If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know what my favorite things are: good-looking dudes with accents, ladies kicking ass, and action movies. So when I heard about Haywire, it was like Hollywood had tapped directly into my brainwaves and created a movie just for me! AWESOME, NO?
Actually, yes; frankly Haywire is a good movie, better than I was expecting. Its star is Gina Carano, a mixed martial artist who needs to play Big Barda as soon as possible--her supporting cast/list of people whose shit she fucks up includes Michael Fassbender (death by Carano's thighs+a gunshot to the head), Ewan McGregor (death by being trapped in a jetty with a broken leg as the tide comes in. Way harsh, Tai!), Antonio Banderas (presumably Carano kills him, but we don't see it), Channing Tatum (death by Ewan McGregor), and the adorbs Michael Angarano, who gets to live (although a deer smashes through his car's back windshield). See, Carano's character, Malory Kane, plays a former Marine who works for an independent contractor--you know the kind. The firm is run by Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), with whom Malory has just broken up (both with the firm and the man); Kenneth employs Aaron (Channing Tatum), with whom Malory worked on a job ostensibly extracting a hostage in Barcelona. However, the job was a set-up, concocted by Kenneth, bonus Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Fassbender's character Paul, and Antonio Banderas' character Rodrigo. Malory discovers this when she's on assignment with Paul in Dublin, who works with Kassovitz to frame her for murder, and, well, thigh-choking! What ensues is her quest to figure out who set her up and why, and to put them in the ground.
The action is great and the men are hot, but what I really enjoyed was how naturally and positively the character of Malory was drawn. She isn't a mindless sexpot; she is a woman who has sex with men when she wants to and stops when she wants to. She isn't a mindless killing machine; she has training and background and a job to do which she is good at. And of course, the fallout in her life comes from men who are incapable of seeing a woman in control of herself, her sex life, and her work without needing to take that control away. Kenneth claims his plan to squelch Malory is all about money--the money she will lose him when she leaves his employ--but it's clear that it's really about how he can't handle her breaking off their relationship. If he can't have her, no one will: not in terms of work and not in terms of love. To a man, the male characters underestimate Malory, even the relatively sympathetic Aaron, and underestimation is the core of disrespect. Luckily for her, she has the power to stop them.
This is what I'm looking for when I say I want to see and read about about strong female characters. Yes, if they're PHYSICALLY strong and kick LITERAL ass, it's a bonus, but the personality and character have to be there first. I want to see competent, capable women.