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The Losers

2010 action-comedy based on the comic book published by Vertigo.

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"The Losers" Isn't Exactly A Losing Cause, But It Sure Wasn't A Winner Either

  • Apr 24, 2010

Hollywood is going to run out of comic books to adapt into the big screen at the pace it is going. I’ve never seen such persistence in bringing the comic book characters to life; pretty soon Hollywood filmmakers will have their eyes more at adapting Japanese anime with the predicted projects “Robotech” and “Cowboy Bebop”. Well, before they do run out of material from American comic books, director Sylvain White brings the Vertigo comics’ “The LOSERS” to the big screen. Please bear with me as I have NOT read one issue of the comic before I saw the movie, so forgive me if I only comment on how the film is played out and on its entertainment value.
A Black Ops unit led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Watchmen) is sent to Bolivia to take down a drug lord. The unit is made up of different individuals with different talents; Jensen (Chris Evans) is the tech guy, Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) the marksman, Roque (Idris Elba) Clay’s second in command, Pooch the pilot (Columbus Short) and they are the best at what they do. When the mission goes awry because of a betrayal from their source Max (Jason Patric), which ends with the deaths of several Bolivian kids; the group realizes that they were actually the intended target and is sent into hiding. After months in hiding, the group runs across a mysterious beautiful woman called Aisha (Zoe Saldana, Avatar) who promises them a way to get back to the States and confront their betrayer….But Aisha has a different reason for wanting Max’s head on a plate.

          Zoe Saldana as Aisha in "The Losers."

                               Columbus Short as Pooch in "The Losers."
With the film’s opening act, I knew exactly what I was in for. An overcooked, hollow characterization, a routine plot and bad dialogue that feels as if director Sylvain White is trying to emulate Michael Bay. I didn’t hate it, since I figured that maybe the comic book had this same style and mood but I guess the film’s problems doesn’t really begin with its stereotypical characters and overused concept. It begins with the manner that direction tries to establish that cartoon-like tone. You say it’s a comic book so why not? Well, my friend, comic books have long since abandoned that impression; comic books are now mature cinematic expressions of art (the good ones are anyway). White was obviously struggling with a comic book movie since his last known work was “Stomp the Yard”. The film’s editing is just terrible and really just wanted to be “showy” in the scenes. They have that ‘camp’ factor going for them but the direction just couldn’t mesh the snappy humorous banter with the action. I’m not sure, but some of the scenes were just badly timed that it killed the effect it was supposed to have.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay and Zoe Saldana as Aisha in "The Losers."  Zoe Saldana as Aisha and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay in "The Losers."
The screenplay written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt does use the same old clichés and never plays the tone sincerely. Some scenes with the supposed humor felt forced that I felt that they should’ve been funnier than they actually came off as. I did like the use of a junky car as Clay and Roque argued; and the scene when Chris Evans broke out singing the song “Don’t Stop Believing” was kind of funny. The acting was alright, but the group just fails to establish that dynamic chemistry that is needed when you have a ‘buddy’ action flick. I guess I wouldn’t be the only reviewer to say that this group kind of reminded me of television’s “The A-Team” (which is also due for a remake soon). Jason Patric seemed to know that his character is based off a comic and tries real hard to be a ‘cartoon-inspired villain”. He was alright I suppose, but there was no scene that really made him stand out. The characterization was almost none-existent except for the Aisha and Clay characters. 

             Zoe Saldana as Aisha and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay in "The Losers."

