The Losers was a film overlooked by most. Granted, it’s not a great film by any means, but it is entertaining. It has flaws (many flaws) but it does one thing very well: provides a fun, action-packed and, at times, truly funny experience. Despite its all-too-short runtime of 90 minutes, the film is well worth the watch.
Revolving around five soldiers who are betrayed while on on a mission in Bolivia by a mysterious man named Max (Jason Patric), the team of soldiers, led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), decide that they should fake their deaths and take revenge.
The crew is made up of the aforementioned Clay, Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada). Also along for the ride is Aisha, played by the always stunning Zoe Saldana. Along with providing eye candy, she also joins the team in their hunt for Max.
The story is pretty thin. At only 90 minutes there really isn’t much depth here. Everything moves so fast and nothing really seems to add up. Motives aren’t fully fleshed out and characters are never completely understood. It’s all pretty flimsy and some more depth and background would have been much appreciated.
Max kind of just appears out of nowhere and we literally know next to nothing about him. The Losers themselves are given a motive but we don’t know much about them as individuals. The story moves from one point to another so quickly that it really just gives you the bare minimums, just one layer and it doesn’t go any deeper.
Generic is written all over the plot and the storyline is completely throwaway. The perfunctory scenes that do serve to further character development are nothing more than a futile effort.
Morgan and Elba are the strongest in terms of the performances. Patric is far too campy as the villain and the rest of the cast don’t offer much. Evans and Short have a few funny lines but are fairly flat aside from that. Morgan gives his best Clive Owen/Daniel Craig mashup as the suave and confident leader, offering a respectable performance. Elba is also very solid in his role. The man’s been under-appreciated for far too long. For anyone who has seen HBO’s The Wire you know what Elba is capable of. He’s an all-around great actor who always gives a good performance. He plays his role with an intensity that isn’t found in the rest of the cast
Patric, if anything, reminds us that the film isn’t taking itself seriously. Way over the top would be an understatement to describe his role. He’s straight-up ridiculous at times but it all plays into the film’s campy and silly groove.
The action found here is a more visceral action, much in the style of a Tony Scott film. It’s in your face and engaging. Slow motion, jump cuts, grand explosions, physics defying stunts and heavy gun power will surely get your testosterone flowing. The fancy editing techniques and stylish camerawork give the film a hyperkinetic feeling.
Director Sylvian White has a knack for visual flair, there’s no doubt about that. He creates a momentum and energy that drives the film forward. Booms, bangs, zips, and bams fill the movie as we see our heroes consistently going into battle only to come out unscathed.
Cinematographer Scott Kevan keeps the film looking slick as he fills the movie with bright and saturated photography. Mixed in with White’s kinetic action it all makes for a visually pleasing experience. The PG-13 rating does put too heavy of a restraint on the film and the film could have benefited greatly from an R rating. Some scenes felt like they wanted to ramp up the violence but couldn’t because of the rating.
Oh, and of course, what’s an action film without some Journey music. The song “Don’t Stop Believing” shows up a few times in the film and each time it appears it’s cheesier than the last.
Much like the whole of the movie. It’s predictable, cheesy, generic and silly but it’s one hell of a fun ride and not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.
The transfer for The Losers is superb on all fronts. The extremely stylized pictures is brought to life on screen with bright and vibrant colours. There are quite a few filters applied but the film bursts with style. The picture is crisp and well defined with sharp edges and deep blacks. Fleshtones falter in a couple scenes, smearing is apparent in a couple of instances and sometimes the vivid colors are a bit overdone but aside from that, this picture looks great. There isn’t any noticeable softness or any other issues and this really looks like a comic book brought to life. The director’s visual flair and the great cinematography really add a lot to the visuals of this flim.
The audio is equally as good. It provides a pretty immersive experience. The surround sound provides great ambient noises and dialogue comes off as crisp and clear. A couple lines get lost in firefights but aside from that everything is fine. Whether its helicopter blades, machine guns, explosions or music, everything comes out sounding great. Bullets whiz by and grenades provide a nice deep rumble when they explode. The audio mix is great and throughout the movie we get to see some awesome directionality and a nice workout for the bass.
The special features here are mediocre at best. We get a few deleted scenes which don’t add a whole lot and then there are a couple featurettes. Zoe and The Losers focus on Saldana and her role in the film. Action Style Storytelling tells us about the artists behind the comic book and their inspiration for the series. The next feature we get is called Band of Buddies: Ops Training. This is made up of three parts that look at different aspects of making the film. It talks about things like the Puerto Rico shoot, some of the action sequences etc. It’s all pretty standard stuff. Finally we get sneak peek at Batman: Under the Red Hood.
At the end of the day, call it what you want but The Losers is a fun film. Although it has flaws, it is still quite entertaining and would make for a very enjoyable watch. Despite the somewhat lame special features, the disc still shines due to the fantastic transfer that really brings this visually appealing picture to life. I’d say forsure give this film a rent at the very least.
Bottom Line: Definitley give it a rent, and if you’re one who respects an awesome Blu transfer and some fun, pure entertainment, I’d say give it a purchase.
Movie – 7/10
Video – 9.5/10
Audio – 9/10
Extras – 5/10
Have you seen The Losers? Will you?
Since any New York cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely […]
Latest posts from The Film Stage