August 18, 2010
Review - " The Losers " - (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Sylvain White
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, Chris Evans,
Columbus Short, Jason Patric, Oscar Jaenada
“The Losers” is a cartoonish nonstop action movie in which characters
zip around the world, breaking, entering and blowing things up without
any pretense to logic. It’s a world devoid of any geopolitics, connective
tissue, human backgrounds or ideals other than greed and self-
It is, of course, a Warner Bros. actioner adapted from a comic book
series. Characters are two-dimensional, but the actors all play them with
vigor, each focusing on a single outstanding feature of his character, so
their interplay within the bullet-splattering sequences has resonance.
“Losers” should serve as a moderately successful seat-warmer for
Warners before the onslaught of summer. The film never is boring, but
it's never engaging, either, because its heroes hit every target in sight,
while the villains, despite holstering much greater weaponry, never hit
anybody. So forget about suspense.
Working from a blueprint — screenplay would be the wrong word — by
Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, based on comic books published by
DC Comics, French-born director Sylvain White (“Stomp the Yard”)
keeps things moving at video-game speed.
Indeed, the film seems to start in the middle of a scene, with five Special
Forces ops horsing around in the jungle before a mission. The film
freeze-frames each guy, giving us his nickname and specialty. Do you like your heroes to have such names as Clay, Jensen,
Roque, Pooch and Cougar? Of course you do.
Their mission seems strange: They have to move close to a jungle hacienda of a Bolivian bad guy, then call in a military
airstrike to blow it sky high. The complex seems pretty wide open to the casual observer, but one guesses the CIA likes to
have its people nearby during all illegal covert operations.
It turns out the whole thing is a double cross with a rogue American agent targeting them as well. Believed dead —
apparently the CIA doesn’t believe in looking for body parts — the five “losers” are desperate to reclaim their old identities
and get revenge on a guy named Max (Jason Patric). (Sound familliar? This is basically "The A-Team" without the built in TV
Enter Zoe Saldana’s sultry Aisha. She introduces herself to team leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) by engaging him in
hand-to-hand combat and burning down his hotel. Naturally, they fall for each other. With a never-explained source of
limitless resources and cash, she smuggles Clay and his buddies back to the States to target Max. Only explosives expert
Roque (Idris Elba) is wary of her.
With Jensen’s (Chris Evans) expertise in high tech, Pooch’s (Columbus Short) skills with transport and heavy weapons and
Cougar’s (Oscar Jaenada) sharp-shooting, the superbaddie doesn’t stand a chance. Max is a villain in the James Bond
mode, only much sillier. To his credit,
Patric plays him for laughs. His
henchman, Wade (Holt McCallany),
is lethal but rather dopey.
The movie moves on to Dubai,
Mumbai, Miami, New Mexico and
Los Angeles without ever actually
leaving Puerto Rico. Scott Kevan’s
cameras are in constant motion, and
editor David Checel cuts fast and
often. For all the film’s speed, though,
it never seems to get anywhere.
Think "The A-Team" meets "The
Expendables" and you've got the
idea of what "The Losers" is all about
By the way, the producers have left
the door open for a sequel.