The Losers starts off with a laugh-inducing, somewhat jaw-dropping beginning that is guaranteed to take some steam out of the upcoming A-Team movie. Based on a DC comic book from the '70s written by Andy Diggle, and illustrated by Jock, I thought I might hate this cartoonish, nonstop action movie, but I have to admit that it's actually pretty darn amusing.
The film features a bunch of Predator-gone-turbo mercenary types shooting things to smithereens, blowing tons of stuff up and punching the crap out of everyone in their path (including each other). On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, the commandos find themselves betrayed by a powerful enemy known only as Max (Jason Patric). The team head honcho Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), computer-tech geek Jensen (Chris Evans), big-knife-wielding Roque (Idris Elba), getaway driver Pooch (Columbus Short) and super sniper Cougar (Ã"scar Jaenada) are presumed dead and then surreptitiously hired by a mysterious sexpot operative named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who has her own agenda. Their mission, if they choose to accept it, is to hunt down their enemy, exact revenge and regain their status among the living. Meanwhile the ruthless villain Max is hell-bent on enmeshing the world in a new high-tech global war. Losers then becomes a not-so-confusing tale of double cross and payback.
The screenplay, by Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), keeps the wisecracking dialogue quick and choppy. French director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard and I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) keeps things moving at breakneck speed, throwing camera shots from every angle, using different film stock, super fast editing, hand-held camera and enough pans and zooms to make you dizzy. The movie moves to Dubai, Mumbai, Miami, New Mexico and Los Angeles yet it never really matters where they are because it's all about how funny and over the top the next shoot-out, punch-fest or blow-shit-up scene will be.
The good news about Losers is that the chemistry among the characters stays engaging. Looking like Robert Downey, Jr. meets Javier Bardem, Morgan plays the sensitive yet gruff Colonel with all the right gravitas. Elba does steely no nonsense with ease. Evans' character quirkiness wears thin, and he has more wardrobe changes than you'd see on a Victoria Secret catwalk. Patric has too much fun elaborating on Max's smarmy evilness. His villainous take on the CEO with the Michael Jackson glove is reminiscent of a skanky Bradford Dillman.
Colorful, quick and witty, the banter is well timed, but eventually runs out of freshness. There are more "you better kill me now or else" kind of lines in this thing than you can shake a fiery exploding jet at.
My real gripe was the use of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." Not only did that song end The Sopranos, but The Losers also chose to stop the song exactly where that exalted series did. That's sacrilege.
Even though Losers has gaps and gets sappy, it still holds your attention. With the "seen-it-coming-a-mile-away" twists and a silly ending hinting at a sequel, this is the definitive version of how comic books should translate onto the big screen: wacky characters without explanation, an insane plot devoid of a lick of sense, the right dose of humor, and good clean mindless action that doesn't let up. Entertaining and stupid at the same time Losers condenses all the right amount of fun.
Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Jason Patric, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, Columbis Short, Ã"scar Jaenada
Directed by Sylvain White. Rated R.