Newest Review: ... Those looking for a cheap, mindless action film would probably find good value here if it's shown on the TV or very cheap on DVD, but ... more
Even the losers get lucky...just not this time
The Losers (DVD)
Member Name: Stunt 101
The Losers (DVD)
Advantages: Servicable, brisk pace, beautiful locales, Chris Evans is pretty funny.
Disadvantages: Mixed acting, choppy action scenes with poor special effects, hit-or-miss humour.
Action movies are common among cinema these days. Comic book films, too, are something we see yearly. Some are obvious, like those Marvel/DC films, while others are a bit more subtle. The Losers is based on a series from Vertigo, and it is mostly quite faithful to the source material in that it's dumb, loud and tries to be a humorous ride along the way. That's all well and good, but the problem is that The Losers does nothing to stand out amongst other action films, feeling like a typical A-Team style movie. That, and problems such as choppy action scenes, mostly dull dialogue and an unsatisfying ending bring the film down even more.
The Losers are a group of elite-black ops military men, consisting of 5 members led by Clay, played by Jeffery Dean Morgan. Sent on a search and destroy mission, they realise the compound is filled with kids and, against the orders of their client, they infiltrate it and take out the military while preventing the kids being bombed. Things deteriorate from there though as Max, their client, tries to blow them up in a helicopter, only to unintentionally kill 25 children. The group go into hiding, but Clay is tempted by revenge as a female fatale known as Aisha lays out a plan to help them get revenge. It's your typical plot, but at least the drive of revenge is there to keep you going. Not offensive in any way, but not particularly notable.
The Losers is your standard action-fare, bolstered by a mostly tight pace. Key events happen so fast, whether it's the aforementioned helicopter-crash or betrayals, that you may miss it should you blink. The film rarely opts to put their characters out of action, as only a handful of moments are dedicated to dialogue between the squad as they prep for the next bombastic fight. Those looking for a big, dumb and loud film to pass a couple of hours easily will find The Losers will scratch that itch, but under the same token it is also completely difficult to recommend for those looking for more. There are never any intellectual moments, nor are there truly any awesome action scenes to interest those outside of genre aficionados who get a kick out of action. The film also feels a tad overstretched at times, mostly during the last dozen or so minutes.
The problem is that those looking for above-average action will too come away disappointed. There are a lot of things The Loser gets wrong. Perhaps the most criminal is the dialogue, which is completely hit-and-miss. While Chris Evans' character gives us a laugh-a-minute, the rest of the characters lack any kind of humour. Some characters are meant to be more macho, and that's okay, but others - such as Columbus Short's Pooch - crack plenty of jokes, but rarely do they succeed. One cool, laughable scenario comes when Chris Evans pretends to shoot guards with his mind (the guards unaware they're being sniped in the distance), and this is followed by Columbus Short telling a stupid "Your Momma" joke. It's constantly back and forth.
Similarly, the acting here is mixed to say the least. Chris Evans' is definitely the highlight here: you can tell he is having fun with the role, but he doesn't feel the need to overact or play it completely for laughs. He's supposed to be the brainy guy, and he plays this pretty well. Outside of that, Jeffery Dean Morgan gives a competent performance, but you'd expect more from a leading role. Idris Elba is completely brooding and unappealing, making his character unlikable from the start, while Columbus Short overacts and is rarely funny. Oscar Jaenada has very few lines of dialogue, but does have some badass sniping sequences, while Zoe Saldana certainly doesn't act poorly, but feels a tad miscast. Sequences where she tries to act tough fall completely flat in most regards.
Perhaps the biggest misstep of The Losers is the action itself which is let down by two things. Admittedly, the locales are lush and impressive, as well as varied. There's filming all over the place from Miami to Rio Grande, and it certainly is easy on the eyes. The action itself is unappealing however. The problem is that most of the action scenes are littered with slow-mo jumps; not long segments of slow-motion, but small parts which slow then speed up. It feels like you're playing a video game with a poor frame rate, making the action sequences feel choppy. There's certainly some eye-opening moments, like a hugely awesome segement involving a plane and a motorcycle colliding. But it's all dragged down by lacksluter special effects, which seem to be taken from 2004 rather than 2010. It makes everything seem fake and the action loses its lustre. The 12+ age rating also ensures the violence is completely bloodless, making the film seem juvenile.
It sounds like The Losers is completely impossible to recommend, but despite its blatant problems I still didn't find myself hating it entirely. The brisk pacing, beautiful locales and humour - mostly from Chris Evans - makes it a bit more appealing than the crop of schlock that comes from this genre. It's also faithful to the comics, meaning fans of the graphic novel should find value here. Unfortunately, The Losers is dragged down by hit-or-miss humour, mixed acting and choppy action scenes with poor special effects. Those looking for a cheap, mindless action film would probably find good value here if it's shown on the TV or very cheap on DVD, but outside of that The Losers remains mostly mediocre.
Summary: Not a bad watch on TV, but mostly medicore.