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Film: Haywire

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), a Private Military Contractor who does wetwork for the CIA, is betrayed by her employer after a hostage rescue mission in Barcelona. She must then set out to find out why she was betrayed and take revenge on everyone involved.

Carano is a former MMA fighter with a 7-1 win-loss record, primarily in Elite eXtreme Cagefighting. Her background makes her a natural choice for the ass-kicking, hardcase Mallory. Her star-studded supporting cast includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton as her father.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh in his realistic mode, the film was well-received by critics but panned by general cinema-goers. It's a sparse, fast-moving action movie with no extra fat, realistic explosions and gunplay, and brutally convincing fight scenes, Carano excelling at her own stunts (and... competent in her acting). However, it has also been criticized for a barely-coherent plot, failure to wrap up several loose ends and some unnecessarily long, silent shots of doorways and such.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Mallory, of course. The movie is very notable for being a relatively mainstream gritty action flick with a female lead in the style of Bourne (as opposed to She-Fu or Bullet Time style action girls).
  • All-Star Cast: Gina is the only non-name actor in the cast.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Mallory cleans up nicely at certain points in the film, but there is no mistaking she is physically very powerful.
  • Anachronic Order
  • Badass Bystander: In the diner fight, a male bystander wrestles Aaron away from Mallory, and seconds later the waitress smashes a coffee pot over Aaron's head.
  • Badass Boast
    "...or you can tell me in ten minutes when I have my hands around your throat."
  • California Doubling: New York State is played by New Mexico (averted elsewhere in the film, with shooting in Ireland and Spain).
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Inverted, somewhat. Michael Douglas' CIA character is portrayed as helpful towards Mallory if not outright fixing things. On the other hand, Kenneth's PMC goons impersonate FBI agents at one point.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Everyone. Aaron opens the diner fight by throwing hot coffee in Mallory's face and instantly follows that with a ketchup bottle to the head, and the rest of the fights are similar. The hotel-room fight begins when Paul hits Mallory from the rear, knocking her down.
  • Combat Stilettos: Averted, (along with Action Dress Rip, Stripperific and other similar tropes) Mallorie takes off her high heels right before going into the hotel room, knowing that Paul was going to attempt to kill her.
  • Coup de Grâce: after thoroughly defeating Paul and beating him senseless, rather than immediately make her escape, Mallory proceeds to execute the man with a gunshot to the head.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Don't worry, she's escaped the cops with clever drivi DEER!
  • Dublin: The setting for most of the film.
  • Fauxreigner: Paul pretends to be a British secret agent but is revealed to actually be an Irish hitman.
  • Gas Mask Mooks/SWAT Team: The Garda Síochána Emergency Response Unit. They aren't actually villains per se - just police officers who have been wrongly informed Mallory is a murderer - but they perform this role and the Faceless Goons rule is definitely in effect. When faced with unmasked cops later in the film Mallory surrenders peacefully.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Mallory uses a pillow in front of the muzzle when she shoots Paul but it doesn't make the shot any quieter. It may have been simply to avoid blood/brain splatters.
  • Idiot Ball: Kenneth simply does not let go. You'd expect a man in his profession to know a little more than he apparently does when it comes to, say, how to kill a single woman in an exposed cop car in the middle of nowhere, or whether it's a good idea to wander around on a remote beach all alone when you know there's a trained killer after you, or even how to run without getting your foot stuck in a rock.
    • Also, when he finds out that Mallory is in the house- which she grew up in- with him and his team, he orders them to search for her. Results in a Mook Horror Show.
  • Improvised Weapon: Hot coffee, a ketchup bottle, a fork, the coffee pot...and that's in the first fight. It's about what you'd expect, given the entire cast being Combat Pragmatists.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: Averted. The few explosions in the film are all small amounts of C4 that detonate with the true-to-life dull boom and a cloud of concrete dust.
  • Jitter Cam: Averted with extreme prejudice; the chase and fight scenes are filmed in long, steady takes that let you see exactly what's going on.
  • Karma Houdini: Studer, but Mallory probably deals with him.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The hotel room fight scene.
  • Large Ham: Among skillfully understated performances, Antonio Banderas stands out with his true-to-form overdramatic Spanish accent. This is by no means a bad thing.
  • Meta Casting: It's been said that Gina was the inspiration behind the movie in the first place.
  • Mook Horror Show: The fight in Mallory's house. The lights are off, she grew up here, and the villains split up. Too Dumb to Live.
  • Murderous Thighs: Mallory ends her fight with Paul by choking him unconscious with her thighs before shooting him in the head.
  • Oh Shit: Book Ends the movie, starting with Mallory being upset that Aaron is the one that shows up to the diner. Then Rodrigo's line at the end of the film when Mallory drops in on him.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Jiang.
  • Quieter Than Silence: You will become painfully aware of what footsteps and clinking cups sound like watching this film.
  • Roof Hopping: Mallory does some of this to escape an ERU team in Dublin. Played with a little, as she ends up taking a hard fall.
  • Sequel Hook: Mallory is offered to work directly for the US Government in exchange for information from Michael Douglas' character.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Despite tomboy Mallory's protests to Kenneth that "I don't wear the dress," her cocktail-party outfit makes her quite the looker.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: It's left vague but it is established that Mallory and Aaron had a thing going.
  • Tempting Fate: "Jesus! You're a really good driver!"
  • Trash the Set: The hotel-room fight manages to break just about everything in the room except the sofa. Which still gets knocked over.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Subverted. Paul pretends to be a suave and flirtatious English spy working with Mallory, when he's actually a thuggish Irish hitman hired to frame her for murder and kill her.
  • Wild Card: Once Coblenz realises that Mallory's being framed by Kenneth, his actions are transparently motivated by making sure that he can still work with whichever one of them survives.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Everyone. Justified, since she's completely capable of beating them up in return.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Aaron, once he started connecting the dots on Mallory's "rogue" status and Kenneth's insistence on finding her.

The Haunting Of Whaley HouseFilms of the 2010sHead Over Heels

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