A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?