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Haywire (Blu-ray Review)

Steven Soderbergh is back with his latest indy film disguised as a big budget feature, which features an all-star cast and marks the debut of MMA female champion Gina Carano. Who’s in Haywire? Everyone. You’ve got Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, and a partridge and a pear tree. Seriously, with that much talent in front and behind the camera, one would be hard pressed to not think that the Haywire is something special. Well, we’re here to find out if all that awesomeness transcends into an awesome feature film. Keep reading and we’ll tell you.  Boom!

 

Film  

Haywire is the latest spy-thriller to hit screens in 2012, but this time out, it focuses on Mallory Kane, who is a tough-as-nails operative who finds herself on that pesky “expendables” list after a successful extraction job in Barcelona. Her handler is played by Ewan McGregor and is obviously up to no good. Other people brought into the fold to kill Mallory include: Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas and various henchmen, as well. What they didn’t count on was on Mallory’s resilience, because she’s one girl you do not want to mess with.

I enjoyed Haywire a lot when I saw it in theaters and still enjoyed it when I saw it on Blu-ray. It’s Steven Soderbergh’s latest flick and it’s super cool to see him tackle the spy-thriller genre. If there’s anyone out there that can do it, it’s him. You also know he will be bringing his A-game when it comes to casting and that’s exactly what he’s done. They say it’s a man’s world, but in Haywire, it’s the men who are living in Mallory’s.

The movie runs at a brisk 93 minutes with credits, but watching the first time you’ll feel like you’ve seen a much longer picture. It’s probably due to the globe-trotting aspect to it. Haywire takes place in New York, Dublin, Barcelona, Mexico, etc. It gives the film that much more of an epic scope. It’s also pretty neat to follow Mallory around the world while she kicks some ass.

I did read some reviews when the film was in theaters and noticed that everyone was pretty divided on the film. Some hated it and some loved it, but there was almost no middle ground. I found it odd but as I dug deeper into why some of the haters thought it sucked; it was due to Carano being “too good” as an operative. There was that whole underlined misogynistic tone to their arguments. Certain people could not handle seeing such a beautiful woman kick this much ass, nevermind the fact that she was a fighter in real life. Honestly, not since The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films have I seen a woman kick this much ass in a movie. It was wonderful to watch and I could never get why some couldn’t let it go. Oh well.

I do think Soderbergh’s direction and choice of score were great; the score giving the film that jazzy element to it, almost as tribute to those spy films of the past. Acting as his own cinematographer under a pseudonym, his compositions behind the camera are immaculate. It made me want to dig up my passport, so that I may also travel to these places all over the world. Watching the film again on Blu-ray, I did notice that it moved much faster than watching it the first time at the theater. I hope that more people give it a chance on home video, because Haywire is a treat.

Video 

Haywire is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. I believe this was shot on a RED camera, but you wouldn’t think it was, because it retains that film-like quality to the image all the way through. Grain levels are brilliant, contrast levels never boost with exception to certain environmental factors, and black levels are deep and inky without any crush. Flesh tones are great, with everyone looking healthy and natural except when they start to get beaten down to a pulp. Color levels are also bold and vivid when they need to be. This would be only about 25% of time, because the rest of the time is spent in areas, countries, and whatnot, where the skies and surrounding environments are in overcast mode. Still, they look awesome. It’s a near reference quality disc with regards to the video presentation. I approve this video score.

Audio 

Haywire is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. It’s kind of peculiar that Lionsgate, or whoever, chose a 5.1 lossless soundtrack over the usual 7.1 lossless track that Lionsgate is famously known for. No matter, Haywire sounds bloody brilliant on Blu-ray. It’s also one of those soundtracks that crackle with realistic sounds as opposed to overinflated foley sound effects. In fact, if you listen to the trailer and then compare it to the feature film, you’ll notice that the hits sound totally different. This is great in that the filmmakers wanted to keep that sense of reality and grit in tact. Sure, there’s choreography involved, but the hits sound warm, natural, and inviting. Yep, I said the hits sound inviting. Pretty cool for a kick ass spy-thriller filled with martial arts, huh. Dialogue is also clean and crisp and you’ll never have a hard time hearing what the primaries are saying. It’s a nice lossless presentation, indeed. 

Extras 

I was severely disappointed with the lack of extras included on this Blu-ray package. We get two featurettes that cover Carano’s prep-work along with her background, which is the only highlight to be found here. The other is a featurette that covers the other actors involved. That one was pretty standard and not interesting. There’s a crappy digital copy included, but you all know how I feel about digital copies. The extras score will greatly affect the final Blu-ray score, unfortunately. 

  • Gina Carano in Training
  • The Men of Haywire

Summary 

Again, what’s to say that hasn’t already been said? Nothing. Gina Carano kicks major ass in terms of action and aesthetics. I would be more than happy to take a beating from her any day of the week. She’s gorgeous and for being her first film, does a pretty commendable job. I hope that she picks more roles like this, but I hear she’s been cast in a Fast and Furious sequel, so I’ll refrain from judgement on that. Knowing how cool she already is, she’ll probably be the best thing in that next installment. As it stands, Haywire is solid and worth your time. Gina, call me, yo! 😉

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Haywire (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Matt Goodman

    Can’t wait to see Carano kicking ass in FAST SIX!!!!

  2. Brian White

    I’ll give this one a second chance some day. Thanks for the good coverage G!