And she knows how to take a hit and jump right back up. I found some videos of her fights on her website. I’m not a big MMA or UFC fan, and the girl fights do seem to involve a lot more clinching and a lot less blood. But Carano does know how to break out and lay down some force, being generally bigger than her opponents. It’s pretty interesting to watch and makes her on-screen time even more believable.
Carano has a lot of potential as a female action star. I do say “potential.” Most of the time she sounds like she’s reading her lines from cue cards off screen, but that’s a skill that can be improved over time. Thankfully, she doesn’t have too many lines and spends most of her time beating people unconscious. However, I was impressed with her non-verbal communication. A good part of what Mallory does is react physically to communicate emotion, rather than verbally, and that I thought she did very well.
All in all, we aren’t looking at Oscar material (if that even means anything anymore) but Gina Carano leaves you wanting more…and we expect to see more, based on the movie’s ending. I imagine this will make its way to DVD pretty quickly, but it will still be plenty enjoyable. If you see "Haywire,” let me know what you think.