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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.
I came across this online whilst browsing and thought it may be worth a watch as I was in the mood for some action that wasn't too low quality or mindless because I needed something to take my mind off things for a little while - CIA and guys looking cool running around with guns can do that for a girl! Whilst this was far cheesier than I had expected and it definitely had its downsides, it was done with some style in parts and proved to be easy enough to watch.
This was directed by Sylvain White who has worked on a couple of things but nothing I really recognise, probably making this his first big flick. I say big flick, even though I hadn't heard of this or seen any comments prior to spotting it online, nor do I recall it having a cinema release. We're introduced to a small, close-knit CIA Special Forces team in the Bolivian Jungle. They're part of a search and destroy mission and seem to be doing quite well, having just got a group of kids in the helicopter ready to send back to safety. They're set to leave shortly after, until things go horribly wrong. I won't say what happens exactly as it's a bit of a surprise, but simply put, things aren't turning out the way they should be. It starts to look as if the team were due to be killed that day; they were the targets of a double-cross, and now they're stranded in the jungle to fend for themselves almost as nameless outlaws.
The team know the outside world will assume they're dead and they keep up this pretence whilst they roam their new foreign territory, brooding over a plan to get even and get home safely. They believe the enemy of the double cross is a faceless man named Max, but navigating around the CIA and Max's team under the radar will be difficult, and they don't really know where to start in terms of actually finding this guy. Luckily, or unluckily, for them, a woman comes along who claims she can help. Aisha wants Max and says she knows how to hunt him down, but can she be trusted? She obviously has an agenda and isn't all she seems, but the team don't have many options other than to follow her leads.
The rest of the film sees the bunch of kick-butt guys, plus kick-butt girl, trying to track down Max, discover what's really going on and clear their names so that they can get back home to their lives. Obviously things will never be straight forward, especially not where CIA and dirty dealings are involved. It's not a massively original premise but there are one or two twists in the details that keep it interesting. I had guessed a few things early on but on the whole, it was able to keep me wanting to see how things panned out for the characters.
There was also some sense of drama and emotion underneath it all, such as when realising why they were in Bolivia in the first place. However, the film seemed to side-line much of the emotive qualities or depressive aspects in favour of action, quick pace and surface attributes of the characters. I wouldn't really say this is a positive or negative thing, but it just meant the film didn't have the backbone that it could have, though it was lighter and easier to watch because of that.
I would say that the film had a fairly good quality feel to it, in part thanks to a strong cast and in part thanks to some funky camera work. At points it felt quite swish and suave, with slow motion, angles, cool looking dudes, funky music and funkier action shots. However, there were also moments where I thought the fight scenes, the actual fights themselves, were a little too flamboyant and thus too unrealistic that they came across as being cheesy. Some scenes were also cheesy because of their inescapable cliché; the point where Clay and Aisha 'unexpectedly' start to get it on made me cringe not just because it was so predictable that it would happen but because of the way it was done, being too over the top with the music and camera work. This is where the attempt to be suave was taken a little too far.
In terms of the pace, it was kept up quite well throughout with some explosive action to wake you up in case you were about to nod off. I didn't really find myself getting bored because things were always on the move, no one stayed still for too long and no one kept a running conversation to the point of awkwardness and boredom. I enjoyed the action in this film and thought it was, on the whole, relevant rather than simply mindless just for the sake of it. It couldn't really detract from the premise too much because it was quite straight forward; they needed to track down the bad guy, clear their names and get home. Mission accomplished. What added depth was the complication of characters and hoops they had to jump through to find Max, meaning some thought was required to understand and keep up with the people and politics involved. None the less, it was still quite easy going to sit back and watch.
The cast included Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Clay), Chris Evans (Jensen), Columbus Short (Pooch), Oscar Jaenada (Cougar), Idris Elba (Rogue), Zoe Saldana (Aisha), Holt McCallany (Wade) and Jason Patric (Max) amongst others. Certainly the main protagonists (Morgan and Saldana) were recognisable to me and gave the film some credibility and reasonable sense from the start that it should be of good quality. For me, Jeffrey Dean Morgan really stood out, though perhaps I'm a little biased because I seemed to develop some sort of thing for him as I was watching, so I had invested interests in watching this all the way through! However, the rest of the cast did a relatively believable job of portraying their respective characters, especially Evans (aka mr Captain America himself). They kept things light when necessary, even when what was happening wasn't necessarily believable in itself. You know the moments, when someone gets shot and get just keeps going when they've probably lost half the blood from their body by then! Salanda was clichéd but that's how Aisha was drawn to be as a character, so I'd still say she did a good job and I'm sure she provided motivation for some guys out there to keep watching this flick just as Morgan and Evans did for me.
Overall, The Losers was a mix of drama, action and sex appeal, that, whilst stylish in parts, overplayed its hand to the point of cheese. It was easy and enjoyable enough to watch, however, so if you're in the mood for watching some cool CIA guys, plus a clichéd kick-bum girl, then this has the action for such a film night.
DVD released 2010, running time 97 minutes, rated Certificate 12
Selling on Amazon for £3
The Losers, An action/adventure movie based on similar lines to the well known A Team movie.
I personally thought this film was good fun to watch with a good cast and would be one I would watch again but I wouldnt say it was edge of your seat action.
