Thursday 18 April 2013


(Sylvain White, 2010)

The Losers was released in the same year as The A-Team and The Expendables, all three of them action movies with big doses of comedy about combat units composed of larger-than-life macho personalities either betrayed or on missions or both. And while it doesn't quite have the gloriously unhinged sense of fun of Joe Carnahan's The A-Team, The Losers is a more enjoyable movie than Stallone's The Expendables. It doesn't take itself remotely seriously - not even as seriously as the comic series upon which it's based, which is a decent pastiche - and it's absolutely stuffed with dumb action movie cliches. Director Sylvain White's roots as a music video director are obvious in the hyper-kinetic ADD editing, and often quirky angles and a few laughable money-shots, but its frequently beautiful for all that, has a few really funny sequences, and a strong cast for this sort of material.
The Losers of the title all have silly macho names (so much so that Zoe Saldana's Aisha laughs when they're introduced to her and says "Really?") like Clay, Roque, Pooch, Cougar and Jensen. They have a single personality trait each - Jensen (Chris Evans) is the jokey motormouth computer whizz, Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) is the cool, deadly, near-mute cowboy hat-wearing sniper, Pooch (Columbus Short) is the down-to-earth one (he has a pregnant wife) and pilot and driver, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is the leader with a weakness for women, and Roque (Idris Elba) is the second-in-command, with a weakness for arguing with Clay. They banter and bicker in the usual cliched fashion throughout, but a lot of that is amusing, and it sets up a nice dynamic with the pyromaniac action scenes.
The plot sees this group abandoned and stuck in Latin America after a moral decision in the middle of an operation leaves them considered as enemies by their own Government. Jason Patric's villain is behind all this, of course, and he gives them something to focus on. Patric plays this character as a straight-up comic figure; theatrical, sarcastic, enjoying his own nastiness. He may be the best thing in the film.
It is nicely atmospheric in parts - location shooting certainly helps - and is entirely predictable every step of the way, but is made no less likeable for that.

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