• Review Date: January 20, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Fight-filled adventure centers on female action hero.
  • Review Date: January 20, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes





What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?


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. HAYWIRE is a pared-down, almost simplistic action movie, 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:January 20, 2012
DVD release date:May 1, 2012
Cast:Ewan McGregor, Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender
Director:Steven Soderbergh
Studio:Relativity Media
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some violence

This review of Haywire was written by

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Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written byzigalayho May 12, 2012

Extremely realistic assassination movie..

This is not your typical action flick. This movie is more realistic and true than the fantastically portrayed stories we are flooded with today. There are a few curse words, one f* bomb, but other than that, mild. There is violence, but it's not over the top, blood and gore; it's more realistic in it's presentation. The fight scenes are well choreographed, enough to be believable. There is no CG special effect bull crap involved in this one. The female lead in this one is excellent. She isn't a rail thin actress trying to make you believe she could actually kick a grown man's butt (*cough* Angelina Jolie *cough*) She is a former MMA fighter.... she could put a hurtin' on most men any day! It's nice to see a strong, healthy female in a leading role, kicking a**. Yes, this movie doesn't move at the pace we are familiar with in today's 'bigger booms are better, and more often' movie mentality. This movie focuses more aesthetics. If you can a appreciate it, give it a shot. If you have to have something amazing happening every few minutes, with dry witty banter, move on to Mission Impossible. Tom Cruise sprinting is a sand storm should make you happy.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byswaterfield February 3, 2012


Just as with many movies released recently, Haywire does not live up to the hype. While there is violence, there is not grotesque or gruesome violence. Think more MMA style fighting without the blood. The violence was not over the top or in your face, just there sporadically. There are a couple of curse words but no more than three in the entire movie. The rating for this movie doesn't match how other movies have been rated (Movies with a PG-13 rating that should have been R). Our 9 year old daughter is in taewkwando and enjoys MMA fighting. She loved the fact that the protagonist is a strong female. We made the decision after reading a multitude of reviews to take her. She was so bored by the movie that she almost fell asleep. Afterward when asked, she said the movie was a waste of money because it was too slow. Overall the movie was a disappointment for the entire family.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byRobsterReviews June 30, 2012

Haywire Movie Review

Really good secret agent movie has awesome action
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism


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