Sunday, January 29, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that Planet Blue has entered the 2012 film season.  *takes bow*

Of all the months of the movie year, there is none worse than January.  The Fall is Oscar Bait season, and it hits high gear in December when all the Oscar Fishers send out their lines to catch a some big juicy awards to mount proudly on their wall.  January is past the deadline.  This is the time when studios dump their worst movies in the least offensive time, hoping to get the tiniest return on their failed investments.  So you get crap movies like "The Devil Inside" or "Sanctum".  Going to see a movie in January is like going to a party forty-five minutes after half the guests left: all the beer bottles are opened, the only nachos left are floating in the salsa, and the girls are all too drunk to hook up with.

Luckily, however, "Haywire" is that one pretty girl who somehow managed to sit through the party quietly nursing a tequila.  You'd think her existence is impossible, somebody should have found her already.  But here she is, all yours.  It must be fate, right?  "Haywire" is a perfectly solid action movie, shockingly good for a January release.  She isn't the brightest date, its pretty much just a straight "girl kicks ass" exploitation flick, honestly better for a rent than a full cinema experience.  If you need to see a good movie immediately, "Haywire" is your best bet.

The plan originally was for me to see "Red Tails", but something went wrong with the projector, so I snuck into this one instead.  The review of George Lucas's probably-quixotic swan song is coming at some point, but I cannot make any promises as to when.  I'm back in school, that kinda limits my options a lot for moving viewing.

The star of "Hayware" is Gina Carano, a very sexy and very believable badass chick.  Gina is a former Mixed-Martial Arts fighter and an American Gladiator, so you can believe that she's capable of kicking some ass.  Its not like an Angelina Jolie kind of situation where the actress is simply using movie magic to be a badass in order to sync with the modern fetish for action star females.  The fight scenes are brutal and believable, Carano gets down and dirty, winning entirely thanks to technique and training, not fake impossible CG like you'd see in say, "Sucker Punch".  Honestly, I think "Haywire" was built from the ground up just to use Gina Carano in wrestling fight scenes, with a plot and some surprisingly decent actors put around it.  And hey, watching Gina Carano strangle dudes with her legs and kicking off walls to flip dudes over and smash their skulls.  Its not a bad exterior to an exploitation film:  we got Antonio Bandaras, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton and Ewan McGregor.  That's a great supporting cast to anything.

Unfortunately for "Haywire" being a mystery story, you pretty much know the mystery from the start.  Gina Carano walks into a restaurant and is met by a hung-over Channing Tatum*.  They wind up kung-fu fighting, and you learn immediately that the bad guys are Gina's former employers.  So the big twist that she's being set up by her boss, that's easy to call.  Really, the only mystery in this spy mystery thriller is what the bad guys' are after, you know their entire plan.  Its a plot where the McGuffin - the object of no plot importance on its own and just causes people to fight each other for it - is the only mystery.

There's also the issue that even though the supporting cast is solid, nobody ever gets a chance to fully shine.  The cast is good, but there's no scenes of crazy awesomeness.  Its an entertaining movie, but there's nothing to smile at.  A truly great movie needs to have some kind of insanity, something really fun and ludicrous.  To use "CANAAN" as an example:  I wouldn't have even finished that series if Liang Qi wasn't being off the rails crazy the entire time.  At one point a deer falls through the back of a car, that's the closest thing this movie gets to true madness.

Luckily Gina Carano isn't bad to look at.  That's a face you can look at for an hour and a half.  Gina, will you marry me?

I also happened to really like the background music to "Haywire".  Long segments of the movie are just running chases through the streets, but with a jazzy background theme.  Its like a live-action "Cowboy Bebop" action scene.  Sadly none of the rest of the movie is like "Cowboy Bebop", mostly due to a criminal lack of spaceships and genius comic relief hacker children.

Ultimately the fact that I'm rapidly running out of things to talk about should be your first clue that "Haywire" hasn't revolutionized January cinema.  It was a decent start to 2012, but certainly not a memorable start.  When this movie comes out on Redbox in a few months, rent it then, its perfect for a dull evening.  Its never boring, its a solid B-movie.  Enjoy.

* Yeah, I know Channing Tatum is a horrible actor, but luckily he's not trying to be a hero in this movie.  He's just playing a fratboy douche, which is the role he was born to play.  Channing Tatum also dies slowly and painfully, which is very cathartic for everybody.


  1. Now that you mention "Cowboy Bebop", did you know that Director Shinichiro Watanabe is teaming up with Master Composer Yoko Kanno to create a brand new anime that's comming out this April?

    1. No I seriously did not. But now that researched has been done, apparently its called "Sakamichi no Apollon". Unfortunately its not a mixture of Pirates, Baroque clockwork technology, and Progressive Rock like I dreamed. Its about two young men in the 60s who like jazz... without any guns. I might miss this one, but I will listen to the soundtrack.

      What I am seriously excited for is a different April anime: EUREKA SEVEN ASTRAL OCEAN!!

  2. I think it kind of dragged, as long as Gina Carano was fighting, all was well. When she wasn't fighting, or artfully running through Dublin, she was talking in stilted sentences and staring and there just a lot of chit-chat. It's a bad day when Channing Tatum is out-acting you in the first ten minutes, but then again, she doesn't half give him a good seeing to.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the fights though, and watching Michael Fassbender is always a delight, but otherwise it just felt a bit flat everywhere else.

  3. Yeah 95% of movies that come out in January suck Underworld 4 wasn't bad but not as good as the other 3. This sort of extends into Febuary as well but less so then you get into March and April that are just build ups for Summer Blockbusters in May, June , and July then it sinks back into decent until November and December where ,as you said, Oscar bait gets released and that your year in films for the most part but there have been known changes to this schedule like with 300 i think that was a February release.