Ladies have so many choices these days about who they get to be in this world. Do they want to work in the home taking care of their family? Do they want to pull their hair back and be high-powered execs? Or do they want to wear sensibly stylish clothing that allows them enough range of motion to knock out an entire room full of SWAT team members using nothing but their own limbs? Although my life is a versatile mixture of the three, Gina Carano has decided the latter works for her. If you're ready to sit through 90 minutes of being fascinated/turned on/terrified by a scarily attractive and talented female Mixed Martial Arts fighter, this is your movie. Thank you Steven Soderbergh, for injecting a shot of adrenaline into our hibernating hearts.
Since this isn't one of Soderbergh's most complex or nuanced films, all you need to know is that Mallory Kane (Carano) is a spy incensed over being double-crossed. And when she's that angry, it doesn't matter how many ball gowns you put her in, she's going to ruin them by throwing dudes into glass shelving until everyone bad is dealt with. That's it. She never stops for reflection or a manicure. She just continually pounds people's faces in until she gets answers, and eventually justice. It's completely excellent, thanks to its star.
Carano's skill is the centerpiece here, although everyone adds a bit of sparkle to the brilliance. I was open-mouthed at the stunt work, which involves a plethora of running up walls, jumping off buildings, head locks, flips, and broken glass. Gazing upon her for the length of the film, I was most excited about how she really is an MMA fighter and therefore looks the part--which I hope convinces Hollywood to mine for more realistic performers in the future. All of her counterparts in the film (Michael Douglas, Ewan MacGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, and Channing Tatum) all stepped up their game to even be in her presence. It seemed like Channing Tatum even knew what was going on in this movie, which speaks volumes.
Although I believe Out of Sight is still my favorite Soderbergh picture, this one comes a close second thanks to his commitment to putting the talent on display. All the fight scenes are easy to see and map out, and they come fast and furious. However, unlike most pictures that attempt this kind of nonstop action, the script and performances were solid and believable. It also might have helped out a little by Soderbergh's choice to lower the pitch of Carano's actual voice (she normally sounds more valley girl than hard core contract operative), but I suspect it's more about the actress herself being strong enough to allow everyone else to orbit around her, attempting to dodge her reckoning.