However the other half thought it was the best movie he has seen in a while and now has it as his current favourite. Describing it as a classic action that is made as they used to be.
His best friend also loved it a ridiculous amount, So I would say this is a 'man film' that is also ok for the girls to watch.
Good if you want something to watch with your man to keep him happy without having to endure something too gory or over the top.
The film is now available on DVD and can be picked up for under a fiver at most establishments so will also not break the bank. It is also available to stream or rent from lovefilm included in most packages.
Overall I enjoyed it and the other half loved it so I would recommend it as an easy watch.
For the last month or so we have had a couple of films lying next to the TV from Lovefilm. They are what would be more commonly known as Blokes films and for that reason Jen hasn't really been keen to watch them. Fortunately for me she was out all day yesterday to see Take That at Wembley and although the traffic for the concerts has caused me a real pain during the week, they also gave me a chance to have the house to myself to sit down and enjoy one of those two movies. I opted for The Losers as the trailer looked interesting and at least had me expecting a decent action movie.
When a US Special Forces team undertake a under the radar mission in Bolivia they deviate slightly from the plan and leave their extraction Helicopter for a group of kids they safe. Within minutes of taking off the Helicopter is destroyed and the team know it was meant to be them. Now stuck in Bolivia they need to get back to the states and find someone known only as Max and take their revenge. The deaths of the Kids has been blamed on them and for all intent and purposes they too are dead, but now from beyond the grave they want to really hit Max where it hurts.
If there is one label that can be placed firmly on the shoulders of The Losers it is that it's a movie that delivers non-stop action. It's not thought provoking action but none the less it is non-stop. From the opening scenes where we meet this team of Special Ops the director, Sylvain White makes a real statement of intent as to what should be expected. It isn't a film that relies on a complicated plot, rather uses a loose, cliqued plot to travel from one explosion and gun fight to the next. Its simplistic nature makes it rather predictable; however that isn't really a bad thing. In fact it makes for a very simple film to watch and follow, that really doesn't require any concentration.
Taken from the Vertigo comic book of the same name, The Losers doesn't strike me as your typical comic book tales. There are no super heroes, however there is a villain desperate to make the world descend into anarchy and it's up to The Losers to try and stop him. The plot didn't exactly develop the story much and was interlaced with franchise set ups that were shown or mentioned but not explained. The gun battles, the explosions and the general use of special effects were really well utilised and looked realistic, however it would be fair to say that if you weren't in the right sort of mood for it then Losers would simply be far too over the top.
There are a number of leading cast members in this movie and they all work pretty well. The more I see of Idris Elba the more impressed by his acting ability I'm becoming and if anything his role as Rogue doesn't particularly test or showcase his acting abilities. With a rather lose script the characterisation is pretty slack as well. The casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elba, Chris Evans, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada as the Losers works well, however we really don't learn enough about them. In fact anytime we start to it appears the director thinks the pace has slowed too much and throws in another gun fight for good measure.
The best casting decision appears to have been Jason Patric as Max, the only character in the movie to really give a sense of development in the movie. The way Patric portrays him shows that the audience is meant to dislike him and that coupled with his henchman Wade, played by Holt McCallany makes him a cliqued but believable bad guy. The main final cast member is Zoe Saldana who plays a mysterious woman who wants revenge on Max and will help the Losers in any way possible. All in all though the casting would have been good, had the characters been developed a lot more.
A Working Concept
It would be fair to say that this won't be the greatest film you will ever see, however if you're in the mood for loud explosions, decent special effects and an obscured plot then this is exactly the kind of movie for you. It has action by the truck load and requires next to no thought process to watch, which actually made it ideal viewing for a relaxing Saturday afternoon. There is obviously going to be a second Loser's and that will only succeed if it develops the idea and follows different principles. As a starting point for a series this works, but any subsequent films will need a lot more meat on the bones if this is a series that is intended to succeed. For now though the mindless gun fights, explosions and actions work well and if that's what you like in a movie, you will like this.
When my boyfriend suggested watching 'The Losers' it did not sound like my cup of tea at all - a bunch of guys going round shooting and blowing things up in order to get back their identity, but, after making my boyfriend sit through 'The Notebook' a few too many times, I agreed to watch it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find I loved it!
The general idea :
It centres around a team of Special Forces men (Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch & Cougar) blamed for a botched operation that was hijacked by the mysterious baddie 'Max' for his own ends. Presumed dead by the government, they set about getting back to the USA from Bolivia and getting revenge on Max - involving a chopper jacking, stealing a hard drive and a lot of shooting. They are helped by the equally mysterious 'Aisha' who is both friend and foe, who also has an axe to grind with Max. What starts out as a revenge plot inadvertently ends up being a plan to save LA as Max has activated a snuke on the docks.
I found 'The Losers' to be a fast paced and funny film, I wish I had seen it at the cinema first, as I think that kind of action film works better on the large screen.
The actors were all outstanding, especially the English Idris Elba, who has a flawless American accent throughout. The film is based on a comic book, and the producers have clearly tried to pay homage to this throughout, to the films benefit - all of the characters have strong identities and the makers have gone to great lengths on the fine details, whether it be Cougar and his signature hat, Clay and his love for suits or Pooch with his little toy chiuaua, I felt these really added to the story and made following the characters much more interesting.
