ALSO OPENING: 1008
'HAYWIRE', Steven Soderbergh's 25th feature as director features a wronged woman out for payback, an ever-deepening conspiracy and a raunchy brass and wah-wah soundtrack, but it is no mere exercise in pastiche.
The mixed martial arts fighter and first-time actress Gina Carano plays Mallory Kane, a black-ops super-soldier who is on a globetrotting mission to flush out a double agent. Colleagues who fall under suspicion include her lunkish ex-partner (Channing Tatum), a drippy strategist (Ewan McGregor), and a dapper Irish colleague (Michael Fassbender, essentially playing the Bond Girl role).
'Haywire' will inevitably be compared to action woman romps such as 'Kill Bill', 'Salt' and 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider', but it is genetically closer to Nicolas Winding Refn's pulp-literate neo-noir 'Drive'. For the first time since his 'Ocean's Eleven' films, Soderbergh seems to be relishing cinema's potential for fun - and that means we do, too. - ©Robbie Collins, The Daily Telegraph
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
TIMUR Bekmambetov's film could have been a one-joke spoof of the historical biopic, lampshading its own silliness and livening up the joint with decapitations when required. Instead, it is played dead straight, which is all a bit curious.
When Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln', with Daniel Day-Lewis in the role here played by solid novice Benjamin Walker, is released to qualify for Oscars at the end of the year, you can expect to see Bekmambetov's flick automatically cited as the livelier alternative, but if this is the fun one, it is hard to imagine what the fun-free one is going to be like.
It is not all bad, by any means. The storytelling has a certain Saturday matinee verve, and there is some mileage, without going all David Icke, in the notion of secret societies infecting America's soul down the generations. Anthony Mackie has a kick-ass dignity in the role of Will Johnson, a real-life ex-slave who became Lincoln's friend. Visually, though, it remains a sloppy and alienating affair: when 3D dust motes and train engine sparks are the most tempting things to look at, something has failed. - ©Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph
WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
NADINE Labaki's follow-up to 'Caramel' is this comedy about a group of Lebanese women, some Christian, some Muslim, who quell religious tensions between their menfolk with whacky ploys. The result is beyond disastrous, like some unholy attempt by Adam Sandler to update 'Lysistrata'. - ©The Daily Telegraph