Friday, April 23, 2010

The Losers

So far 2010 is turning out to be a good year for those who like action flicks, especially those based on comic books. First Kick-Ass gave us the bloodiest super-hero movie ever, and now the The Losers show up to give us a classic tale of wronged would-be-do-goers out for revenge.

Based on the Vertigo comic, the film begins with a mission gone wrong. The CIA Special Forces Team known as "The Losers" are betrayed by a their mysterious unseen handler (Jason Patric) and left for dead in the jungles of Bolivia. Months later the team is approached by yet another mysterious figure (are you sensing a pattern here?), a woman (Zoe Saldana) willing to offer them a chance to get their revenge.

The team includes Commander Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the hard-as-nails Roque (Idris Elba), the sharpshooter Cougar (Oscar Jaenada), the pilot Pooch (Columbus Short), and nerdy tech Jensen (Chris Evans - who manages to steal every scene of the movie, except perhpas those in which Zaldana takes off her clothes).

In terms of story The Losers certainly doesn't break the mold of your average action flick (hell, it barely breaks a sweat most of the time). Our villain, Max (Patric), is the super-powerful mysterious voice on the other end of the phone. Completely untouchable, totally evil, more than a little insane. The film needs a true a-hole to pull this off, and Patric is perfect casting (imagine his role from Friends and Neighbors, if he was a homicidal killer).

We've also got predictable twists and "surprising" revealations which attempt to add conflict to the plot but are neither necessary nor appreciated. When the story stays simple, good guys after the bad guy, it works well. When it tries to complicate things, the film, and the audience, suffer.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the film, I did. Even with these issues there's more than enough fun to be had. Charm, style, humor, and a sexy leading lady can cover up quite a number of issues. Thankfully, the film was cast with just enough star power, all of whom seem to realize what kind of movie they are making, to overcome most of its deficiencies.

And did I mention it's funny? For a film about a group of killers tracking down a guy to get revenge for ruining their lives and killing 25 innocent children, this film is fun. Okay, take a moment to digest that and we'll move on... Ready? One of the best scenes involves Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." It has to be seen to be believed. Chris Evans might not have convinced me he can play Captain America here, but he did prove he's perfect in this comic relief sidekick role.

Even with it's flaws The Losers is a hellova lot of fun. With just the right balance of violence, humor, sex, and cool stunts (one of which is the sickest - and most ridiculous - I've seen so far this year), this is the type of movie you can watch over and over again. It also would work perfect for a double feature with Kick-Ass if you've enough time on your hands. Far better than expected, if the upcoming A-Team movie is half as good as The Losers I'll be pretty happy.

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