Jonathan Melville: Action hero McGregor has gone Haywire

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EWAN McGREGOR: Action hero? That’s what I was half-expecting from this week’s big new release, Haywire, director Stephen Soderbergh’s attempt to make a Bourne movie on a budget.

McGregor is Kenneth, boss to Gina Carano’s freelance covert operative, Mallory Kane, sent around the world to do the US government’s dirty work.

The trailer makes it clear that Kane can handle herself, with numerous forms of martial arts, and the thought of wee Ewan trying to hold his own against her was stretching things.

Haywire wasn’t quite the action classic I was hoping for, not as much fun as Bond or the recent Mission Impossible, but Soderbergh adds a touch of class to proceedings.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be too harsh on McGregor’s action credentials, as he was offered the role of Bond back before Daniel Craig accepted. Would he have made a good successor to Pierce Brosnan and, more importantly, our own Big Tam?

He also starred in action maestro Michael Bay’s The Island and he was a Jedi in the Star Wars prequels, both of which required much green screen acting.

For me, memories of Trainspotting’s Renton have lingered and the ‘heroin chic’ look he sported on the posters is how I picture him, not an MI6 agent wearing a tuxedo and clutching a vodka martini.

Ewan will soon be back on our screens with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a film based on the novel by Paul Torday. He plays a Scottish fisheries expert called out to the Yemen by a sheik trying to bring fly-fishing to the desert.

Set in the present day and using his own accent, it may look pretty slight but minus the explosions and the fantasy, it’s where the actor often does his best work.