I have always been a fan of strong female heroes. Buffy, Faith, Cordelia (in season 3 of Angel), Sydney Bristow…And this summer I’m hoping to get into The Hunger Games, and it sounds like is pretty kick-ass too.
Haywire is The Bourne Identity meets Ocean’s Eleven. It has the feel of the 80’s action flicks of Jean-Claude Van Damme, in which the movie isn’t dependent on the star’s acting ability. That being said, Gina does a pretty good job holding her own in the acting arena, and given a few more films, she will be pretty good. (Remember that the trio from Harry Potter had no acting background before they got pegged for Philosopher’s Stone, and look at how they matured in their acting over the next seven films).
Move over JVC, Bruce Willis, and Jason Statham. There is a new action hero on the scene. But the question is, will audiences accept this 21st century heroine?
Some people might be uncomfortable with the fight scenes because of their realism.
It is this realism that caught me off-guard during the first fight scene. Fight scenes with characters like Buffy and Sydney are almost cartoonish. But this was different. You can tell that Carano does all her own fight scenes, and there is nothing flashy about them. She is doing what she knows, grappling and striking, leg locks and arm bars. All of which makes the fight scenes have a strong sense of realism about them. Compared to the cartoonish fighting of Alias and BtVS, Mallory is fighting ‘dirty’, and is not relying on stunt doubles, special effects, wire-fu, or highly stylized choreography.
Add to it that all the fight scenes are Mallory versus guys, and there may be some discomfort at the violence involving a woman, since we’re all taught that men aren’t supposed to hit a lady. But as Ewan MacGregor’s character says to Michael Fassbender’s character “Don’t think of her as a woman”, meaning that to do so will be to underestimate her.
To those who may feel uncomfortable, I would suggest that if that is the case, ask yourself, “Would I feel uncomfortable with this violence if it was done by a male action hero?” or “Do I feel this uncomfortable when Buffy is wailing on the vampires?”
The other thing I appreciated about this movie and the Mallory Kane character is that the movie doesn’t make her into a sex object. It would have been easy. An action movie for a mostly male audience means that the movie can show skin and sex appeal or even sex itself. This movie is discreet. The romantic sex scene is all innuendo, with the scene cut after the kiss, and restarted the morning after. As well, when Mallory has to go undercover in evening wear, she shows just how uncomfortable she is with it. It is not her. She is playing a part. But more importantly, the evening wear isn’t skanky or revealing; it is classy and elegant.
From what I’ve seen, the movie is getting decent reviews. I hope that means that we will see more of Mallory Kane/Gina Carano in the future. At the very least, hopefully it shines a spotlight on the female MMA circuit. There are some very talented female athletes who compete and who don’t get nearly the coverage that the male-dominated UFC gets.