I liked how even though the film was action packed, it still maintained a storyline. It has one of the best fight scenes I have seen in a film - between Jeffrey Dean Morgan's 'Clay' and Zoe Saldana's 'Aisha', although I did feel the action got a bit too ridiculous towards the end (motorbike riders flying into a plane engine and blowing it up for example!)
I think the main thing that let the film down was the 'baddie' Max. He seemed to be a bit over egged, and although I get he was meant to be mysterious and generally just evil, the film didn't really explain his motives enough - it seemed to just be a lust for general destruction with no particular point!
One thing I have to mention is the music - I thought the soundtrack was excellent - pretty much all high octane action film standards but I particularly liked the use of 'Black Betty', The Kills 'U R A Fever' and surprisingly, Journey's ''Don't Stop Believin''...
Overall I would give this film a solid 4/5 - great acting, funny and entertaining scenes, even if a little far-fetched towards the end.
"The Losers" is a 2010 Action / Comedy film starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans and directed by Sylvain White.
"The Losers" are an elite special forces team consisting of Clay ( Jeffrey Dean Morgan ). Roque ( Idris Alba ), Jensen ( Chris Evans ), Pooch ( Columbus Short ) and Cougar ( Oscar Jaenada ) who have been sent deep into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission, their mission to paint a target for an airstrike is disrupted when Clay discovers that the compound to be bombed will contain children, when they attempt to cancel the airstrike they are informed by their mission commander "Max" ( Jason Patric ) over the radio that the strike will proceed, as such the team move into the compound to rescue the children before its destroyed, once inside Clay finds a child being held by the missions primary target and shoots him, before escaping with the children.
The Men load the children onto a helicopter meant for them but the lack of room means the team must stay behind, satisfied that they saved the lives of the children the mens joy is shortlived as the fighter jet performing the airstrike turns onto the helicopter carrying the children and destroys it ordered by Max who now believes the men to be dead.
Living in Bolivia and presumed dead they now make a living fixing cockfights, while trying to figure out a way to get back to America, one evening clay encounters Aisha ( Zoe Saldana ) who seems to know who the men are and offers them the chance to return to the United States in return for their help killing Max, the men agree ( although some reluctantly ) and they return to the United States and begin their new mission regaining their lives and also eliminating the mysterious Max,. however all is not as it seems and the mysterious Aisha is more than meets the eye, coupled with a dangerous foe in Max and the losers are tested to their limits.
I went into "The Losers" expecting average action fare sprinkled with a little comedy and came away quite surprised and impressed, while I can certainly name better movies in the Genre and the genre itself leans towards generic throwaway movies with little in terms of a plot and senseless violence, the Losers at least tries to give us a believable story and something a little more than just guns and violence.
Sylvain White does a marvelous job of giving the movie a comic book feel, while rooting it deep in reality, the fight and action sequences are extremely stylistic and slick and the actors do a tremendous job of delivering the fight scenes ( particularly Morgan and Saldana who have a particularly juicy and almost erotic fight scene in a hotel room )
All of the actors do a great job with what they have to work with, and in particular Jason Patric gives an impressive turn as the psychotic Max, and his cold and calculating performance is a real standout in the movie,but overall they all do a great job and while the movie can be a little predicable in places, it moves along quite fast and the payoff comes at the perfect time.
Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a healthy slice of action
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
Set in the Bolivian jungle, members of a black ops team desperately chase those who, they discover, have put a hit on them but can they track them down in time? this is what the movie is about.
- Thoughts/Opinions -
To me, this is almost the epitomy of an average movie. Again this is a movie that I'm pretty sure some will enjoy more than me and some perhaps less than me, its definitely aimed at guys for one and they probably would enjoy it (at least some aspects of it which I'll mention later) most, though I don't want to be seen as sexist and completely discount it as having any entertainment value for female viewers either. It would be wrong to say that this movie is generally poor as it provides some entertainment in the way of action scenes - there are quite alot of visual effects used, predominantly explosions - so many that by the end of the movie, it almost doesn't seem that shocking as it did towards the start.
I can't deny that the film makers included some pretty imaginative scenes in relation to said explosions too, whereby characters are catapaulted in ways not seen before and different series of events happen surrounding the explosions, which was, to me, more original and certainly provided some humour to the movie. I certainly wouldn't describe this movie as visually breaking new ground or being greatly original though, ultimately its a bit of a laugh clearly, as I've said before, aimed at guys and as such as its alright and there are perhaps one or two scenes, mainly the aforementioned explosion/action scenes, which might (just) stick in your mind afterwards but other than that it relies on a rather tired formula in terms of characters, such as the fact that there's 'the tomboy' and 'the wise guy'. There are the good guys and the bad guys and the story - oh yes, the story, hmmm... to be honest thats the main downfall of this movie, well that and the fact that other than the reliance on multiple special effects used a bit too often, it really doesn't offer anything much to reel us in I reckon but yes back to the story and I found that a bit hard to understand - its rather muddled and not too clear IMO. I may be a bit harsh and perhaps I was a bit distracted, although I know that if its a particularly good movie thats being played I do manage to not feel as distracted because I genuinely can become quite absorbed in the stories and characters and not let other things distract me, so it still says something about the movie but yes, I felt that the real story that should ultimately prop up every movie (ultimately what is a movie without a proper story to remember afterwards, to make you understand it or want to watch it again or remember it by?) wasn't very clear and it seemed rather slap-dash.
Now again I'll say that i am a fan of action movies, I don't expect every film I see to be some masterpiece, some serious long drawn out novel or story of epic proportions by any means but this particular title just didn't hold my interest too much. Examples of other action movies that I've really quite enjoyed for the visual aspects (such as car chases and explosions) and I thought were better movies would include titles such as Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, National Security, Heat and so on. Also the remake of Starsky and Hutch was quite good and thats another movie that has some action and special effects present (from what I remember) along with a good amount of humour/comedy, although the characters are better developed IMO.
If you want an idea of how crude the movie is in parts(!), one scene involves a shot being fired in a room which breaks glass and everything slows down just so you get to glimpse a pretty young ladies, uh, behind through the reflection in one of the shards of glass - yup, thats about the level this movie is at, so, now you should have a rough idea what to expect.
To me, this movie does have quite a comic book feel to it, its very fast paced and quickfire (literally) and there is some (sublte and not so subtle) comedy in it, even within the special effects such as (please correct me if im wrong, im going by memory here) when some of the characters are in a school bus and the flames of the explosion carry it forward - there's something thats so preposterous about that situation that does make you chuckle and I'd say there's a few of those sorts of scenes, enough to keep you mildly entertained but it still feels like itslet down by not enough characterisation and a plot that seemed like it had been forgotten about why those involved in the film decided to put all their attention to pressing the CGI buttons and seeing what happened, so to speak.
These are, of course, simply my opinions about this movie and again ill reiterate that some people may enjoy the movie more than me, equally some people may become bored with it within the first twenty minutes or so and want to turn over and catch something else, it all depends on what appeals to you but as a review is meant to be about personal opinion and suchlike, these were my thoughts and its up to you to decide if you reckon its worth a watch for the visual effects and a couple of laughs from random/silly situations (plus that all important ladies butt caught in the glass shard reflection moment - can't forget that, im sure that will pull the punters in...(?!). Personally, I'd rather watch the other somewhat similar action movies I mentioned before that I enjoyed more, if I had a choice of what movie to watch in a similar genre or maybe The A Team but then I've heard that movie isn't so hot either - so perhaps not!. I'm not going to say that this is a dire or even a poor movie as I reckon some people will get the odd laugh from it and enjoy the special effects, i think this was probably a movie that would have been more enjoyable watched on the big screen, so if you have a large TV and this shows up on a subscription movie channel you already paid for and it appeals then it may be worth checking out but thats about it. I can't see me remembering anything much about this title in the weeks to follow, which says it all really...
- Would I Recommend It? -
Funnily enough, no I wouldn't. Like I said in the paragraph above, I don't think its really dire or poor even, considering what its trying to be, its disctinctly average. It provides the odd laugh and there are plenty of action/explosion scenes which probably look really good on a large screen (my TV is only 20" after all, so I can't say I get the full effect of such uh effects) but I felt that the story was pretty weak and that there wasn't much in the way of characterisation and I did feel a bit distracted after a while. I think this is a movie perhaps more suited to men than women - if it sounds good for a laugh then you may get some entertainment from it but there are definitely better movies out there and as such I wouldn't recommend or encourage you to spend any money specifically on seeing this.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and, as ever, many thanks for all rates and comments. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK under the same username.
For me, this film can be summed up with one scene in terms of the attitude its cast and crew seem to have had whilst making it. The show Glee has become synonymous with the song Don't Stop Believin', and has relaunched it to become one of the more cult shows around - indeed, followers are known as Gleeks! Imagine my slowing shaking head and the distant, yet amused smile as one of the characters (Jensen - Chris Evans) in this action packed military based revenge thriller goes undercover, singing this with headphones in whilst walking nonchalantly into one of the most secure companies' office buildings without more than a bemused glance from all around. And yes, the scene does progress to get even sillier.
This sort of fun is exactly what the film seems to have taken as its main focus. Having been betrayed and being left for dead somewhere in the Bolivian jungle, a group of five black ops soldiers team up with a mysterious woman to try and get back into the US and seek revenge on their handler, Max, who had 'killed' them with the old 'blow up the helicopter as it takes off' trick.
This plot leaves the script writers the opportunity to give each character a speciality, each scene some over the top explosions, and to let at least a small handful of the overall cast try to do some double, triple, and I believe quadruple crossing. With all of this, it would have been quite easy to get distracted and confused by the various things going on, but the reality is that this is an incredibly shallow film that is as forgettable as it is fun.
The plot leaves our soldiers trying to stop Max unleashing a devastating plan on the world, which would no doubt result in lots of lives lost and a fallout like you've never seen before. Most of the storytelling is done through short and uninformative conversations between the occasional characters, usually in whatever hotel room or vehicle they're in. The banter features quite highly, and the quirky comedic conversations do help with the characterisation, interspersed with more than enough action scenes.
In fact, this is ultimately all the film does: gives us banter and action. Its shallow nature extends to all elements and, kudos to the director in a sense, at no point does he try to do things he shouldn't with the film. There are moments of promise, small subtleties that are noticeable and indeed memorable, such as the aforementioned scene with Jensen, and an intriguing fight scene in a hotel room. I also like the way we are told where they are through a series of white block letters displayed on whatever background is available, using the contours to make it seem very natural.
