Haywire Review: Not a Spy Movie For Everyone

I just finished watching ‘Haywire.’ I really liked it. It appears to be a lower budget film with some heavy hitters such as Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum. I’m certain that many people would find ‘Haywire’ to be a slow movie. Especially considering it’s about a spy on the run. But I didn’t find it to be slow. I liked the pacing, it drew me into the movie. The film also challenged me to understand what was going on with the larger plot. I understood the immediate problems, our protagonist, Mallory Kane, is on the run from her employers who have tried to kill her, I don’t feel like I’m being left in the dust, but I’m forced to close my computer-which I’m usually using while watching a movie-and pay attention. And as I payed attention I found myself drawn in by the long scenes, the two or thee camera angles, and the often absence of music. There was an underlining tension that could be felt in the film even during the slow parts.

Then of course there’s Gina Carano who plays Mallory Kane. Most actresses who play spies are just a pretty face. Their stunt double do most of the sweaty work leaving the actress to stand over “her conquered foes” once the Double is done. But Gina Carano is an ex MMA fighter and she knows how to handle herself. Her fights lack the usual Hollywood over the top showiness-though there are some cool moves-but actually look like realist fights. Not to mention the movie doesn’t make her Superwoman. She has to go up against a couple of the guys and she doesn’t beat them with just brawn, but with skill and strategy. Because come on, I’m a martial artist, and there’s no way I’m going to go up against a guy twice my size and start trading punches. I’m going to go for his weaknesses and try to finish it as quickly as possible.

I’d say this is one of the best female spy movies I’ve seen. Though not for heart pumping, flashiness, but rather intensity and believability. The movie has it’s flaws, the dialogue is a bit weak, though it preferred to show you what was going on rather then tell (hence the need to pay attention). Interestingly enough many of the things that I believe people would call flaws in the movie were actually the movies strengths; the long scenes, the limited camera angles, and lack of soundtrack are all things that many-including myself in many cases- would call flaws, but in this movie I would say they were the things that drew me in.

This is definitely not a movie for everyone, but I for one enjoyed it.

Divergent: The Book I Didn’t Think I’d Like

‘Divergent.’ I had a couple friends recommend the book to me, the same friends who recommended ‘Hunger Games’ (which I didn’t like much), so I was hesitant to actually read the book. The synopsis felt familiar and after reading the first page I rolled my eyes and thought “another book about a teen girl written in first person, great.”

But curiosity got the best of me and I decide to start it. At first I wasn’t impressed. The book seemed to be following along with my worst fears; “Typical teen girl in turmoil as she tries to decide between home faction, which she doesn’t quite fit into and the faction she’s always been intrigued by.” Oh great drama.

I was slight intrigued by the idea of her being Divergent, whatever that meant, yet was still feeling critical and so not easily impressed. I found the Dauntless rather interesting and started to enjoy myself in their compound-I’m a sucker for violence, what can I say? Though I spotted Four  a mile away. Actually I knew as soon as Beatrice jumped into the net. Yet you can’t imagine my relief when I discovered there was no love triangle-“Glory Hallelujah!” I think I really started enjoying the book as I read about Beatrice’s growth and change from Beatrice into Tris. I was impressed by her as she learned bravery and yet didn’t let go of the values she’d learned in Abnegation. She went through some real changes and I like to see a character change and grow. I also liked that most of her success in Dauntless was not because she was physically powerful, but mentally so. She does improve physically because of the Dauntless training and who wouldn’t *laugh,* but she doesn’t turn into some superhero.

I think in the end what I really liked about Divergent was the characters journey to self discovery, which led her to see the flaws in her world. Her connect with her old life was what stopped her from whole heartedly accepting the Dauntless values as the only values. And she eventually realizes that bravery and selflessness go together. And by discovering this she began to realize that all the virtues are equally important and that it isn’t right to divide them because that’s when a virtue becomes a flaw as the people become self-righteous  and prideful.

I believe I liked the book because of its focus on morals, growth and family. It actually had some depth to it and wasn’t loaded down with silly drama and ridiculous love triangles.