The Losers (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
21Jul/101

The Losers (2010)

Andrew INDIFFERENTIn a year where some of the best films have been of the action variety, The Losers stands as a "nice attempt" more than a complete product.  If you're the kind of person that enjoys a good 'splosion, go ahead and add some blue to the yellow and consider this a lukewarm recommendation.  However, if you're not an action junkie, then I'm at a loss as to how I can recommend this to you.

It's had a bit of a troubled history getting to the screen, passed along between a couple of directors before finally settling into the hands of Sylvain White.  This kind of hot potato film passing usually spells bad things for the script or idea, but neither one of those things is in play here.  If anything the whole thing reeks of a lack of ambition and is held afloat by a few people that just decided to have fun with the thing.

The Losers is based on the comic of the same name from the Veritgo imprint of DC.  The film follows Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his ragtag team of ne'er do wells as they are assigned to eliminate a drug kingpin.  Things go south when it turns out some kids are in the way of their bombing run, and the team tries to get all of them out.  Well, it turns out the person that ordered the operation wanted everyone dead, including the team.  So after they fake their deaths and disappear into the Bolivian wilderness, the film begins properly.

During that opening mission that sets up their "deaths", it's clear that the people responsible for making the movie aren't taking this too seriously.  There's an silhouetted battle that takes place between two dinosaur action figures in the opening moments, and the ever reliable "Black Betty" is trudged out for the soundtrack to let us all know that they aren't hardened career killers.  Just a bunch of good ol' boys lookin' to do the right thing.

After their betrayal, they all settle into a life of anonymity until an exotic stranger starts following Clay around.  Her name is Aisha (Zoe Saldana), and she's got a proposition for them.  She'll be able to clear their names and get them back to their families in the states, so long as they take out the figurehead that pulls the strings of the CIA (amongst others).  So the team's back together, looking to avenge their names, and a character that can miraculously fund their every move.

The rest of the movie is filled with nicely paced action scenes offset by some scenes where they stand around and talk about where the next action scene is going to be.  The dialogue's bland, but not particularly boring, and we do end up with a few gems every now and again.  The action itself is also pretty well done, lacking a lot of the quick cutting flare that these movies come with and set up their scenarios nicely.  There are two heists in particular that almost sold me on the film - one involving the airlift of a whole truck, and another involving an office raid set to "Don't Stop Believin''".  The "Believin'" raid ended with a monologue that had me chuckling heartily into the next scene, and Chris Evans deserves a lot of praise for giving it more comic weight than it probably deserved.

The entire cast really gives the film a lot more than it earns.  The aforementioned Mr. Evans deserves a lot of his praise, and his onscreen time had me smiling if I was laughing.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a pretty nice grounded action lead and Jason Patric, who plays the bad guy Max, gives a little bit of nihilistic playfulness to the role.  Even his henchmen are a lot of fun, as his right hand man seems to have a lot more sense than anyone else in the movie.  Then there's Zoe Saldana, who plays a great foil to Dean Morgan.

So what's the problem?  I was still bored, and throughout the entire film was still wondering why this was made.  It didn't have the zip and frenetic energy of From Paris With Love, and it didn't have the elegant fight scenes and visual detail of The Book of EliThe Losers is missing something, a purpose or reason to really exist outside of the comic adaption moneymaking vacuum that has sprung up.  Or at the very least distract me from the dull nature of some of the scenes.

I smiled a lot and laughed, but nothing really moved me into joy.  I could admire how nicely crafted the action scenes were, but there was nothing that thrilled me.  The plot was as serviceable as you can find, but there wasn't a moment that made me grip my seat tighter at what was going on.  It's the cinematic equivalent of Old Faithful.

I can see some folks really getting into the shenanigans of the film, and there's very little that I disliked but nothing I can outright recommend.  So here's my ultimate recommendation as far as The Losers is concerned.  If you go to the movie store, kiosk, or Netflix and see that your first choice isn't available, look for your second.  If you're second isn't available, go ahead and grab The Losers - you may connect to it more than I did.

The Losers (2010)

Directed by Sylvain White.
Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt.
Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, and Jason Patric.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. I really liked this movie, but I also love the Comic series it is based on. This will be one of those movies that you can’t help but to watch when you stumble upon it on cable in a few years.


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