This Weeks Movie Release
Mallory Kane (mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative working for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage in Barcelona, she discovers the man has been murdered — and all the evidence points to her as the main suspect. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every trick, Mallory realizes someone deep inside has betrayed her. But who? And why?
Far from home and on the run, Mallory executes a series of daring manoeuvres to throw the local SWAT team off her trail, only to find herself pursued by far deadlier forces. Crossing multiple international borders, she eludes a powerful web of law enforcement and private operatives until she finds herself left with few options. Increasingly desperate to clear her name and reveal the real traitor, Mallory uses her black-ops military training to devise an ingenious — and dangerous — trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she’ll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
With his latest thriller, director Steven Soderbergh (‘Traffic’, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’) once again tackles a popular movie genre, adding elements that subtly turn the audience’s expectations on their heads.
“I am a fan of the early James Bond films,” says Soderbergh. “‘From Russia With’ Love may be my favourite. In those movies, you get to know who the characters are instead of just what they do. In more recent espionage-action films, there isn’t a lot of time spent developing the supporting characters. I wanted to revisit the early Bond films. Their ratio of story to action is very much like ours.”
Soderbergh found his muse for this film in an unexpected venue. He had seen mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano fight, and became intrigued by the idea of featuring her in a movie. A thrilling and demanding combination of fighting styles including Muay Thai, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, wrestling, boxing, Sambo, kickboxing and Kung Fu, mixed martial arts gave Carano the ability to perform the kind of deadly hand-to-hand combat the director envisioned for his film.
“I knew there had to be a woman other than Angelina Jolie who could run around with a gun,” he says. “After I saw a couple of Gina’s fights, I viewed some interviews with her that showed her as a really genuine, very grounded person. It occurred to me that I could combine my desire to make a realistic espionage film with her expertise. But first I had to meet with her and see whether or not it would appeal to her.”
After an initial meeting, the filmmakers began to tailor the part of Mallory Kane for Carano. “We knew she’d be able do most of her own stunts,” says producer Gregory Jacobs. “That was key, because Steven was adamant about not wanting to do a lot of wire work. He didn’t want the audience to feel the action elements were so acrobatic or dangerous that a human couldn’t possibly be doing them. The wonderful thing about filming with Gina was that there were no special effects in the fights. Everything was real.”
Starring in a film was not something that Carano ever anticipated doing. The filmmaking experience left her with a great deal of respect for the hard work that goes into creating a movie. Even after her gruelling experiences as a professional fighter, she found herself exhausted by the process. “I’ve never experienced such long days,” she says. “Not only are you putting yourself out there physically, you’re putting yourself out there emotionally. You’re surrounded by people constantly and even your body is not your own. You’ve got hair and make-up, people are picking out your clothing, you’re with all the different actors. It was the most overwhelming experience, but I also felt like we were on this adventure together.”
Giving her an added boost of confidence was the top calibre cast and crew. “Steven surrounded me with the best people from beginning to end,” she says. “He walked me through every step of the way. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
CAST: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano, Mathieu Kassovitz
DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh