Thursday, December 15, 2011
Soderbergh Marathon: Haywire Preview
Steven Soderbergh keeps insisting that he's ready to quit as director, but his recent output and future plans indicate that he's staying very busy. After releasing the acclaimed drama Contagion in September, he's back with the straight-up action film Haywire in January. When I originally learned that it starred MMA fighter Gina Carano in the lead role, my enthusiasm was pretty low. However, the supporting cast provides a solid group of talented actors, including Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, and Antonio Banderas. Tough guy Channing Tatum is also around for the fun. Another positive is Writer Lem Dobbs, who penned the screenplays for The Limey, Dark City, and The Score. These facts have quickly made this one of the most intriguing January releases.
Reviewing the Haywire trailer, the style looks closer to a Jason Bourne or Daniel Craig-era Bond film than a Soderbergh picture. He's proven the ability to succeed in a wide array of genres, but this still feels like a stretch for the often-experimental filmmaker. The plot looks strangely conventional and promises a chase film with various killers trying to take down the lead. Even so, I'm more excited to see this movie after watching the trailer. Along with Banderas' ridiculous beard and a silly mustache from Paxton, we have McGregor and Fassbender as apparently nasty villains. That can't be a bad thing. The second trailer is shorter and mostly covers the violent hand-to-hand battles that show off Carano's skills. It does appear to spoil one character's end, so be warned if you decide to check it out.
Considered in the context of Soderbergh's career, Haywire seems to contain the hard edges of The Limey mixed with the star-studded cast of the Ocean's films. The big question mark is Carano's performance, but it doesn't look like her role is going to require serious acting chops. Instead, the draw will be her ability to throw a punch and duke it out with Tatum and others. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling she'll do just fine. Regardless, it's another interesting step from a director who rarely takes the easy route.
I'm curious to hear what others think about Soderbergh's latest project. Is Haywire at the top of your must-see list for the new year?