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The Losers (Review)

The Losers (Review)

They certainly aren't winners.
May 27, 2010
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The Losers
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Release Date: 27/05/2010 Runtime: 97 minutes Country: USA


Director:  Sylvain White Writer(s): 
Peter Berg

James Vanderbilt

Andy Diggle

Cast: Óscar Jaenada, Chris Evans, Columbus Short, Idris Elba, Jeffrey Dean Morgan,
The Losers (Review), reviewed by Glynn Morgan on 2010-05-27T10:03:16+00:00 rating 1.5 out of5

Mindless action movies can be absolutely fantastic, especially if you are in the right mood to consume a patently ridiculous plotline, exaggerated physics and a heroic protagonist with a flair for blowing things up. Some of these films can be appreciated for being “so bad they’re good”, others are well conceived spectacles with uber cool, or bad ass, main characters. Sometimes they will even poke fun at themselves, or pay homage to classic action movies of old.

However, for every enjoyable action film, there is always an average attempt at the genre, one that misses the mark and never feels at home in the above categories. Unfortunately for me, The Losers was one of those films. Neither an atrocity to laugh at, nor a classic to cherish, the continuous attempts at humour, thrills and attitude fall hopelessly short.

The Losers begins by using freeze frame title cards to introduce each of our protagonists, the members of an American Elite Special Forces company. Jenson, Cougar, Pooch, Roque, and Clay are plastered on the screen with their respective squad positions, which feel pulled out of the latest computer game. Jenson (Chris Evans) serves as the tech guy, who can’t pick up girls and makes a continuous idiot of himself. Pooch (Columbus Short), the squad driver, is the soon-to-be father. Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) is the spiritual (and Hispanic) marksman, whose main activities include preying, shooting and wearing a hat. Roque (Idris Elba) is the demo man, second in command and has leadership issues amongst the group. Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is the team leader, who doesn’t do much more than stand around looking broody and unshaven, until he starts shooting people or making love, of course.

The team is sent to initiate an airstrike on an outpost in the jungle, harbouring an international criminal. When the company discovers the outpost has children on site, they realise the military is being manipulated by an entity known as Max (Jason Patric), who orders the strike to continue despite the children. When the company fails to save the children, they throw in their dog tags for a life of seclusion. Suddenly, the dubious femme Aisha shows up (Zoë Saldana) and the company is given a chance to redeem themselves and eliminate Max.

Now, most of these characters exude a type of macho, cockiness, which I found unsavoury – and this is the crux of it. I don’t expect a deep gallery of heroes, nor ones that hold an appropriate set of morals. What I do expect is at least one likeable, confident and charismatic player who is badass enough to make Alan Rickman wet his pants. Unfortunately, I found no such character in this movie. The supposedly witty dialogue is delivered in this self-aware tone that sounds more like the characters are fishing for a high five from their mates, rather than getting on with it. I generally dislike male attitude in ensemble casts, which didn’t help either. Nor did the accompanying film techniques, which attempt to make the team seem more “cool” then they are. The slow motion walking, circling pans and heavy rock soundtrack are a bit much, feeling almost like a parody of the genre.

the losers1 The Losers (Review)

Admittedly, there are some occasionally fun moments, like the blatantly evil performance of Jason Patric in Max. His character is somewhat amusing, casually discussing and organising the death of his victims, overt confidence and a taste for nuclear devices. He also has the quirk of appreciating the pro-green era of modern society, which he has twisted and applied to his weapons – a nice touch of originality. Unfortunately his “you have a better shot of kidnapping the President” notoriety turns out to be laughable and he doesn’t get enough screen time, despite having a strong role.

For what they lack, these movies can often be redeemed with glorious action sequences. But The Losers has nothing very special. Although the violence isn’t gratuitous, there is a copious amount of shooting. These sequences are damaged by shaky camera movements and lots of intensified continuity editing, making it hard to see whose getting a bullet to the face. Obviously this lowers the films rating, making it accessible to young teenage boys, who will probably love it. A few explosions break up the action, but there are easily better ones out there. All in all, the action is not really there, because you’ve likely seen a more fulfilling experience elsewhere, unless you’re particularly young.

I honestly thought this film was being ironic, with the title The Losers and the characterisations in the state they were, I was expecting it to get increasingly worse until someone said “surprise, it’s intentional”. The problem is, no such event occurs and your left with a half baked action film that tries to impress you in all the wrong ways. There are some good moments I’m sure teen viewers will enjoy, but don’t expect a large adult fan base for this movie any time soon.


Suffering from a rather forced sense of “cool”, The Losers fails to impress in the character department, which needs to be stronger to make up for the standard action it provides.

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