Later explanation doesn’t compensate for poor sound in movie

By A Contributor

Somebody’s going to have to explain the story of the new movie “Haywire” to me. Or, actually, somebody had to explain it to me immediately after the showing I watched, in Seth Childs Cinema’s audio-challenged auditorium number eight.

Carmike Cinemas, which owns the twelve-plex, knows of the problem and has recently had new speakers installed. So maybe the difficulty viewers had making out what was being said is actually the fault of the film’s sound mixing. Whatever caused the problem, the premium retro music overcame the dialog during all of what old-timers think of as the showing’s “last reel.”

Explanations of action and mystery and spy plots are always disappointments, showing the implausibility in certain sequences and making what was exciting seem silly. And the explanation I got of the events in this new Steven Soderbergh movie really undercut the effect of the whole. Apparently this stuff happened just because.

The movie stars newcomer Gina Carano, who is pretty convincing as a “mixed martial arts” fighter, as steely Mallory, a former Marine who has been working for a private “security” firm. She may or may not have had a romance with her superior in the company, operative booker Kenneth (Ewan McGregor).

But we start out with her rural, upstate New York meeting with a more recent lover, intellectually lumbering athlete Aaron (Channing Tatum—or is it Tatum Channing?). He throws a cup of coffee in her face and hits her. She is assisted by a young by-stander and escapes to tell the kid much of what’s happened to her the last few days. Why tell him? We see the events dramatized. They are intercut with her escape from the scene of the fight.

Apparently Aaron and Mallory and two other employees of the outfit were hired to go to Barcelona (the film moves from city to city) to grab a hostage from kidnappers and hand him off to guys who will smuggle him out of the country. This they accomplish, but the action here is almost all Mallory’s pursuit of one of the guys who had been guarding the hostage. Why does she chase him and smash him? She doesn’t like loose ends. What does that mean?

Mal no sooner arrives home (I think this is in San Diego) than Kenneth sends her off on a new job, supposedly to spend two days pretending to be the wife of another outfit employee. But for some reason she is suspicious—who knows why—and she discovers the Barcelona hostage, dead in a barn, covered with a tarp, and clutching a broach identified with our heroine—Mallory is being set-up as the murderer of the hostage she just helped save in Spain.

So she has to clobber her supposed hubby and escape over the roofs of Dublin in a sequence that has to remind action movie fans of one in Jason Statham’s recent version of “Killer Elite.” The action scenes here are pretty good here—quick cut and fairly realistic seeming. But they aren’t as good as that Statham passage.

Unfortunately the whole of “Haywire” can’t be action. Mallory sneaks back into the U.S. and the flashback story finally merges with the upstate New York pursuit, which ends when a deer jumps in the window of her borrowed car.

Among the characters appearing in the story are ones played by Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Pullman. Michael Fassbender is Mallory’s fake mate in Ireland. Soderbergh can still, as he has in the past, recruit known actors to play minor parts.

But why? Why do these guys want to appear in this action movie? Maybe there was an explanation offered during the film’s last fifteen minutes and I just didn’t hear it.

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