Live-wire kicks ass, but not wooden actComment on this story
DIRECTOR: Steven Soderberg
CAST: Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Gina Carano, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
OH LOOK, it’s a girl in an action movie… and she’s beating up all the boys.
This, then, is Hollywood trying to turn a stereotypical action movie on its head.
Only thing is, the big difference here is it is a girl doing the fighting, but it’s still the same idea.
A Black Ops soldier working in the private sector is double-crossed. Returning home a fugitive, the soldier must fight for survival, truth, justice and the American… No, wait, it’s supposed to be a game of survival.
But this is survival where you have access to black market passports, know how to sneak across the US border and have a dad with money.
The confusion of the main character, Mallory Kane (Carano), is mirrored by that of the audience. Continuity faults aside, the plot is an extremely convoluted affair, for all that Soderbergh has tried for a lean, clean look.
Carano is a mixed martial arts champion and the fight sequences are a beauty to behold. She holds her own, and she’s pretty to boot.
She beats six kinds of crap out of Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor, plus some no-name generic heavies for good measure.
Lots of close-up camera work shows precision fighting and it feels very real – probably more real than watching a proper mixed martial arts match, because it is fast, surprisingly bloodless, slick and only the bad guy gets hurt.
There’s no computer-generated imagery, no swagger and, unfortunately, no charisma on the part of Carano.
So many guys have made a living out of beating up people on screen, with nary a storyline in sight, so why not her?
She struggles her way through the dialogue with a leaden delivery – but this could also be helped down the hole here by the fact that her voice was apparently altered in post-production to make it sound deeper.
This being a Soderbergh film, there is a strong ensemble cast, and they all just make Carano seem an even worse actress by comparison.
There is no reason to get excited when her character beats up yet another person, because the Mallory character has not elicited any empathy or sympathy from the audience.
And it’s not because it’s a girl playing a role traditionally occupied by a boy – that was the attraction in watching the film in the first place.
It’s because she does not subvert the role in any way. She does it exactly how a boy would do it, and boringly to boot.
If you liked… Killer Elite or Colombiana… you will like this.