December 16, 2010

Rabid Rewind: The Losers

The Losers
starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Seldana, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, and Jason Patric
directed by Sylvain White
screenplay by Peter Berg & James Vanderbilt
based on the DC/Vertigo comic book series
Warner Bros. (2010)

I remember hearing good things about the comic books when they first came out, though I never read them. Contrastingly, when the movie hit theaters I heard nothing but jeers. Still, I wanted to give it a chance. Turns out the detractors of the film were half-right.

The main problem I had with the movie was the tone, or rather the abrupt shift in tone. For the first half to two thirds of the film, it's guns ablazin', catch-phrase aspewin' fun. Then it turns rather dark and decidedly unfunny for the last act when the final showdown gets started. This shift should have been apparent to me when the opening sequence of the movie involved the Losers rescuing a group of children from a dictator only to watch them shot out of the sky by a missile. If a movie is willing to kill a bunch of kids in the first ten minutes of the movie, there's definitely going to be a dark bent to the rest of the movie.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the leader of this rag-tag band of mercenaries--who are most certainly not the A-Team. There are five Losers, there's only four A-Team members. Big difference. Another big difference is Zoe Seldana as the federal agent who recruits the Losers out of hiding in order to hunt down the man responsible for their fall from grace following that botched mission with the dead kids. She's a more formidable female presence than is normally afforded to male-centric shoot-em-ups, but her backstory is a big disjointed.

The bad guy, played by Jason Patric, oddly enough plays more of a comedic role than any of the Losers--including Chris Evans. He's a great villain, but the development of him as a bad guy seems to outweigh any backstory and attention paid to the Losers. That lot is a fairly generic brand of antihero with Morgan doing most of the heavy lifting through their scenes.

The action sequences were fun, but please don't ask me to apply any correlation between them and the plot. By the end of the first act, I really didn't know the intricacies of any plot, nor did I really care. I just wanted to watch more things blow up and maybe see Zoe Seldana prance around in her underwear a couple more times. High end spy thriller, this is not. It's a star-spangled action flick that carries itself better than anything you'll find in the genre lately, though most shoot-em-ups wind up being direct-to-DVD nowadays.

I'm waiting to see how I like The A-Team, The Expendables, and Red. I have a feeling Red will wind up as my favorite shooter for 2010 for the simple fact is has Helen Miren mouthing off and packing heat. As for The Losers, it's average, which I suppose is the best one can hope for from the genre right now.


  1. A heads up for when you watch The Expendables. Don't take it seriously. I mean at all. Watch it for the sheer kick-ass fun of seeing so many of your fav action stars in one movie. Don't get too excited when you see Arnie pop on the screen, his job running a state kept him from doing much more than a comedic cameo role. Sly also takes himself too serious as per usual, so expect that. But Jason Statham (because the guy is the best thing in action films since, Hell, I don't remember when) makes the film worth watching in every scene he's in. Lundgren even brings back some of the anti-hero shine from his Universal Soldier glory days. Come to think of it, I want to see Lundgren get more quality action roles because of this movie. Willis isn't missing, you'll feel the sting of his absence though since he only does a cameo at the same time as Arnie and he might as well not be there. But Jet Li is funny as all Hell, despite the uselessness of his role. There's a scene (you'll know which one when you see the movie)with Li and Statham that ranks in my top five coolest action shots. Tip: it involves a kick, a man's head and that guy being able to see what's hanging from his butt for the next seven seconds of his life. Damn, just talking about it makes me want to see it again. The bad guys and the typical Sly Stallone save the girl backstory almost kill the movie, so try and pretend like they don't exist. I mean it's The Expendables (aptly named)and you can't watch it for anything but the action. Oh, the CGI blood will piss you off too. Despite the things I've mentioned that should be drawbacks to this film, I still came out of the theater wanting to march right back in and watch it again. I think you'll have a great time. Don't put this one off. Rent it, invite a few buddies over for a guy's night, drink plenty of beers and microwave a bag of popcorn. Maybe do a marathon of watching a few films with the stars to prep yourself.

    Universal Soldier
    Rambo: First Blood (plus the book)
    Crank 1&2
    The One
    The Best of the Best
    Sin City (or The Wrestler)
    Gamer (for Terry Crews)
    The Longest Yard (remake)
    Showdown in Little Tokyo
    The Punisher (original movie)

    Oh, and I just found out The Expendables 2 is in the making, so get watching the first one.

  2. Wow, that's practically a review right there. :)

    Looking at your list, I do have a hankering to see Sin City again. And I can't recall the last time I saw Rambo--the original.