                            Zoe Saldana as Aisha and Oscar Jaenada as Cougar in "The Losers."
The action goes from alright to somewhat mediocre at some scenes. The film does try to exude that ‘cool look’ with the use of slow motion in the scenes and the usual ‘machismo-exuding’ walk while things explode in the background. There is actually one real noteworthy stunt near the film’s climax as we a see a motorcycle, a man and a jet collide with maximum impact. Zoe Saldana is her usual sexy self as she has this gun fight in her underwear looking all sexy and spunky as shown in the film’s trailer. The fight scenes are decent and fun to watch (the Clay and Aisha fight was fun to see) and it did somewhat aid the film’s pace. The love scenes in the film were pulled off in a slo-mo so there’s really nothing to see there. (no nudity but a lot of skin was in the film) It manages to put in as much PG-13 explicitness as it could.
So was “The Losers” a really bad movie? Well, it definitely gave me enough reasons not to like it but I can’t really hate it. The film is an overblown, over-stylized, overcooked aafair meant to scorch and sizzle the viewer; but it barely manages a spark. The film’s alright, since it does try keep a brisk pace that I wasn’t exactly bored with it; too bad I wasn’t exactly entertained either. Let’s put it this way, if you saw a marvelous, depressing movie like “Schindler’s List”, you would be awed and scream “Brilliant” but it isn’t something you would want to watch again and again. “The Losers” is a bad movie but I bet most guys will look at it more times on TV than Spielberg’s groundbreaking film. After all, it has Zoe Saldana and she is pretty hot; there are also times that brainless movies can be distracting.
RENTAL [ 2 ½  Stars]
HYPE LEVEL: What Hype? Save for the trailer, I didn’t hear anything about it. The Comic Book Has to be Better Than this!
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April 26, 2010
Wow... looks like the losers is a loss (haha, you see what I did there ye--oh screw you guys, I'm going offline!).

