The Losers

Cast:
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay
Zoe Saldana as Aisha
Chris Evans as Jensen
Idris Elba as Roque
Columbus Short as Pooch
Óscar Jaenada as Cougar
Jason Patric as Max
Holt McCallany as Wade
Peter Macdissi as Vikram
Peter Francis James as Fadhil
Tanee McCall as Jolene

Directed by Sylvain White

Summary:
A great mix of action and humor makes “The Losers” a fun popcorn flick well worth checking out.

Story:
This film is based on the DC/Vertigo comic.

When an elite U.S. Special Forces unit is sent into Bolivia to kill a target, they soon find themselves betrayed by a mysterious enemy known only as Max. Presumed dead, the team dubbed “The Losers” lays low in South America. Things change when they are approached by the dangerous and alluring woman known only as Aisha. She offers Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar a chance to get back in the U.S. and get revenge against Max. With few options available to them, The Losers agree to the mission. But can they work together long enough to kill Max and will Aisha’s secret be their downfall?

“The Losers” is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, a scene of sensuality and language.

What Worked:
I went into “The Losers” looking for a funny, action-packed adventure and that’s exactly what I got. Sylvain White manages to find the right balance between comedy and testosterone-fueled action. He nailed it just right. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it’s one part “Ocean’s 11,” one part “The A-Team,” and one part “Smokin’ Aces.”

A lot of the laughs can be attributed to Chris Evans as Jensen. He steals practically every scene he’s in and keeps delivering one great one liner after another. Jensen has a fun scene where he infiltrates an office building with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the background music. A lot of the scene is spoiled in the trailers, but it’s no less funny seeing it played out on the screen. It’s going to be interesting seeing him as Captain America. As funny as Evans is, a lot of the secondary characters also have great moments. In one scene a scientist is thrown off a 57-story building, much to the horror of his friends. Later in the film, those friends are seen again meeting with Max and they say, “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us in a one-story building.” It’s little jokes like that here and there that keep “The Losers” lively and amusing.

Then there’s Jason Patric as Max. His performance dances back and forth across the line of being hilarious and ‘over the top,’ like The Joker without the makeup. He has some absolutely hilarious moments like in a scene where he harasses his henchman for not properly listening to orders. In another scene, we see a beautiful woman struggling to keep an umbrella over him on the beach. It’s kind of amusing to see how comically unchivalrous he is. But then they take it over the top when he shoots her in the head for briefly dropping the umbrella. That’s an example of them trying a tad too hard to make him evil. I think they struggled to find the right amount of comedy for his character, but there’s no denying he’s one of the more memorable on-screen villains to come along in a while. His final scene in the movie is one of the most hilariously shameful endings for a movie villain.

While Patric and Evans are the standouts, the rest of the cast is awesome, too. Zoe Saldana is impressive as Aisha, and she’s as tough as she is beautiful. She has a showstopping battle with Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay, and I don’t think I’ve seen a fight between a man and a woman that intense since “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” I first noticed Idris Elba after his guest appearance on “The Office,” and now he makes quite an impression as Roque in “The Losers.” He’s tough, occasionally funny, and an impressive on-screen presence. (Marvel take note… he has my vote to play The Black Panther!) Columbus Short and Óscar Jaenada hold their own as Pooch and Cougar, too.

I only read the first 8 pages of the comic, so I can’t really compare the movie to the graphic novel, but the movie did match those 8 pages pretty well. I spoke to someone at the screening that did read the comic and they were pleased with the adaptation. Despite a few minor departures, they felt it followed the comic pretty closely.

What Didn’t Work:
My biggest gripe about “The Losers” was the camerawork. The entire movie is shot with “shaky-cam.” Now I understand doing that in action scenes, but the camera is even shaking when two characters are sitting quietly talking in a room. I think the cinematographer may need to lay off the caffeine. Otherwise, it’s a great-looking movie.

I had a little problem with the big doomsday device – the “snuke.” While most of “The Losers” is somewhat reality based, this “pollution free weapon of mass destruction” is pure comic book cheese… which is ironic considering this is a comic book movie. I would recommend a “snuke” for a superhero movie, not “The Losers”. It doesn’t match the tone of the rest of the movie.

I also had a problem with Aisha’s big mystery. I can’t discuss it without getting into spoilers, but she goes from being pretty angry to laughing and joking with “The Losers” in the closing credit scenes. It didn’t exactly fit her character.

The big final battle had a few problems, too. It wasn’t quite as epic as I was expecting and it ends on a bit of a whimper rather than a spectacular battle like I was hoping for. It could have been choreographed a bit better. Again, I can’t get into details without spoiling it, but you’ll get the idea when you see it yourself.

The Bottom Line:
“The Losers” is well worth checking out on the big screen. It’s a fine addition to the “popcorn flick” genre. It definitely sets the bar high for “The A-Team” which arrives later this summer.

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