A nother graphic novel comes to life
That ho-hum feeling sets in early on as the story of The Losers plays out before audiences. The crack team of special ops soldiers led by the dashing Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) featuring the hunky geek (Chris Evans), the hard-nosed second-in-command (Idris Elba), the transportation specialist (Columbus Short), and the quiet sharpshooter (Oscar Jaenada), finds itself on the wrong side of an assignment that was supposed to end with them six feet under. They, of course, escape, a helicopter of children die in their place and the guys are on the hunt for the devious (and deliciously funny) Max (Jason Patric), the evil mastermind behind a scheme to change the global picture with a next generation weapon of mass (although quite eco-friendly) destruction.
No such story would ever be complete without the presence of a femme fatale and The Losers has Zoe Saldana, extending her streak of hot It-Girl action roles, as a kick-ass rogue, also on the hunt for Max, for much more personal reasons.
The Losers, based on the graphic novel characters of Andy Diggle and directed by Sylvain White, has a screenplay by James Vanderbilt (Basic, The Rundown) and actor-director Peter Berg (The Rundown, The Kingdom). It is the partnership of Vanderbilt and Berg that seems to dominate the proceedings and matches up stylistically with the slam-bam comic book aesthetic. The pair understands how to string together a series of action set-pieces with just enough narrative connective tissue to bring the results to life.
Nothing here is going to revolutionize the genre, but the movie exploits all of the familiar tropes and reconfigures a collection of film references like The A-Team, any late model Tony Scott project, and even some rather hilarious James Bond nods into an entertainingly lightweight exercise. Chief among the selling points would be Patric, an under-utilized comic performer with great timing and panache and Evans, the Human Torch (the highlight of the underwhelming Fantastic Four movies) who would be Captain America. Evans has proven to be a likeable and surprisingly relatable young action stud, and he continues to shine here because he’s the only actor able to invest his Loser with any personality. Some smart YouTuber will likely cut a version of this film with the best bits from Patric and Evans and create a sensational three-minute comedic riot. Until then, audiences will have to settle for the full-length edition of The Losers. Forget winners and losers. Let’s call it a draw.
The Losers will be shown at Cinema de Lux 14: The Greene, Showcase Dayton South and more