Ahem, anyway I figured this one wouldn't be worth it.  And usually I get this sort, "I have to see just how bad it's going to be," vibe, but for some reason I couldn't muster up that vibe for this one.
April 26, 2010
ha ha! Saldana and Morgan were the movie's saving grace but they just weren't enough. I was real surprised to see Ebert really like it.
April 26, 2010
lol @ "The Comic Book Has to be Better Than this!" Great review my man, like you I only caught the trailer a few times but also like you, find Zoe Saldana's curves nearly worth the price of admission in and of themselves! I'll be putting on the rental queue.
April 26, 2010
I am marrying Saldana! LOL!
April 24, 2010
Excellent review I'm thinking of seeing this with my dad tonight It looks intriguing to me I'm a die hard action fan so I'm hoping it can live up to what I expect but from the sounds of it from your review it might not.
April 24, 2010
Nice job, man. I was thinking about seeing this, but I'm saving my money (a whole $5.00) for "Toy Story 3" .There's been some mild hype here, but I think that Warner Bros. and DC / Vertigo is keeping quiet about it since they spent a ton on advertising "Watchmen" and it was only met with moderately warm reviews. I do think it's funny that the star of this film is Jeffrey Dean Morgan who played The Comedian. Talk about striking while the iron is hot. Couldn't he have found a better comic book movie than this? By the way, are you going to check out the discussion forums in the fantasy community?
April 24, 2010
yeh I will. I am actually prepping my comment on one of them; but I got diverted last night and I am taking time off from reviewing for a week in two weeks (maybe just two reviews a week or so, I dunno) since I have tons of things to do and I am itching to finish Lilith since my illustration is my ideal woman LOL! This wasn't bad if you go into the right mindset; but keep your expectations low--better as a rental. I knew you were expecting this since you updated the wiki yestereday. Morgan was ok, but Saldana stole the show IMO.
April 24, 2010
Doesn't she usually? The problem is with her is that about nine out of ten of her films are crap. She needs a better agent.
April 24, 2010
Saldana needs more exposure. Her best movie to date is AVATAR and she was only voice-acting. I have also grown a fondness for Amanda Siegfried LOL! SHe is so hot! I usually like brunettes but I'll make an exception with her.
April 24, 2010
Guess what, Nic Cage wants to be in the WITCHBLADE movie LOL!
April 24, 2010
He wants to be in every comic book movie. First he was supposed to be "Superman" in a Tim Burton film, then he was mean to play the Green Goblin but lost the role Willem Dafoe, then he was meant to be John Constantine and lost that part to Keanu Reeves, then he fucked up Johnny Blaze in the "Ghost Rider" flick. Nope, that dude needs to stay away from comic book movies, so sayeth the fans!
April 24, 2010
H e caused me to deduct a star from "Kick Ass" also. He is cancer for comic book movies.
April 24, 2010
See, I liked him in "Kick-Ass". He was just the right combination of being square and tough as nails, which made everything he did hilarious. Plus, I think Moretz gave her all because she had someone to work off of. If Cage hadn't been cast there, Moretz might not have been as good as she was.
April 24, 2010
wait till you read the comic. I bet you won't think that way about Cage's performance anymore...
April 24, 2010
Why, what's the difference between Big Daddy in the film and the books?
April 24, 2010
HUGE.  I'll send you my reading copy because I wnat you to see it!
April 24, 2010
Suh-weeet! I owe you one then. Maybe I'll get those martial arts/fantasy books to you.
April 25, 2010
Sure thing, buddy. But hold off on those books, I have so much on my plate.
April 25, 2010
Okay, that will give me time to read them again.
April 24, 2010
EXCELLENT review WP I want to see this one a lot for some reason but now I'll wait for the DVD or something.
April 24, 2010
This was alright; not exactly the worst movie but so far from being good. Seen AVATAR   and Sherlock Holmes yet? The dvds came out this week. I may even check out the new Nightmare on Elm Street movie next week...
April 24, 2010
Don't do it! If you see a Bay-produced horror movie, your body will need an enema and detox afterward, because as we all know Bay just shovels shit off the screen and throws it at the audience! ; )
April 24, 2010
I know; I'm thinking of maybe just seeing the orginal again instead. Dave79 is going to see it, hopefully he'll see it and post a review here. I still would like to warn folks though LOL! Bay movies are fun to nit pick because of the stupidity LOL!
More The Losers reviews
review by . August 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Losers Make a Decent
While watching the movie version of The Losers, the striking similarities between "The A-Team" and "The Losers" were difficult to ignore.  Both feature a rag-tag group of elite special forces teams that are trying to clear their names for crimes they didn't commit.  For fun, here is a little Wiki comparison:      The A-Team:   Lt. Col.  John "Hannibal" Smith - Their leader whose plans tend to be unorthodox but …
review by . March 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     People often get the interpretation that EVERY Hollywood action film is generic, noisy, violent, and messy to the core; all in a very bad way. I too believe such a thing, and I've seen too many bad-mediocre action flicks to be surprised when every single one around the corner turns out to be forgettable or even horridly convoluted. So out of the blue comes this little movie called "The Losers", which is based upon a comic book series of the same name. This …
review by . April 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When Alex Proyas adapted the independent comic book "The Crow" to the screen it was one of the few and the only other big comic book adaptation of the 90's. The other being the widely popular Batman films  that came out from   1992-1997(One directed by Tim Burton, two directed by Joel Schumacher.) but  since "The Crow"  massive commercial  and critical success   no other independent comic book has stepped up to the plate to fill the …
review by . April 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"The Losers" has been released on the heels of "Kick-Ass," a comic book adaptation that audiences love and will probably always prefer. That's a shame. "The Losers" is, in my view, a winner - vastly superior as an action spectacle, a comedy, a character study, and above all, a story. This means that, while it certainly revels in all manner of fun comic book violence, it also has the ambition to be about more than violence; we're engaged because we're actually being told something. I left the theater …
Quick Tip by . April 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A cool, slick and ultra stylish action comedy that works better than it should and plays better than you would expect. Sylvian White's "The Losers" is a quick witted, sharp, fast paced and extremely enjoyable action-comedy that infuses the best of both genres to create a stylish and a very cool  movie.
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Poster art for "The Losers."

(from Wikipedia)
The Losers is an upcoming action film, and an adaptation of Vertigo and DC Comics' comic book series of the same name. Directed by Sylvain White, the film features an ensemble cast that includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans. The Losers opened in America on April 23, 2010.

Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar are members of an elite United States Special Forces team sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. They attempt to abort the mission when they see children are being used as drug mules. The team, find themselves the target of a betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. With an air strike minutes away the team breach the compound and rescue the children. The team allow the children to be airlifted to safety aboard a waiting helicopter but it is destroyed by a missile intended for them. Presumed dead and without passports or money the team are stuck in Bolivia. The group makes plans to even the score when they're joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with rather sly moves. Together they track and follow the ruthless and heavily armed and guarded Max to foil his plans of transforming the world as we know it into a new high-tech global battleground. Aisha agrees to smuggle the men back into the United States if they agree to hunt down and kill Max in what she describes as essentially a suicide mission. An operation to intercept and capture Max in ...

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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: April 23, 2010
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment
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