by Tony Medley
Run Time 93
OK for Children.
Soderbergh ably directs mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano in this
ingeniously convoluted action thriller, in which everyone is out to kill
Gina, that keeps you on the edge of your seat even though you don't have
a clue about what's going on until the end. Influenced by Soderbergh's
affection for one of his favorite films, James Bond's "From Russia With
Love," it is helped by a terrific cast including Ewan McGregor,
Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, and Michael Douglas.
The interesting script was written by Lem Dobbs, who, although
uncredited, rewrote the script for Romancing the Stone (1984), a
film that was good enough to inspire a sequel, 1987's Jewel of the
Nile. Unfortunately, Dobbs apparently had nothing to do with the
disappointing sequel. This is his first produced screenplay in ten years
since The Score (2001).
Soderbergh for casting the relatively inexperienced Carano to star in
this movie instead of casting someone like Reese Witherspoon, who can
act but who would have to be doubled for all the fighting and stunts.
Carano, while attractive, is no Elizabeth Banks or Katherine Heigl when
it comes to looks. But what she does is look like a real person (Banks
and Heigl are so beautiful it's hard to believe that they exist in real
life; could you meet someone who looks like them in a singles bar?).
So if one were
watching Witherspoon or Banks or Heigl in this role, it would stretch
credulity to the max. But when Carano starts her fighting and stunts,
she looks like she could really do whatever it is her character is
called upon to do, and that adds enormous verisimilitude to the story,
which often strains credulity.
hired by McGregor to go to Barcelona to do a job. Everything turns out
badly and she's left all alone to her own resources to survive, to
figure out what happened and why, and to exact revenge.
claims he used no CGI or special effects in this film, and it looks like
it. While some of the fights are a little too violent to believe that
they could go on for the periods that they do, they are still relatively
realistic. And Carano's face isn't hidden, a sure sign that a double has
He also has her
doing things that appear to be not altogether kosher, vis-à-vis her
partners. But Soderbergh added these elements because he feels like one
of the reasons Hitchcock's films were so successful with audience was
because "at their core they are all about guilt."
It's an action
film with a female protagonist played by an actress with the cred that
she could actually accomplish what she's shown doing, and it's a lot of
fun. Sure, there are more plot holes than you can shake a stick at, but
who cares? You know what you're getting when you pay your money.