The Losers – Blu-ray Review
By Patrick Luce Jul 19, 2010, 20:57 GMT
An explosive action tale of betrayal and revenge, The Losers centers around an elite Special Forces unit sent to the Bolivian jungle on a search-and-destroy mission. But the team – Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar – soon find that they have become the target of a deadly double cross instigated by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Making good use of the fact they’re now presumed dead, the ...more
Based on the Vertigo comic written by Andy Diggle with art from Jock, The Losers is a fun throwback to the glory action days of the 1980s with an ensemble team of professionals taking on an over-the-top villain with the fate of the world at stake.
The film features some snappy dialogue from its cast, massive firefights, and high body count – or as high as the PG-13 rating would let it get.
Despite not really tackling the genre before, director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard and I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) handles the pace and scope of the film, and benefits from a screenplay written by action director vet Peter Berg (director of The Rundown) and James Vanderbilt (who penned the screenplay for The Rundown).
White and company also don’t shy away from the film’s comic book feel and instead incorporates it into the movie (such as the opening sequences).
The movie’s plot is easily forgettable, but the cast makes it worth watching thanks to the talents of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans (who will soon bring Captain America to the big screen), Idris Elba, Óscar Jaenada, Columbus Short and Jason Patric (who seems to be having a fun time playing the classic action flick bad guy).
At its core, The Losers is basically a very familiar plot (reminded me quite a bit of The A-Team) with a team of Special Ops soldiers getting betrayed by one of their handlers in the CIA, and having to undertake a suicide mission to clear their names.
Each member of the team has a certain special skill that helps them accomplish their mission, and combined they can mow through just about any force of bad guys – regardless of how much they are outnumbered or out gunned.
The team is led by Clay (Morgan), and consists of computer hacker Jensen (Evans), driving expert Pooch (Short), sniper Cougar (Jaenada), and knife/ small arms expert Roque (Elba ).
The film kicks off with the team in the Bolivian jungle to take out a terrorist/drug dealer/bad guy by painting a target on his house so a laser-guided missile can blow him to kingdom come. The team gets second thoughts when a school bus full of kids show up.
Their handler Max informs them the attack will continue so the team jumps into action and kills pretty much every bad guy in the place; save the kids; and head out into the jungle before the missile hits. Max sets up a double-cross at the chopper pick-up and the team is left believed dead and blamed for killing a chopper full of school kids.
On their own, the team begins to try and piece together a plan to get back home, find Max, and have a word or two with him about the double-cross. The problem is they don’t know what Max looks like, and have no means of getting home.
Luckily, Clay meets Aisha (Saldana) - who just happens to be interested in hiring them to kill Max and promises to help them get home and clear their name if they will pull the trigger on Max. Clay is willing to go along, but the rest of his team is a little worried since Clay isn’t known for making the best decisions when women were involved.
While this is going on, the audience starts to discover that Max is actually a complete loon (I mean he kills his secretary for dropping the umbrella and letting the sun shine on him), and is planning on causing a huge terrorist attack so the U.S. can get involved in another war.
He also has a thing for wearing a glove over his burnt hand, rattling on about his reasons for wanting to start a war, and a short fuse for employees that fail to accomplish their assignments.
Max is also in the process of getting a really big bomb (they called it something with a lot of science speak, but by that point I had turned my brain off so I could enjoy the movie), and needs quite a bit of money to pay for it.
The Losers make their way back to the States to get Max, pull off a Heat style action sequence where they rob an armor truck (they think Max is inside) and steal his computer hard drive. Unfortunately, they fail to get Max so they have to do some corporate espionage so they can read the hard drive and figure out where he will be next.
The team also has a huge falling out when Aisha’s true motives are revealed, and Clay once again discovers he has really bad taste in women (although as hot as Saldana is in the film who could blame him). They put their differences aside to get Max and everything ramps up for a final action sequence that includes a somewhat predictable twist, lots of killing, and ending that will leave you wanting more from the team.
Although The Losers doesn’t break new ground in the action genre, it is an entertaining movie with a likeable cast that makes it worth watching. Morgan is perfect in the role of Clay, and I think he should just stick to action films (please no more romantic comedies or appearances on Grey’s Anatomy).
He has a natural chemistry with the guys in his squad and seems like a natural leader. It is totally believable that these guys would follow his word without question, and that he would have no problem sending them into a mission where they all might die. His chemistry with Saldana is a bit lacking, but I think that was mostly because their quasi-romance was kind of rushed in the film, and part of a twist to the plot.
Evans, Jaenada, and Short all provide some good laughs with their banter back and forth, and Elba is at home as the second-in-command of the team with little use for laughs. I really thought Evans did a good job in his role, and I am interested to see how he does as Captain America after seeing him in this film. He clearly has the chops for a big action film and is at home with the concept of bringing a comic to the screen. His performance in The Losers helped me forget his job in Push.
I got a kick out of how much Jaenada does with Cougar despite having very few lines. Cougar is a man of few words, he tends to mumble and doesn’t like it if you touch his hat. Jaenada makes the most of his screen time, and even manages to steal a few scenes simply by adjusting his hat or flashing a crooked smile.
Patric seems to be having a great time with the film, and knows it is a role that is meant to be played over-the-top. His character is far from believable, but that is half the fun of his performance. He wanders around the scenes and delivers his lines as if he knows the audience is in on the joke. His character is a complete jerk, and Patric plays him so well that you almost hate him the second you see him on screen.
On Blu-ray, The Losers shines with a gloss that fits the comic feel of the movie. It isn’t one of those films where the 1080p format brings out all the great special effects, but it does make some of the action sequences feel a little more realistic (even if you can spot the stunt double from time to time). The film benefits from the cinematography work of Scott Kevan, the great music by John Ottman, and the fast-paced editing of David Checel and James Herbert.
The Blu-ray comes with some decent special features which take you into the making of the film, and shows how the actors trained to get their parts right. They are interesting to watch, but are the standard “behind the scenes” features fans expect from this kind of release. There is also a deleted scene that sets up what might be a Losers sequel.
The Losers is an entertaining action flick that only requires the viewer to turn the brain off and enjoy the witty banter and big explosions. It doesn’t break new ground in the genre, but it isn’t a complete waste of time if you are a fan of action flicks.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CChris Evans Biography -
Chris Evans Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJason Patric Biography -
Jason Patric Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJeffrey Dean Morgan Biography -
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesZoe Saldana Biography -
Zoe Saldana Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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