The Losers

Director: Sylvain White

Notable Cast: Jeffery Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Jason Patric

Rating: PG-13

Review:  This weeks review consists of comic book turned movie, The Losers, which looked like just another generic action romp from the previews.  But after giving the movie a shot, I found there was a lot more to love than you would expect.  Did it break down barriers in the action genre?  Nah, not really.  Was the plot just your basic run-of-the-mill revenge story?  Yup, totally.  Did I even notice either of those points during my enjoyment of the film?  Not a shot.  Was it full of pretty explosions and shiny guns?  Hells yeah.  It was pure entertainment in its most simplistic form, throwing together an enjoyable mixture of witty humor, over-the-top action, and style that gave the movie its own feel.  The Losers realizes that it’s not winning any Oscars, and never tries to break out of its B movie role extravaganza.  Consider The Losers the poor man’s A-Team, but in the way that Wal-Mart is the poor man’s department store.  It may not be as fancy as Macy’s, but it sure does have everything you need and once you’re there you find out it’s pretty awesome.  Likewise, The Losers has everything you need in an action film, and then some.

The plot stays true to a lot of the comic book, centering around a CIA special operatives group who refer to themselves as the Losers.  In charge is Clay (Morgan) who is the mastermind of the operations, Roque (Elba) is fond of close-range combat, Jensen (Evans) is the fast talking and cocky tech guru, Cougar (Jaenada) is the long-range sniper, and Pooch (Short) is the demolitions expert/driver.  No one is better at doing what they do.  But while on a mission in Bolivia, they realize they’re being set up by someone who has enough pull to erase them from existence and are left with nothing from their old lives except the memory of home and no way back.  Enter Aisha (Saldana).  She offers Clay the opportunity for a completely funded revenge attack in exchange for the death of the man who set them up, the mysterious Max (Patric).  Clay, fed up with living in the shadows, convinces the team to take on the new mission and get a chance to have their old lives back.  The only problem stems from the fact that no one in the team can get a read on Aisha and have no choice to blindly trust her, a mistake Clay himself has made before.  But with the only other option being …well…dead, the Losers determine that isn’t much to lose. With nothing but a prayer that Aisha is actually on their side, we watch as the Losers do their best to fight for their lives back and take down the man who used them for his own personal gain.  But when the Losers uncover the real reason why they were “killed” and what Max is planning to do next, revenge takes a back seat and protecting the lives of the innocent become a lot more important.  Max should have made sure they were dead, because the Losers never quit.

Comically large weaponry?  Check.

Am I saying the movie was perfect?  No, not by any means.  I particularly had some problems with the main villain, Max.  He was based off every other clichéd movie villain you’ve seen before, all rolled into one.  The best way to describe him is as a cold-hearted bastard, always using patriotism as an excuse for his diabolical plans (hence the tiny American flag ping always attached to his suit jacket).  He’s always presentable in some kind of suit, and is your typical government fat-cat psychopath that is a charismatic monster with a heart filled of what must be a combination of rust and sludge.  But he was entirely over the top.  Sometimes it was humorous to watch how he reacted, but a lot of the times it was too comic-booky and unnecessary.  Some of his actions didn’t need to be in the movie realistically, and I feel like they were added just to make you react and say “Whoa, that dude is evil.”  Instead though it made you think, “Uhh, did that really have to be in the movie?”  And not to mention I was annoyed by some of his lines.  We get it, you’re a horrible prick.  You don’t need to constantly bombard the viewer with lines to remind us that.  You left an entire government special ops. team to die in the jungles of Bolivia.  That’s pretty damn cold-hearted enough.  While being a good enough adversary for the Losers, he could have been much better if the director wasn’t trying to rub your face in how evil he actually was. Ever heard of overkill?  Well Max is overkill incarnate.

But, there were tons of positives to be found throughout the high-octane adventure the Losers go on.  I loved the characters myself, more so the comedic efforts of Evans and Short.  Every time Evan’s character Jensen was on-screen he was doing something ridiculous and spouting some outlandish quote that had me completely vibe-ing his character.  Then add in the combo of Short with Evans and you got some highly entertaining banter, including a scene where they don’t even use full sentences yet know exactly what the other is thinking.  Hilarious.  I’m also really learning to love Jeffery Dean Morgan as an actor, starting with his portrayal of The Comedian in Watchmen and now continuing as the charming leader of The Losers.  He’s not the totally cut up fake action hero type, more of an everyday guy looking sort of hero, being more believable in a way.  Elba was more of just your generic “I don’t trust anyone” type of character; wasn’t the greatest but wasn’t the worst.  Jaenada was also surprisingly badass as Cougar, not saying much but always offering a thumbs up or a tip of the hat to encourage the team.  Lastly, Saldana doesn’t strike me as your typical leading action lady, but she was able to hold her own in the fight scenes and looks surprisingly attractive holding a rocket launcher. Women an guns, can’t really explain it.  And apparently Saldana has a magnet implanted in her magnificent tush because the camera just couldn’t keep itself off of it.  Not that I’m complaining in any way shape or form, just a little observation.

Last point, I swear.  I love the fact that The Losers didn’t try to be anything more than an entertaining hour and a half.  It recognized the ridiculousness of the story and abandoned realism for our entertainment.  I know some people are going to tear it apart for having an inconsistent story and whatnot, but did you really have that high of expectations for that aspect of the film? Honestly?  It had intriguing fight sequences, some really great jokes I didn’t expect from an action film, surprisingly good acting, and may I say one more time some pretty damn pretty explosions.  Mission accomplished Losers, because I loved every minute of it.

I know I called you the poor man’s A-Team, but they have their work cut out for them if they want to earn a better grade than you did.

The Losers was everything I wanted it to be.  No one’s winning an award for best screenplay or for anything involved in this movie for that matter, but I’m 100% fine with that.  It delivered characters that were fun to watch on-screen, awesome adrenaline-pumping action, and a story simple enough not to have to over think and distract you from the visuals on-screen (including Saldana). Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate your Memento or your Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which are much more story driven and involve a lot of mind work.  But at the same time, a movie like The Losers is totally necessary to balance out those other movies. Sometimes I just want to sit down and watch some sh*t blow up while having a few laughs.  Simple as that.  And does The Losers do that?  Absolutely.  And it does it well in fact.  It avoids doing it in a cheesy way and has a genuine feel to it with some well crafted characters, not to mention including the best use of the song “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.  But Nato we’ve seen this all before! It’s nothing new!  It’s just another action movie!  And?  Your point?  Are you not entertained!?  Do you not walk away feeling some type of enjoyment?  Every movie isn’t going to be a masterpiece like a Reservoir Dogs or Shawshank Redemption. Accept The Losers for what it is and you will enjoy it immensely.  Even the movie accepts itself for what it tries to be: a fun action flick.  It was a perfect lead up to the summer movie bonanza that will be starting soon, and I’m glad it came out now so it didn’t get lost in the shuffle of the big name movies getting ready to be dropped on us.  I can’t wait to add The Losers to my personal collection and throw it in anytime I just need to unwind.  The only losers found near this movie are the people who can’t appreciate this for the goodness it really is.  I pity the people who can’t just sit down and enjoy some mindless entertainment every once in a while.

Final Rating: 7 magnificent booty shots out of 10

Gorgeous weapon toting heroine?  Check.

-Natobomb

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About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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