A fresh face can’t save Steven Soderbergh’s frivolous action flick. Guess you do need more than a gun and a girl. Steven Soderbergh’s latest trifle stars the gorgeous mixed martial artist Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a government assassin who turns rogue when her latest assignment – a ‘paid holiday’, according to smarmy handler Kenneth (McGregor) – goes south.
In actuality, Mallory was the target, and now she’s on a continent-hopping quest to find out who and why. Superimposed titles place us in exotic settings from Dublin to Majorca to Upstate New York (where you’d better watch your back for marauding digital deer!), though the ugly, nondescript hi-def palette, heavy on the piss yellows and shit browns, renders every locale flat and banal.
The same goes for the action: Soderbergh – who once again acts as his own pseudonymous cinematographer and editor – may eschew the Hollywood tendency to amp up the much-touted fight scenes with ADD cutting and sound effects. But there’s shockingly little thrill in watching Carano bounce off walls and pummel antagonists.
You know something’s off when Mallory’s acrobatic jaunt across Barcelona rooftops fails to get the blood pumping, even in a spot-the-Feuillade reference kind of way. Soderbergh’s all-around disinterest is palpable – he might as well be doing data entry. That’s unfortunate, since Carano is such an incandescent presence, especially when she plays James Bond dress-up with the always-welcome Michael Fassbender as a shady special-ops agent. Somebody get this drop-kicking Dietrich her Von Sternberg!