Film / Film with Female Lead / Gender Politics / Philosophy / Review

Haywire (2011)

Opening with a brilliantly realistic and rather unexpected fight scene, Haywire begins with a promising start for an action film.

With infallibly choreographed fight but less-than-mediocre acting and great shooting locations, the film really is just as most other action films are. As regular readers will know, the generic action and/or espionage film is one I vehemently try to avoid but, Haywire had been calling me for a few months.

 The film’s USP and main attraction for me was the female lead – professional mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano as Agent Mallory Kane. As Carano’s debut, it is unsurprising that her acting should be the first aspect of the film for me to note; hearing the line “You got a car?” has never before made me cringe, but, there’s a first time for everything.

“I’ve never [killed] a woman before.”

“Oh no, you shouldn’t think of her like that. That would be a mistake.”

The automated, robotic acting from Carano and co. would make even C3PO and Robocop blush with embarrassment. If you’re looking for an action film with packed with cool spy scenes and more importantly, solid acting, stunning cinematography and a sterling plot, I can recommend nothing else but Hanna (2011). A seventeen year-old girl could likely take Kane to the cleaners in the fighting and emotional resonance department.

In terms of plot, not much out of the ordinary happens in Haywire. Of course, events and characters in the film do go haywire, but it’s very rushed, clumsy and unexplained. To be honest, I lost interest but it may have been cyclical as I completely lost the plot.

You want me to be eye-candy? MI6 wants me to be eye-candy? I don’t even know how to play that – I don’t wear the dress. Make him wear the dress.”


  • Thrilling and realistic action/fight sequences
  • I will admit that there is still something attractive in the cliché of a woman scorned who seeks revenge. Unfortunately, there’s not enough emotional substance from Carano, but what I will say is that she is beautiful as she is strong; unafraid to equate with men. A rarity in the film industry these days. A standing ovation from me on that one.


  • Rushed plot
  • Terrible acting
  • Pointless cameos and small roles from Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton. Their names look great on the poster, though.

Final Verdict


Seriously, if we were talking about the fight scenes alone, I would give Haywire a 7. But, with all the elements of a film, I’ve got to have perspective. Haywire is a great action flick, and remains at that. Aside from the fight scenes and the physical ability of Carano – which I can’t commend enough – the film is a forgettable hour-and-a-half of your weekend time.

As such, there’s not much philosophical discussion to be had here; although, I would like to echo the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

I’m happy to admit that Haywire confirms this thought. No matter how much I can slate the intricate details of the film, Haywire does succeed in showing a (physically) capable female action hero. The reasons for this are, admittedly, unknown, but the point is – there are women out there who aren’t afraid of crossing gender and heteronormative boundaries which doesn’t sound like a great deal.

But you think about the last time a woman seriously kicked ass on the big screen…


One thought on “Haywire (2011)

  1. Pingback: Haywire (2011) | timneath

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