Haywire, an action movie starring mixed martial arts champion-turned-actress, Gina Carano as black-ops contractor Mallory Kane, starts off promising enough. A lone-wolf on the prowl, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, sets off to avenge some unknown grievance. After a car-jacking, a bumbled mission, a few fight scenes, and about a half hour or so into the film, it is still unclear exactly why she is so pissed off, and plugging in the missing pieces is nothing if not frustratingly impossible.

Mallory comes equipped with the same intensely blank stare that Jean-Claude Van Damme used to don in his movies back in the 1980’s and 90’s, and the same clumsy one-liners too. “He better run,” and “I don’t like loose ends” are simply space fillers, and add nothing to the overall development of Mallory as a character, or the plot of Haywire as a whole.  While she is an impressive, though sometimes predictable, fighter in the movie, her permanent glare makes it hard for audiences to sympathize with her because even when she goes undercover and gets all dolled up, she seems as personable as a brick wall. There is a threadbare back story for each of the supporting characters, and not much else to help the story ring true, or even finished. Audiences will sit on the edge of their seats, waiting for some interesting revelations, unpredictable fight scenes, telling dialogue, unique camera angles, or anything to sustain the movie, but they will wait in vain, because there is none of that.

At best, Haywire features a stunningly skilled MMA fighter who takes punched, kicks, head butts and tackles better than most men. But you are also stuck with an underdeveloped script, an unoriginal storyline, and predicable villains with no depth, no common sense, and the flimsiest excuses for double crossing ever to be caught on film. The villains are hard to completely dislike, though because Mallory isn’t developed enough for audiences to fully commit to rooting for her.

One would think that with an all star cast that includes the likes of Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas, Haywire would be a film with the potential to be a blockbuster standout. This is, unfortunately, a false assumption. It is rare to get an actor, male or female, with the mixed martial arts background that Gina Carano brings to the table. Formally trained in Muy Thai under the famed Master Toddy, she once took out an opponent in just 39 seconds. What this means for Steven Soderbergh as a director is that he had the rare opportunity to literally have a warrior to star in a film with scene after scene of hardcore hand to hand combat with little to no reliance on technology. Soderbergh was thrilled to develop Haywire around Carano and her specialized skill set, and even psyched about the fact that she was a newbie to the film scene.

What this set of circumstances also means is that he has the responsibility to deliver a polished product that takes full advantage of the possibilities, and blows audiences away. Haywire not only fails to live up to this hype, but is a vast disappointment on just about every level.