The Losers is based on a comic book series, and to a certain extent, it does make reference to this fact. However, I did feel that the director was more interested in moving away from these origins and wanting to follow along on the crest of the wave that has been formed with the emergence of the A Team feature film. It's either a very clever move to bring this out at virtually the same time as the iconic TV series gets its modern jazzed up outing, or it's shooting yourself in the foot. Both films are very similar, and you should probably regard The Losers as the poor man's A Team, to be honest. A team of expert soldiers unable to show themselves in public, but with a grudge and a revenge match that they need to see through; a film laced with over the top explosions and shallow character development; and some cheesy one liners that will have the audience either grinning or groaning.
The major difference for me though, between these two action packed enjoyable films, is in the characters/acting. Both films ahve shallow characterisation to a certain extent, but it shows more in The Losers. Of the five in the team, Chris Evans as Jensen is by far the most exciting and entertaining. I have to hand it to him, a film with him in a lead role is usually going to have a high level of entertainment if nothing else, and he doesn't disappoint here. His best scene, for me, is when he starts rabbiting on about telekinesis to three guards who have him cornered, while Don't Stop Believin' is going on in the background. The end of that scene is brilliance.
The rest, however, really shows promise but just fails to deliver. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is great as the quiet, sulking kind of hunky guy, but as the gruff leader of this merry band of revenge exacters, he falls down and the character comes across as weak. He tries to smoulder, but it's more like a struggle, I'm afraid. Idris Elba, from the Wire, lacks enough time to get going, showing his capacity for long running TV thrillers, but also showing how he's lost in the crowd when there's only 90 minutes to work with. Zoe Saldana has made a name for herself with Avatar and Star Trek, and although her performance in The Losers is decent enough to get her noticed, it doesn't mean much when faced with the competition.
The problem, I guess, is the fact that these characters show signs of development but these are never finished off. Sharp shooter Cougar has a thing about people touching his hat, but this is hardly mentioned, so when it's spoken about, it has no effect. His shooting is amazing, though, and the silent and broody attitude goes well with the visual characterisation. So, with three of the five giving quieter roles, this only leaves Columbus Short's Pooch for Evans' Jensen to work with, and although the scenes with them together provide some good double banter, they're too few and far between in the film to fully develop them, either. Jason Patric is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY over the top as uber villain Max, but I guess this is how the character is supposed to be pitched. Patric looks as if he has had a whale of a time doing this, and at least he is consistent.
The special effects are either over the top or just not good enough. A lower budget than many films such as this would have achieved do mean limitations on the type of explosions that we would have seen in the A Team, if I may draw once more on this comparison, but it's not just here that the limitations come in. Some of the scenes could do with some brushing up, and there are some moments where things just seem a bit second rate and could have done with a few more dollars thrown at them to make it tidy and smooth. The film certainly follows the genre well enough, but the cliches in the film make it seem like it would have been at home back in the 80s and 90s with Arnie films where the action disguised the lack of plot in nearly everything he did, allowing the hulking Austrian to control the screen. Sadly though, not even the entertaining action scenes here can quite stem the flow of mediocrity that exudes from the screen when you're watching this.
Yet above all of this, it's a film I thoroughly enjoyed for the 90 minuted it ran. It doesn't actually give you enough time to examine the errors or weak elements, and is past paced enough and laced with so many short camera shots that the lack of characterisation and plot development is easily put down to the frenetic nature of getting from A to B in the plot, taking a hike through some of the other letter of the alphabet along the way. It's an hour and a half of pure entertainment, fun to be enjoyed, and completely undemanding of any of your brain power. You would do best to switch off from this: there's not really anything to try and second guess. Any plot twists aren't so much telegraphed as assumed, and any revelations are over the top to the point where they fit in with everything else that is just so, and it makes it consistent for its running time.
I do recommend seeing this, but be under no illusions as to what it is. Great fun, but is it cinematic genius? Nah. Action packed fun that you can put on and switch off to. Nothing more, nothing less.......... (singer in a smoky room, smmmell o' wine and cheap perfume.................)
This is a review of the film only.
A CIA black ops team is sent to the Bolivian jungle to track down and eliminate a prolific drug dealer. Having found the target, the team sends reports back to base where an air strike is launched. To the men's horror, however, a bus full of school children arrives at the site. When they try and cancel the command, the message is intercepted by their handler, who introduces himself as Max, and prevents the air strike from being cancelled. The team is left to make their way to the location and rescue the children on foot. They succeed, but the helicopter that is sent to airlift them out of the location is intercepted and destroyed. When the men realise that they have been set up, they throw their belongings into the debris and allow the military to assume that they have been killed in the incident.
The team leader, named Clay, is subsequently approached by a mysterious woman in Bolivia who claims that she can get them back onto US soil if they will help her bring Max to justice. It transpires that Max is involved in a plan that could threaten the world. Clay's men must work undercover and try and expose Max and his plan, before it's too late. But how do you do that when everybody thinks you're dead?
The Losers started its life as a comic book series on DC Comics' mature imprint called Vertigo comics. Running for 32 issues between 2003 and 2006, the series was very loosely based on an earlier series that featured a group of World War 2 soldiers but the Vertigo version was re-imagined for a more modern audience. The film is effectively the origin of the team, explaining how they came to fall under the radar and how their relationship with Max becomes rather more deadly and driven.
