Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Losers


Directed by Sylvain White.
2010. Rated PG-13, 97 minutes.
Cast:
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Zoe Saldana
Idris Elba
Chris Evans
Columbus Short
Jason Patric
Óscar Jaenada
Holt McCallany
Tanee McCall


The Losers is the nickname of a super-secret special ops unit led by Clay (Morgan). All five guys have their own specialty and personality. Basically, we have two you smart alecs (Evans and Short), two older grisled vets (Morgan and Elba) and one guy who says very little but is a great shot (Jaenada).

On one of their missions, secret of course, our heroes come up with a very good reason to abort the operation. Unfortunately, someone a little further up the food chain stubbornly goes forth with the plan and tries to eliminate The Losers in the process. They let him think that he had and promptly go into hiding. After a little while, Clay meets the mysterious Aisha (Saldana). She offers the boys a chance to get their reveng against the even more mysterious Max (Patric), the higher-up that tried to kill them. From there, everything go boom.

Surprisingly, in the midst of all the gunfire, explosions and sado masochistic lovie-dovie stuff between Clay and Aisha, the story actually holds together fairly well. The boys mistrust of her only makes sense and the two young bucks keep things light and entertaining. And of course, just like I’ve already said, everything go boom.

The problem is mostly with Max. He’s one of those over the top Lex Luthor types who, through some ill-fated plan, stands to make a ton of money by ensuring some other unseen evil people will have the means they’re more than willing to use to try and destroy the entire planet with him on it. Yes, he is one of those geniuses that knows everything except the flaw in his own plan. In a movie filled with cartoonish, juvenile and gratuitous acts, he is somehow still too much. He wears one glove, why? We eventually find out, but it’s got nothing to do with anything. It’s only there to set up a two-second visual effect late in the movie. I think back to one of my all time favorite movies, Enter the Dragon. The villain in that one also has something going on with his hand. It works there because it plays into the action. It serves a purpose in the movie. Here, it’s basically a throwaway sight gag.

Max’s top henchman, Wade (McCallany) is a problem, too. Every time The Losers mention his name, they shutter and talk about how much of a badass he is. I was waiting for him to really show me something special during some great climactic battle with our heroes. Alas, that never happens. He might as well have been named “Henchman #1.” To make matters worse, he acts like a bumbling idiot and Max treats him accordingly.

The inequities in quality of narration between the good guys and bad guys make this an uneven watch. It’s fun, action-packed and goofy. Sometimes it’s goofy in a good way, other times not. This means there are more than a couple eye-rolling moments. If you’re a fan of action flicks, this is right up your alley. If you’re not, skip it. There’s no groundbreaking material, here.

The Opposite View: Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

What the Internet Says: 6.4/10 on imdb.com (9/23/10), 48% on rottentomatoes.com, 44/100 on metacritic.com

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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