Direction: Steven Soderbergh
Actors: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor
A genuinely iconoclastic American filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh has demonstrated his command over the medium with both his Hollywood hits (the three Ocean's capers) and indie gems (The Girlfriend Experience).
A splashy, smart spy thriller, Haywire may not set out to reinvent the genre, but it constantly yields something unexpected.
The premise of the plot is a simple one. A kick-butt gun-for-hire (Carano) is double-crossed during a botched hostage-rescue mission in Barcelona. The target of several subsequent assassination attempts, she is determined to wreak vengeance on all who betrayed her.
Utilising an intricate flashback structure, Soderbergh creates unrelenting tension from the first frame to the last. The non-linear editing enhances his storytelling ability. The viewer is presented with bits and pieces of information which only cohere by the cracking finale.
With an impeccable eye for composition, the director, who also serves as cinematographer albeit under his usual nom de plume Peter Andrews, gives the action a realistic, fly-on-the-wall perspective.
The former women's mixed-martial-arts champion Gina Carano is a revelation in the lead role. Whether outrunning her pursuers or beating the living daylights out of opponents, Ms Carana is the epitome of an action star. (Angelina Jolie had better watch her back henceforth).
The A-list supporting cast includes Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Michael Fassbender as intelligence agents who may or may not be responsible for the plight of our plucky heroine.
The global locations, ranging from upstate New York to Dublin and New Mexico, are an added attraction. In sum, Haywire is high-class entertainment.