For director Sylvain White, The Losers is something of a departure from his previous movie, Stomp The Yard. White attempts to retain the comic book feel of the story here, particularly with a choppy use of visuals and dialogue that prevents the audience from ever really taking the picture too seriously. The finished product is an entertaining enough action romp, but one that is ultimately very superficial and quickly forgotten.
It doesn't help that the film was released in the same year as the big screen re-imagining of the TV series The A-Team, largely because the mechanics of the two films work in very similar ways. Both films feature a group of men who have turned more towards the mercenary side of things through circumstance. Each of the members of the two teams has a particular specialisation and capability, with one of those freeze-frame introductions at the start of The Losers to present everybody by name and skill. Neither film takes itself too seriously (almost certainly a good thing) but the end result is that The Losers tends to feel like The A-Team's poor relative. It doesn't have the budget, it doesn't have the big names and it doesn't have the distinctive characterisation that made The A-Team so distinctive.
Indeed, there are very few members of The Losers that stand out in any shape or form. Leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is very non-descript and could arguably be any world-weary American soldier. His men are equally unmemorable, with only the technical specialist Jensen demonstrating any real character traits. This makes it extremely difficult for the audience to care what happens to them one way or another. The script somehow manages to de-humanise them almost entirely. Despite the fact that we learn one of them is a new father and that one has a younger sister, their 'lives' back in the US largely become irrelevant. There comes a point where the audience has to decide simply to put its feet up and stop thinking about what's going on.
On the upside, this is never a film that rests on its laurels. It's almost impossible to get bored of The Losers because there's just too much going on. The narrative lurches and hurtles from one conflict/explosion/fight to another, with just a little bit of intrigue and machination in between to allow everybody to catch their breath. On that basis, the ninety-minute running time hurtles past and the action thriller badge for the film is as accurate as any could be. It's also frequently funny. There's a great scene in a lift where Jensen finds himself half-naked and exposed to a group of secretaries, where he just smiles cockily and asks if they like 'the angle of dangle'. That kind of demonstrates the level of humour here perfectly in a film that doesn't take itself seriously and doesn't expect the audience to either. The bad guy is a bit of a Bond villain but he too has some great movies and is a worthy opponent for Clay and his men. It's a reasonably palatable concoction too. The violence is reasonably bloodless and the dialogue is safe enough to make this appeal to a wide range of ages. Very occasionally, the director shows an inkling of flair that never really seems to take off. There's a great shoot out in a hotel room where a slow motion sequence captures the image of one of the shooters in the reflection of a shard of glass. Had we seen much more of this, The Losers would almost certainly have felt much more original than it does.
On the downside, The Losers is just stuffed full of action movie clichés. There's a slow motion walk out of all the team doing their best to look rock hard. A jeep hurtles out of a rain forest as a massive explosion erupts behind it. None of the bad guys seems capable of firing a single bullet that can hit its target. The top bad guy is ridiculously over the top and does a long line in sharp suits and cruel one-liners. There's double crossing, triple crossing and plenty of those kind of spectacular 'no way' kind of stunts that just make you shake your head in disbelief. The film is also set up very much as an introduction to what seems to be a planned franchise, with a weak, rather open ending that makes the whole thing feel like a pilot for something else. Indeed, many of the production values here feel rather more like a TV movie than a Hollywood blockbuster. Some of the editing in the middle of certain scenes almost feels like it was set up for an advertisement break, for example.
Turning to the ugliness, the special effects are not particularly good. The explosions are so obviously staged and the use of pyrotechnics makes this more like a stage show than a serious movie. Clay (team leader) is woefully unconvincing and the decision to pitch him up with such a youthful, sassy female love interest makes it a bit like seeing your father pitch up with a much younger girlfriend.
There are some strange and not entirely effective casting decisions in The Losers that leave you wondering what the studio had in mind. Presumably riding the crest of success from his appearance in Watchmen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan takes the lead as Clay but seems deeply uncomfortable with the subject matter. He doesn't have the physique or the presence to convince us that he is who he's pretending to be and you wonder whether the fact that he continually looks so bad is actually how he felt. It's a disaster, then, to hook him with Zoe Saldana, who looks more like his daughter than a lover. Saldana made her name as Uhura and looks great here too, but generally seems under-used. Idris Elba and Columbus Short are both very unmemorable as team members Roque and Pooch and it's hard to decide whether they're 'good' or not with such limited material to work with.
Conversely, Chris Evans is, as ever, excellent. As Jensen, he has been slightly 'nerdified' here, but adds a much-needed injection of quirky humour and the aforementioned moment in the lift is simply hilarious. Jason Patric is consistently over-the-top as bad guy Max, but then the script demands it and he seems to be having a ball along the way (but don't ever take a job as his umbrella-carrier.)
The Losers is an awful lot of fun. There are plenty of stunts and explosions here and this is certainly a very undemanding film. The plot doesn't stand up well to scrutiny but that's almost a given in the genre and at ninety minutes, the film never outlives its welcome. Chris Evans is sexy and sassy and there are plenty of laughs along the way. That aside, however, The Losers is very easily forgotten. There simply isn't enough here to set this aside from the competition and one viewing will always be more than enough. It would be unfair to expect too much from The Losers, but it's fun while it lasts.
