While we’re all very excited for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, the prolific director has also had an action spy film, Haywire (formerly known as Knockout), sitting in the wings for a while. Today at Comic-Con, Soderbergh hit the stage to premiere the film’s trailer and chat with MMA fighter Gina Carano, the star and inspiration of the film.

Judging from the trailer and clip shown at the panel, Haywire mostly appears to be an excuse for Soderbergh to make a hard-hitting action film. Carano’s fighting talents were on full display — especially in a drawn out fight scene with co-star Michael Fassbender – but she seems to be less adept at dialog or other scenes not involving elbows to the face.

Take a look at the trailer below and judge for yourself.

Haywire’s all-star cast includes Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas and Michael Angarano. So even if Carano — a first-time actress — can’t manage a good performance, we’ll at least have a few stronger actors to round things out.

Carano stars as a covert ops specialist who is betrayed by the people she works for (when has that ever happened in a spy film?!). During the panel, she and Soderbergh couldn’t really muster up much enthusiasm for the film. But the Comic-Con audience warmed up to it once they played the extended Fassbender fight sequence, which involve Carano and young Magneto tussling in, and ultimately destroying, a swank hotel room.

Basically, it looks like a gorgeously shot and realistic action film — exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from Soderbergh spy movie. But I’m hoping Carano’s acting manages to distract too much, and that the film manages to give us more than just a generic spy plot. Haywire hits theaters in January 2012.

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