Ah, I can smell schlock in the air. And there’s nothing like a B movie with an amazing cast (doesn’t happen all that often, not since the 80s anyway) like Haywire, which is out on DVD right now.

Starring MMA fighter Gina Carano – the modern-day Cynthia Rothrock only hotter – it’s a silly, straightforward brainless action revenge pic. And I don’t mean that as a criticism.

I’m not sure whether the fact it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh and scored by David Holmes, with a supporting cast that includes Antonia Banderas, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender is supposed to make us believe this is anything more than a schlocky fightfest. I certainly hope not.

Because while Sly Stallone is still riding the Cobra gravy train with The Expendables, now the only place you tend to find the kinds of movies that seemed to be released with abandon when Chuck Norris wasn’t dying his hair are on Syfy and late-night Channel 5.

Maybe the fact Haywire is more high profile means this is about to change? Producer Courtney Solomon – who directed the monstrosity that was 2000′s big screen version of Dungeons and Dragons – runs After Dark Films, which seems to embrace the B movie aesthetic.

The company has recently teamed with producer Joel Silver for a run of action movies under the aegis of After Dark Action, a series of films starring luminaries like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins (excellent martial artist, less good actor) with titles like El Gringo and Stash House. They got a brief theatrical run in the States and I get the impression it’s an experiment which the filmmakers are keen to repeat. I’m all for that. And while they’re at it, let’s do it in Britain too.

This ISN’T grindhouse. This is B movie schlock. And it’s glorious.

As for Haywire? Rothrock, Dudikoff and co. certainly carved out a niche for themselves back in the day. Carano has the magnetism, looks and fight skills to take on any of them.

And with a documentary in production on Cannon Films, maybe 2012 will be the year B became big again. Fingers crossed…


Haywire is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.