Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Haywire is Certified Fresh

Plus, Red Tails fails to take off, and guess Underworld: Awakening's Tomatometer.

by | January 19, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a ferocious femme fatale (Haywire, starring Gina Carano and Ewan McGregor), fearless flyboys (Red Tails, starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr.), and a vengeful vampire (Underworld: Awakening, starring Kate Beckinsale and Stephen Rea). What do the critics have to say?

Haywire

80%

First-time actress Gina Carano was plucked straight from the mixed martial arts world by director Steven Soderbergh, who happened upon one of Carano’s fights while channel surfing and was so impressed that he decided to build a film around her. The result is Haywire, a spy thriller that critics say is another fine piece of entertainment from Soderbergh. The film stars Carano as Mallory Kane, a high level covert operative who is betrayed and left for dead by someone in her own organization. With several assassins on her trail, Mallory must survive long enough to discover the truth and exact her revenge. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Haywire benefits from quick pacing, immersive action sequences, and a game cast, including a surprisingly comfortable Carano. (Also, check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Steven Soderbergh’s Best Movies, and our Five Favorite Films interview with star Gina Carano.)

Red Tails

40%

A passion project for producer George Lucas, who began development on the film over 20 years ago, Red Tails dramatizes the heroic efforts of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all African American aerial unit in the United States armed forces. As World War II rages overseas, the Pentagon calls upon the aviators of its experimental Tuskegee training program, led by Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) and Major Emanuelle Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr.), to help turn the tide. Having spent most of the war on the ground and fighting segregation, the young airmen are finally given the opportunity to defend their honor in battle. The pundits say Red Tails displays a genuine admiration for its subject matter and soars when the action takes to the skies, but it’s weighed down by hokey storytelling that diminishes its impact.

Underworld: Awakening

26%

After skipping the third film of the Underworld franchise, Kate Beckinsale returns to reprise her role as werewolf-hunting vampire Selene in Underworld: Awakening. Set after the events of Underwrold: Evolution, Awakening finds Selene captured by humans and imprisoned in a cryogenic facility for twelve years, during which time the public has discovered the existence of both vampires and lycans (werewolves). Upon escaping from the facility, Selene faces an unfamiliar world where humans now hunt the immortals, and with a vampire-lycan hybrid on the loose, she begins the fight for her own survival. The makers of Underworld:Awakening have decided not to screen the film for critics, who they apparently believe all wield wooden stakes and silver bullets, so it’s about that time to guess the Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

And finally, the multiple award-winning French film The Artist and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close both expand to wide release this week.

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