Old 05-05-2010, 04:01 PM
Sylvain White's The Losers

Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:



The Losers (2010)

Sylvain White's "The Losers" is the most entertaining film of the year so far. It's loud, full of explosions, and contains 2-D characters, but none of that ends up mattering due to its sheer entertainment value. Sadly, most critics have been seeing these traits as a bad thing, but that's because they're missing the point of a movie like this. The filmmakers know, like the audience knows, that no Oscars will be coming its way. It's here merely to give you one heck of a ride.

The story focuses on a group of military specialists: Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada). This team goes all over the world to carry out dangerous missions that usually involve taking out the bad guys. As the film opens, the team is in the Bolivian jungle to stop a drug dealer. They give the go ahead for the dealer's headquarters to be bombed, but shortly after, they notice that there are several children present.

They try to cancel the bombing order, but a mysterious voice on their radio, calling himself Max (Jason Patric), jams their transmissions, leaving them with only one option: saving the kids themselves. After doing so, they load the kids onto a rescue chopper, only for it to be shot down on Max's orders. The team was supposed to be on the chopper as well, but there was not enough room for the kids and for them. Now they are presumed dead and stuck in Bolivia with no way to get back to the states.

Enter a young woman, Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who also wants revenge on the mysterious Max and has a way for the team to return to the states. Meanwhile, Max sets his plan into motion which involves acquiring special nuclear devices in order to start a war. Once back in the states, Aisha and the team must track down Max and stop him before he is able to carry out his plan.

I was actually a bit hesitant to see this film mainly because it had been slammed as another loud, obnoxious action flick. Yet, there were a few people who spoke out, saying how much fun and how much of a rush it was. The trailers weren't exactly making a good impression on the film as it made the film look like what the critics were saying. However, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that those few people pushing the fun factor were more accurate.

This is one of those movies where you shouldn't expect too much from the plot, or from the dialogue. In fact, the dialogue never ends up getting much smarter than "I don't want to hurt you," "You're not going to hurt me," "Oh yes I am." However, White directs the film with a great stylish fashion that makes the most out of this comic-turned-live-action flick.

Each of these characters is given just enough personality to keep the audience engaged. These five guys just want their lives back and are willing to do anything to get it. Two of them even have family to consider. Jensen has a niece on a soccer team while Pooch has a pregnant wife who's very close to giving birth. Aisha has her own motives, which are revealed much later in the film.

Then there's Max. Jason Patric plays him in a very peculiar manner. He doesn't seem like a particularly bad guy on first observation, but in action, he reveals his true self. He actually provides a lot of the film's comic relief as he banters with his right hand man, Wade (Holt McCallany). Strangely enough, he comes pretty close to being a villain right out of the James Bond series. In fact, with a little tweaking, this could have possibly been a Bond film, but that's not what this movie is going for.

The ending shows just how silly this film is willing to get. It, of course, all comes down to a big climactic showdown where bullets go flying, people get shot, and things randomly explode. There was one little thing that bugged me about the climax, which would be spoilerish to discuss, but I was laughing too much at all the absurdities to care.

So, if you're a fan of action movies with a good story, then you'll probably thoroughly enjoy this. If you're going to nitpick at the unimportant details for a film of this type, then it's definitely not for you. "The Losers" was made with one purpose in mind, to simply entertain, and while it may not be a great movie of substance, it certainly fulfills its purpose oh so very well. 3.5/4 stars.

Last edited by Hal2001; 05-05-2010 at 05:48 PM..
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