The Losers is an action film directed by Sylvain White based on the Vertigo comics of the same name. So, fact fans, here is the main cast:
Clay - Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who also played The Comedian in the recent Watchmen movie)
Roque - Idris Elba (best known for being Stringer Bell in The Wire)
Jensen - Chris Evans (not the talkative ginger one from British TV, the one who was in Fantastic Four and is set to play Captain America sometime soon)
Pooch - Columbus Short (from Stomp The Yard which was also directed by Sylvain White)
Cougar - Oscar Jaenada (not well known in Hollywood yet but has done a lot of work in his native Spain)
Aisha - Zoe Saldana (one of the blue things in Avatar and Uhura in Star Trek - the latter of which makes her pretty cool in my book)
Max - Jason Patric (him out of Lost Boys! But all grown up!)
I'm going to try my best to write about this film without giving too much away so please leave a comment if you think I've included anything too spoileriffic. Although, to be honest, this film is pretty predictable so you can see plot twists coming from a mile off. But, putting that aside for a moment, let me give you a basic rundown of what the film is about:
The 'Losers' of the title are a band of soldiers comprising a sombre knife expert (Roque), a wisecracking technological whizz (Jensen), a family man vehicles guy (Pooch), an enigmatic sniper (Cougar) and their rugged but dependable colonel (Clay). During a mission in the Bolivian jungle they are double-crossed by the sinister Max and are forced to go undercover to get back to America and to finally confront him. They are helped by the sultry Aisha who proves she is every bit as tough as the Losers but may not be quite who she seems. I can't really give away any more about the plot but it is your basic 'soldiers gone rogue' affair with plenty of gunfire, explosions and some sneaky double crossing.
As for the style of the film, it definitely feels like a comic book adaptation with slick fight scenes (with a conspicuous lack of blood - it's a 12A) and some nice visuals, such as the Losers walking Reservoir Dogs-style towards the camera. The shoot-outs have a videogame feel to them with the action slowing down and the camera going close in on the victim. The setup of this film makes it rip for a videogame adaptation and the strong characters could easily translate to this format.
The cast is very strong and put their characters across very well considering the film gives away little about their background. Chris Evans shows real comedic flair as fast-talking Jensen and has some great lines and a very funny scene involving mimed guns and an acapella version of 'Don't Stop Believin'. Jeffrey Dean Morgan elicits sympathy as their colonel of this ailing troupe and doesn't overplay the macho posturing which many actors in this sort of role usually fall into. Despite having very few lines (seriously, he's practically mute) Oscar Jaenada really embodies his role and adds some nice comic touches of his own. Idris Elba nails the hardened soldier character and Zoe Saldana is good as a foxy femme fatale. The only letdown in the cast is Jason Patric as baddie Max - he really underplays the character, aiming for cold and uncaring but landing at nonchalant and apathetic. This is a real shame as he is given some excellent lines and in a more imposing actor's hands this could have been a very sinister part.
I went to see this at the cinema with 2 big fans of comic books and a friend who isn't really into comics or big action flicks and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. The banter between the cast is more than enough to keep non action fans entertained and the big face-off towards the end of the movie is definitely enjoyable for those of us that enjoy action movies. The ending of the film definitely left me wanting more and I'd really like to see a sequel of this thoroughly enjoyable movie.
note: also appears on my film review website, TheFilmBlogger.com
The Losers is a perfect example of a film that knows exactly what it is; an unassailably daft, unpretentious slice of slick entertainment, and nothing more. It probably won't be remembered alongside the best comic book adaptations to date - not least because the paperback counterpart is relatively obscure - but director Sylvain White is aware of the material's limitations, and directs with according haste.
From the opening moments of The Losers, in which the names of the titular squad - Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Cougar (Óscar Jaenada), Jensen (Chris Evans), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Roque (Idris Elba) - are emblazed over the screen, it's clear that this is one film that's undoubtedly in the business of instant gratification. Something of an antidote to the heady (and brilliant) intellectualism of The Dark Knight, The Losers is almost aggressively simple-minded in its execution, with the preliminary set piece involving the team attempting to rescue a group of Bolivian school children who have been put in harm's way by an evil CIA turncoat named Max (Jason Patric). Left for dead in the wake of the mission, they must enlist the help of the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana) if they are to get sweet revenge.
Not at all interested in weaving an intricate plot, the film's single-track approach befits the pulpy, cartoon-esque tone White aims for, and for the most part he nails it. There is a profound difference between simplicity and stupidity, for The Losers is not a stupid film; it is both self-consciously slick and cheesy, but it's also chock full of clever quips, of which Evans' Jensen benefits the most, keeping the laughs coming thick and fast.
The cast is no doubt stronger than the material really deserves; Elba especially conveys the frustration of the squad - having no identity and not really much of a life - with a fiery spirit, while Zoe Saldana is absolutely transfixing in her various states of undress throughout. Evans, however, is the highlight, portraying a character best imagined as though a geeky comic book fanboy were dropped into a comic book universe; he is sardonic, scarily up-to-scratch on technology, and more than a little annoying at times. He is, however, also quite charming to a point.
Running in at scarcely over 90 minutes, White rarely stops the carnage for much dialoguing, and though this is for the most part beneficial - for he blasts through the Losers' origin story in all of ten minutes - it does occasionally result in things feeling just a tad too piecemeal. For instance, The Losers manage to smuggle their way back to the States in coffins, yet this fact is glossed over in a brief half-minute scene before never being mentioned again. Is it not rather important to the plot?
