Posted on: April 22nd, 2010 REVIEW: The Losers
The Losers is a tough egg to crack. One one hand you’ve got the source material, the Eisner award nominated series from Vertigo. On the other hand you’ve got what appears to be a reasonably strong ensemble of characters blowing things up and riding things off of other things. While my expectations were low going in, a small part of me hoped The Losers would sneak up behind me and put its thumb in my drawers with an inspired and highly stylized modern entry into an array of genres. Instead, the film reeks of brainless 90’s action-comedy, neither of which elements are fully thought out, but instead copious amounts are perpetually hurled at the screen in hopes that something will stick.
There isn’t much in The Losers that sticks at all, and yet they bombarded me, relentlessly.
On the surface and to the mainstream, you’d be hard pressed to classify the film as a “comic book film”; there’s no capes and cowls and superpowers in this one (what do you mean there are comic books without superheroes?!). The film follows a small US special forces team, led by Clay (Watchmen‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan), left in Bolivia and presumed dead after a destroy mission goes bad and the team’s director, Max (played absurdly by Jason Patric), betrays them. Naturally, the team gets back on American soil, searching for Max, who conveniently is also planning on a large, Bond-ish scheme. Cue the explosions, the bullets, the punches, the rocket propelled grenades, the snappy one-liners.
Coincidentally, the trailer for The A-Team ran moments before The Losers started. While I mean no slight to the source material – The Losers is one of the very few comic books that I haven’t read before seeing the movie – there was as light air of embarrassment in the theatre, with a smack of ham, as I realized that this is essentially the same film. There are moments in The Losers when you can see glimpses of individuality, in the opening and closing credits for example, but ultimately the film bleats like a sheep and falls in line with every action film from Bad Boys to The Transporter. Every aspect of the movie takes the path of least resistance and relishes in its mediocrity. While the characters have good, comfortable chemistry with each other (Chris Evan’s Jensen is really the standout here as a performance and a character, as is Idris Elba’s Roque), they’re given absolutely nothing to do. The story is just cut cut cut from one set-piece to the next. And while the pacing is fairly commendable, you realize half-way through the story that nothing is really going anywhere. There’s nothing to buy into. Jason Patric’s villain, Max, is such an oddball character who isn’t developed nearly enough to pose an intriguing threat. He’s just kind of there on the screen while I scratch my head trying to figure him out – is he an evil genius? Is he batshit crazy? Patric seemed to be playing odd just for the sake of it, and it doesn’t work. Nothing works, I’m getting all emotional over here…
At the end of the day, there’s nothing in The Losers to latch on to. The action is unremarkable, the comedy is simply not funny, and the bone-dry story-line is painfully generic with literally no payoff at the end. Sadly, in the swells of a “shut your brain off” collective borg audience, The Losers will please more than it really should.
One Response to “REVIEW: The Losers”
April 22nd, 2010 at 9:49 am
You said EVERYTHING that was stewing in my bowels since seeing that flick. Well done! This movie is utter garbage, plain and simple. I’m getting sick of hollywood using “action” or “comic” movies to vindicate making idiotic film.