Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Haywire Movie Poster Image
Fight-filled adventure centers on female action hero.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Haywire's major theme is betrayal, followed by revenge. Although this revenge includes violence, you could argue that it's a way to set things right and to protect innocent people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In real life, co-star Gina Carano was one of the world's best female mixed martial arts fighters (she's now retired). In the movie, she's powerful and resourceful and often strives to do the right thing, making her a strong role model in certain ways. Unfortunately, she also occasionally kills an opponent, sometimes in self-defense, but sometimes not.


Haywire has several martial arts fight scenes, which sometimes result in injuries and blood, sometimes with dead bodies. There's also shooting and some blood. Many of the fights involve men hitting a woman. A character is shot in the head (with a pillow over the face to muffle the sound). A bad guy is captured with a heavy sliding metal door. There's a car chase and crash in the woods, with a dead deer. A character throws hot coffee in another's face.


Some kissing. In one scene, the female hero playfully undoes a male colleague's belt; nothing more is shown, but the scene definitely suggests sex. She is also shown in a variety of sexy outfits and poses, though she balks at an assignment where she's meant to be "eye candy."


Language is fairly infrequent but does include several uses of "s--t" and one "f--k." Characters also use "hell" and exclaim "oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" during tense moments.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Most of the characters are seen with alcoholic drinks at some point -- beer, wine, champagne, or whisky -- but always in a social/background way. One character complains of being hung over and tries to order a beer early in the morning. Another character smokes a cigarette in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Haywire is an action movie starring former mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano (Fight Girls). Expect plenty of kicking, punching, and beating, as well as shootings, dead bodies, and some blood. The main female character is shown in sexy outfits and poses; there's some kissing and one playfully suggestive scene, but no real nudity. Language is infrequent but includes a few uses of "s--t" and one "f--k." Alcohol is often present in a social/background way, and one character smokes a cigarette. The movie is definitely violent, but Carano could be seen as a strong role model for teen girls: She's confident and powerful and shows off a body that's not supermodel skinny.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written bynscharn55 March 13, 2020
Adult Written bySam M. April 23, 2016

Should be PG13.

No blood, cursing or sex. Some fighg scenes get rough but never bloody. A man gets shots through a pillow in the face.
Teen, 16 years old Written byTV man 13245768 October 18, 2015


I really thought this movie was going to be good. But it was a horrible movie. The violence is quite intense. At the beginning of the movie a man starts beating... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bygabingus October 4, 2013

A good movie!

Its a very good film. Expect lots of hand to hand combat, but not so much blood. It can be scary, because it is rather realistic, but kids 11-12 and up should b... Continue reading

What's the story?

Mallory (Gina Carano) is a super-cool secret agent with impeccable mixed martial arts fighting skills. After finishing up a job in Barcelona freeing a hostage, she looks forward to relaxing a bit. Unfortunately, her employer (Ewan McGregor) has an emergency: an easy two-day job in which Mallory must pose as the partner of agent Paul (Michael Fassbender). It's not long before Mallory realizes that the whole thing is a setup designed to get her out of the way. Now, escaping in a borrowed car with a civilian (Michael Angarano), she has only one chance to clear up the loose ends and set things right.

Is it any good?

HAYWIRE is a pared-down, almost simplistic action movie. Director Steven Soderbergh has a wide-ranging filmography, though it can be argued that his "fun" entries (Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven, etc.), are overall better than his "serious" movies. This one is mostly designed to showcase the beauty and power of Soderbergh's new star, female mixed martial arts fighter Carano.

Haywire features many fine, recognizable actors in small roles; their dialogue is spare and never divulges too much information or panders to the audience. (That said, the story itself is a fairly old one in this genre, and aside from the fact that Haywire is told in a non-linear fashion, it doesn't have much to add.) Soderbergh presents the fight scenes cleanly and simply, often without a music score, though he uses a funky brass score for chase scenes. However, in stripping away the fat, Soderbergh has also taken away some of the movie's emotional content; though it's a thrilling experience, it's also a somewhat surface one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Haywire's violence. How necessary was it to include dead bodies? Could the story have worked without the killings?

  • When Carano fights, is it violent and ugly, or graceful and beautiful? Or both? Do you consider her a role model?

  • What's the difference between getting revenge and setting things right? Do the ends ever justify the means?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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