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My Review Of The Losers, or “Zoe Saldana Has A Rocket Laucher . . . Your Argument Is Invalid!”

April 23, 2010

This summer is looking to be the battle of “elite special forces soldiers gone rogue” action flicks, and The Losers hopes to draw first blood. Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book, the film follows a covert ops team, thought dead and hiding out in Bolivia after a mission goes south. When team leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is approached (rather violently!) by the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana), she convinces him and the rest of the Losers that she can get them close to the man who set them up, Max (Jason Patric).

Casting is always key with films like these, as they’re rarely ever truly about the plot. Boasting the likes of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, Jason Patric, Columbus Short, and Chris Evans, The Losers proves to be quite a treat. From the time the Losers are introduced, there’s a clear chemistry between the characters, a fraternal bond that serves the film well. Every character is unique, from the rugged veteran Clay (perfectly suited for Morgan), to the wisecrackers Pooch and Jensen. As expected, Chris Evans shines as Jensen, a perfect combination of nerd and jock, and getting a lion’s share of the funniest moments in the film. A running gag involving his support of his niece’s soccer team is especially chuckle-worthy. Pooch, by comparison, has more of a serious side underneath his humor, hoping that successfully taking down Max will allow him to reunite with his pregnant wife. Much like Rock N’ Rolla, Idris Elba is the wildcard of the group, fitting comfortably into the “right hand man” role of Roque. He has every reason not to trust Aisha, and that forces a wedge between him and Clay. Him and Morgan play out this dynamic superbly. Speaking of which, Zoe Saldana is clearly having too much fun, equal parts sexy and dangerous (did I mention she fires a rocket launcher in the film?) as Aisha. Even relative unknown Oscar Jaenada shines as Cougar, silent for most of the film, letting his sniper rifle speak for him. On the villains side, Jason Patric is inspired as Max. While we don’t learn much about him, he proves to be hilariously satisfying as a casual, smarmy psychopath. My only gripe would probably be the film missing the perfect opportunity to make a Lost Boys reference.

It’s hard to believe that The Losers comes courtesy of the director of such straight-to-video “gems” Trois 3 and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, but Sylvain White definitely makes his case to join the big leagues here. He’s still learning the ropes in terms of action, but there are plenty of well-constructed set pieces, and the whole look of the film is certainly comic-inspired, between strategic uses of slow-motion and a striking color palette. To say nothing of the in-film character intros and end credits sequence illustrated by Losers comic artist Jock. Music selection also helps to set the tone, as the inclusion of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (its post-Sopranos ubiquity still infuriates me, though) in one scene serves as arguably the funniest moment in the film. Later on, the intro to the Amel Larrieux song “Sweet Misery” perfectly punctuates Aisha and Clay’s slow-motion stroll to join the rest of the team after a night of intimacy.

For a film that clocks in just over the ninety-minute mark, The Losers packs in healthy doses of action, intrigue, and comedy. The entire cast is pitch-perfect, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in any of the roles. This is a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but even at it’s most ridiculous (Max wants to buy a superweapon that can disintegrate small islands, for crying out loud!), still feels grounded and real at times. It’s a bit of an underdog film, what with The A-Team and The Expendables coming out later this summer, but I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people.

(4 out of 5)

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One comment

  1. Check out my blog about everything tv/movies and my journey in screenwriting:
    http://ericansoto.wordpress.com/



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