I think Steven Soderbergh has a thing for deadpan women. Though maybe it's not fair to generalize on the basis of the two examples that come to my mind, namely, this and The Girlfriend Experience. But seriously, Gina Carano was basically monotone for the entire movie, to the point where you almost wonder if it's meant to be absurd when a guy comes onto her. Yes, she's attractive, but come on, she's like a brick wall. How do even flirt with such a creature?
Perhaps her utter lack of any sort of emotion is partly to blame for why this movie feels so utterly flat. It's unbelievably blah, a kind of drab paratactic structure that suddenly tries to double back on itself and be a complex thriller with an intricate plot (but wait! you saw this thing happen but now let's jump back in time and make it seem more COMPLICATED!). So, first off, that shit annoys me. If I didn't care the first time around, I'm not going to suddenly start caring more when you show it to me again. I'm not sure why, but I just don't care if secret agents are being betrayed. Doesn't that come with the territory of being a secret agent? What did you expect?
The main thing I found interesting about the movie was the fight scenes. Carano is not a big woman, and she isn't especially believable as a muscular one (unlike, say, Sarah Connor). The movie frequently pits her against guys who clearly outweigh her by a good 50 pounds, and usually have better weapons. She does a reasonably persuasive job beating them up - at very least, you've got to admit that she can take a punch. And she does. A lot of them. It's a pretty violent movie, or maybe it seems more so because it's a woman getting her head slammed into things, and you don't see that as often. But what I couldn't help but notice was that the action scenes did have her punching a lot. And I felt keenly aware of the fact that given her size, she's just not gonna be able to punch as hard as these dudes can (which also makes me question whether anyone punches as hard as people in movies. I bet not...). What maybe makes you notice it more - or maybe is the film's attempt at some degree of realism - is that she tends to get a running start. Or to give herself one by backing up and then taking a leap forward. It's an interesting strategy. I will try it next time I'm battling Better Half, I think.