Go ‘Haywire’ with Steven Soderbergh’s latest

Ewan McGregor is helpless against Gina Carano’s fist.

The story of a double-crossed contract killer has been done over and over again, sure. It takes the steady hand of a veteran director like Steven Soderbergh to make a new one not stink. We already know from his three “Oceans” movies that the director knows how to keep a caper film bouncy, fun and smart.

Unlike his darker work in films like “Contagion” and “Traffic,” Soderbergh seems to be able to turn a switch on his directing style when it comes to these “lighter” movies. The set up may be the same, but the outcome is never what you’d expect. When you’ve reached the end, you’re surprised you’re there, rather than feeling the movie should’ve ended 20 minutes earlier.

But half the reason this film isn’t just more of the same old wronged-assassin-on-a-mission movie is that mixed-martial arts master Gina Carano is its star. That a lady killer is still such a novelty may be a bit of an eye-roller, but Carano’s legitimate skills as a fighter bring a visceral punch to every bone-crunching action sequence. She’s not all there as an actor yet — sometimes issuing lines with such wooden machismo, she makes Jason Statham look like Laurence Olivier. But Soderbergh has surrounded her with a cast more than able to fill the voids of her own acting experience.

Synopsis

Contract killer Mallory (Carano) takes on one last assignment from her ex-lover (Ewan McGregor) to rescue a kidnapped journalist with the help of another contractor (Channing Tatum).

When one unexpected “babysitting” job comes up shortly after, Mallory realizes that she may be one who will be disposed of.


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