Haywire comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray complete with a superb 1080p video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Obviously the film has been heavily stylised according to the preferences of the director, who tends to adopt a warm, golden brown feel for the Barcelona scenes, a more drab urban touch for Dublin, and both snow-tipped-but-sunny and sweltering desert locales for the US, with lens flares readily apparent. Detail is excellent throughout, with fantastic fine object observation on the close-ups which reveal everything about the characters’ faces, for good or for bad. Indeed the almost complete lack of grain/noise – due to the HD-shot cinematography – might take a while to get accustomed to, but only allows you to be further impressed in terms of presentation. The colour scheme has been skewed, as aforementioned, but colours still largely ring true, and are always in-line with the intended stylisation. We get few vibrant, vivid colours, but skin tones are healthy and positively glow for the most part. Blacks are strong, with excellent shadow detail, a strong plus when you consider how many darker sequences we get. This is a demo video presentation through and through, and will likely not fail to impress.
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is almost as impressive, again making the most of the eclectic offering that Soderbergh has in store for you, adopting a retro seventies feel in terms of the score, and boasting some impressive effects moments. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, often of the quiet, conversational variety, but always clear, and dominating the frontal array wherever necessary. Effects are also quite subtle and well-nuanced for the most part, the atmospherics being well-observed and creating a perpetual ambience which works well with the piece. Of course we do get some exceptional breakout moments where the more bombastic elements come into play, gunshots ranging from assault rifle to SMG to shotgun to handgun blasts offering up a broad dynamic spectrum that bounces around the surrounds observantly. Again, Soderbergh’s stylisation often leads him to blot out the effects in favour of composer David Arnold’s score, which takes over and provides a heady backing accompaniment. Overall resounding as another easily demo quality offering, this is an impressive audio presentation.
Far from packed with extra features, this release still boasts a couple of nice interview-dominated Featurette offerings.
Gina Carano in Training runs at 16 minutes in length and focuses on Carano, taking in her MMA history and showing us clips of her first match, with interviews from both the founder of Extreme Fighting and Soderbergh himself, who explains, at a roundtable discussion, what inspired him to make a Carano-centric production.
The Men of Haywire makes for a nice accompaniment, offering up a total of just over 5 minutes of interview clips taken from all the major players – Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and even Antonio Banderas.
Characters of Haywire allows us a few minutes of further insight into the characters created by Soderbergh to populate this world.
The disc is rounded off by the Original Theatrical Trailer.
Though the story is nothing that we haven’t come across before, it’s surprising what some classy style – refreshingly different editing and 70s retro scoring – can do for an ostensibly standard vehicle. Oh, that and having a kick-ass female lead who can actually kick ass. Introducing MMA fighter Gina Carano to audiences worldwide, the latest film from daring director Steven Soderbergh – who appears to be not only capable of tackling any genre he turns his hand to but also finding female lead acting talent in the least likely places – takes Bourne, Hanna and Salt, throws in a hint of Gibson’s Payback and mixes it up in the style of Soderbergh’s earlier definition-of-cool masterpiece, Out of Sight, to remarkably effect. It's not groundbreaking. It'll never be an all-time classic. But it's taut and punchy and full of good action sequences captured in an unusual style. It gets an easy recommendation from me: you should watch this and everything else Gina Carano comes up with because she's one real-life fighter who appears to be actually capable of making the transition to mainstream movies.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get outstanding video and impressive audio, and a few nice extras to offer a hint of background detail into the production; overall fans of the film shouldn’t hold off picking this superb release up, and newcomers who appreciate decent spy thrillers, action thrillers, lead-heroine actioners and/or Soderbergh movies in general should consider this a worthy watch if not blind-buy addition to their collection. Both strangely familiar in terms of content, yet refreshingly different in terms of style, the reason why you’ll love it will still likely be because of one woman.
Gina Carano. Remember the name.Indeed after the first five minutes of this film you’ll be hard pushed to forget her.
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