This minimalist treatment also extends to the film's villain, Max. Jason Patric does his best at playing him with the tongue rooted firmly in cheek, though his screen time can't total more than a quarter of an hour, making him underdeveloped at best. For this reason - and for a weak climax, which carefully sweeps him out of the way unharmed for a sequel - he's not especially satisfying as an antagonist, though Patric's hammy riff on the archetypal Bond villain does raise plenty of laughs.
Equally amusing and entertaining is the exaggerated nature of the film's action scenes; a moment in which a GPS is fired on a rocket to confuse the spies, and another in which cars explode when sniped, are incredibly fun in their carefree absurdity. White clearly understands the more primal pleasure of the comic book medium, and exploits it here in an undeniably jolting package that walks a fine line between guilty pleasure and unapologetic spectacle of bombast. Though it's teeming full of ridiculous inventions and barely believable physics, The Losers' action - like its dialogue - is smartly packaged, with various situations making practical sense and demonstrating a certain feral intellect.
Few, I doubt, will complain that The Losers is lacking in action; there are set-pieces a-plenty, each of which has a very different look and personality. Even in its brief talky moments, the dialogue is either so ridiculous or to-the-point that it merely exits to tease out the next hail of bullets. Occasionally dodgy editing aside, the slick direction undoubtedly befits the material, and though it's nudity-free and absolutely bloodless, the PG-13 tone helps keep things brisk and light.
It is what it is, and it delivers exactly what you expect, though the disappointing lack of closure and forced open-endedness of what could clearly have been a self-contained story is a little crass. Still, The Losers is funny, fast and efficient, covering its flaws well with unrelenting action.
I saw the trailer to this and it looked awesome so decided we had to go and see it. The trailer doesn't do it justice, this movie is excellent. This is based on A DC comic following 5 individuals of an elite U.S. Special Forces team that are sent in to get jobs done. They are betrayed just like in the A-Team and need to then clear their names. To be honest this movie strikes me as a fake A-Team, but just as funny, if not funnier.
Story (May contain spoilers)
5 Elite US Special Forces members, Clay, Rogue, Jenson, Pouch and Cougar make up a team that can get a mission done, that is until the mission they are on they get used to assassinate a drug lord and are betrayed by Max.
These men are thought of as dead and Max gets on with the rest of his master plan to cause war throughout the world, that is until these men start an adventure to find Max and clear their names so they can get back to their families, who think they are dead.
During this mission there is much betrayal, discovering people are not who they said they are, people getting shot, explosions and of cause an attempt to save the world from a new doomsday weapon, while also finishing in time for the birth of Pouches baby and the girls little league for Jensons' niece.
This movie as I said before had a feel of the classic A-Team, there is a lot of team work between the individuals who treat each other like a family. There is excellent sense of humour and outrageous plans that manage to succeed. This really is a poor mans A-Team, and with the new A-Team movie coming out it is a good job they released it now, and not trying to compete. In its own rights however this movie is absolutely fantastic and I will definatly buying it on blue ray. I was laughing all the way through as it didn't take itself too seriously, lots of subtle jokes and expressions that just made this movie a classic.
The acting was superb, the actors really got into character which is ideal with this being a group relative unknowns, to be fair this could be where the A-Team goes wrong with an all star cast.
If you get chance go watch this movie, you'll love it.
For some die hard fans of the comic, I don't know how well it links, but after atchign this I want to get the comics to read!!!
The first thing you need to consider when viewing this film is that it's a comic book adaptation which means reality goes straight out the window and it's place comes an over the top, anything goes, brash loud and entertaining movie.
The comic it was based upon (and note I say based, more of that later) the Vertigo series which ran from 2003 until 2006. Adult in tone it concerned a Special Forces unit that was betrayed by their CIA handler named Max, and left for dead following the succesful completion of their operation. Swearing vengeance against Max and fight to clear their names they are forced to wage war against the CIA.
The film takes the same plot but unfortunately for many fans of the comic book, the tone is brought to a more sedate level, with much of the violence and language being omitted in order to attain a lower rating, rather than the 18 certificate it probably would have garnered.
In terms of the cast it's a mixed bag but one that works. Jeffrey Dean Morgan who took on the comic book world before in Watchmen is joined by Chris Evans, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Zoe Saldana and the brilliant Idris Elba currently being seen in BBC's Luther. In the role of Max, Jason Patric suitably hams it up as some form of lost cousin toAlan Rickman's Hans Gruber.
It is directed by Sylvain White an up and coming director, but perhaps the best bit of information regarding this film is that the script was adapted not only by one of the comics original wriers Andy Diggle, but also Peter Berg. Berg who has had a hand in some of the classiest yet cleverest action films of the last ten years (Welcome to the Jungle, The Kingdom, Hancock, Friday Night Lights) has put his seal of approval on this film. And whilst he may not direct, the presence of his name on the credits will be enough to put a few more bums on seats.
So there you have it. 103 mins of entertaining, action packed thrills with enough one liners to keep anyone amused, and an ending with scope for sequels. Definitely unveiled to rival the up and coming 'A Team' later in the year, it'll be interesting to see the comparisons. It's got a cracking soundtrack, action and whilst hardcore fans of the comics maybe disappointed at the loss of the adult tone, I for one am hoping for another in the series.