Haywire is lovingly lighted and filmed, its action as sparingly edited as old Hollywood musicals, so that the painstaking fight choreography can be appreciated,” writes N.Y. Times contributor Margy Rochlin in a Gina Carano interview piece. “As the double-crossed freelance agent Mallory Kane, Ms. Carano gives Haywire jolts of energy with her arsenal of explosive moves: pushing off walls, slinging sheet pans, twisting arms until they break.

Haywire star Gina Carano. (N.Y. Times photo by Misha Erwitt.)

Rochlin quotes Haywire director Steven Soderbergh as follows: “Why are action films so ugly? Why can’t there be action, and why can’t they be beautiful to look at?”

From my 11.7 review: “There’s something almost stunning about the straight-up realism in Haywire‘s fight scenes. Or nostalgic, I should say. For as I mentioned last night, and as Soderbergh himself noted during last night’s post-screening q & a, the fight-scene realism is a kind of tribute to the train-compartment battle between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love (’63).

“With their phony, fetishy, high-flying action-ballet bullshit, most Asian martial-arts films (efforts like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon excepted) get it so completely wrong, for whatever reason not understanding or unable to deliver Haywire‘s simple aesthetic.

“Soderbergh’s shooting and editing of the Haywire fight scenes is exquisite. Haywire is faster and more furious than Drive, but Soderbergh is clearly coming from the same ‘tone it down, think it through and make it real‘ school of action cinema. At no time do Haywire’s action scenes give you that awful feeling of being artificially adrenalized and jacked-up for the sake of coherence-defying Michael Bay-o sensation.”

Action geeks who’ve talked down Haywire so far are pitiful. Their preference for the heightened anti-realism and cartoon CG-bullshit school of action movies needs to be deplored. They are the carriers of the corporate, ComicCon-tinged virus than has all but ruined the action genre.