review, this is really the first successful Modesty Blaise picture, although Gina Carano is playing a character called Mallory Kane (close enough). She even drinks red wine after a brutal job, which may or may not be a direct reference to Blaise, a female mercenary from the novels and comic strips of Peter O'Donnell.
Carano, not a trained actor but a mixed-martial arts star, was mesmerizing in this. Her line readings might not be perfect but she knows how to fight and do her own stuntwork, and she also knows how to move through a frame of film. She's both gorgeous and genuinely dangerous looking, like a big slab of muscle. It's fun to see a bunch of alpha-male stars--Michael Fassbender, Ewan MacGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum--play second fiddle, or second place, to her.
There's a fight scene on the beach toward the end of the film that has a kind of surreal energy to it. It looked familiar to me, and then I realized that Soderbergh was directly channeling the opening beach fight scene from On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Shot selection, lighting, the fact that it's sunset. I know that Soderbergh does often study sequences in preparation for his films so I'm pretty sure about this. Kevin, when you see this, let me know what you think.