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The Losers

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

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People need to check the word "generic" one last time, before they use it to describe this film.

  • Mar 11, 2011
***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 is a film that you would expect to be hyped at Comic-con, and therefore, you'd also assume that it would suck. So I sat down and prepared to watch this film. I heard mixed things; Roger Ebert really liked it, and so did action fans. But the majority of people just didn't enjoy it. And upon finishing the thing, I think I know the problem. We live in a world where action movies such as "The Expendables" come out every week. They're boring, derivative, and unimaginative. So we don't like to watch them; I get that. We shouldn't want to watch a movie that we've seen at least a dozen times before. But take "The Losers", for example, as an action film that does just about everything that these despicable failures does; but does everything on a number of more impressive, creative levels. There's a reason why some people will enjoy the film, and there's also a surplus of reasons why a lot of people will not. If you choose to view it as merely a piece of forgettable entertainment, then yes; "The Losers" is about as noisy and violent as most action movies are nowadays. But then look at it from my perspective; a solid action film that outgrows its comic-book origins and becomes a fine film on its own right. That is what I think "The Losers" rightfully is, and I also think that it's a grand success for the action genre. Aside from "Kick-Ass", this is the closest to a true action movie get as you're going to get, as far as violent-action-movies-to-be-released-in-2010 go. It's a joyride complete with great acting, kick-ass action, and a honest heart. I have liked good action movies in the past, and this film reminds me of why I liked them. They were funny; they were violent. They were fun; they were silly but surprisingly smart when speaking of craft. "The Losers" is not generic, and it's not boring. Some will no doubt find it a clunker, but its pure fun to me. And to anyone who's tired of generic action movie-crap; it's a perfectly wholesome flick. As far as the genre goes, "The Losers" has a lot of fun without going over the top. There's plenty to enjoy in this delightfully crafty film. That is, perhaps, why I recommend it as highly as I do.

The film opens as most action films do; with an action "scene", per se. Here, the scene is sent somewhere in Bolivia where a team of five soldiers are out rescuing little Bolivian kids from their cruel captors. It's a pretty energetic opening sequence, and it makes for an energetic movie. All goes wrong in this mission when the enemy fires a missile at the helicopter containing the kids. The enemy thought that the soldiers would be on the chopper; but no dice. Anyways, the team is thought to be dead; and therefore they are stripped of their ranks as soldiers. They "return to life" for a while, and when things get boring, they're back in the game. This time, they aim to dish out vengeance in the guy that shot down the helicopter: Max. The guy is ominous and nigh untouchable, but that won't stop our heroes. Of course, they meet up with a foxy, beautiful heroine who proves very essential to their team, and decides to help them throughout most of the film's duration. It's predictable and could even be called generic, as far as action stories go. But action films are not about stories; they are about thrills, characters, humor, and yes, a lot of action. "The Losers" delivered what most other action films could not; consistent entertainment. The movie is nice mix of humor, intensity, and raw silliness. I felt good watching it, and it's much better than it probably needs to be. The thing excels in many things. It works as a comedy. It works as an action movie. It works as a thriller. And then it works, at moments, as a drama. That's not to say that "The Losers" abandons its genuine awesomeness for some emotional moments; I'm just stating a fact. Take my word for it; this film is not one you want to skip. It's one of the best action movies of that year, and it's a modern classic in the making. Seldom are action movies as well-made as this one. It really grows on you, if you let it sit.

I tell you, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is really starting to grow on me. Ever since "Watchmen", the guy has been landing good, comic roles such as this one here. He's known as a guy from "Gray's Anatomy", but I know him even better as The Comedian. And now, he's playing the same kind of darkly humorous, endearingly giddy sort of guy. He was born to fill this role with such passion and humor. And it's not often that a talented actor like Morgan can be accompanied by such an equally as talented supporting cast. The beautiful Zoe Saldana (who we all know from "Avatar") is the female hero/villain/who-knows. She, like Morgan, is talented. Sometimes she doesn't show it that well, but I admittedly admire her work here. Columbus Short also does pretty well as his character, while Oscar Jaenada plays a silent-but-deadly sort of killer. Then you've got your villain, who is played by none other than Jason Patric of "The Lost Boys" fame. But who really steals the show here is Chris Evans, who was also in 2010's "Scott Pilgrim" as a cheesy-funny, hilariously campy and generic movie star. Here, he's still funny, charming, and surprisingly more talented than I thought he was. It's not everyday that a so-so actor such as Evans grabs a role as good as this, but man; it's good that he got the part. He delivers one of the best one liners in the entire film, which is, if you were wondering: "That's right, bitches. I've got a crossbow." Brilliant!

Action movies go horribly wrong since they are often meant to be mindless, stupid, and "fun". But the truth is; few of them ARE fun. But "The Losers" sure is. The reason why it is fun; it actually had me hooked for quite a while. The thing should have, by all means, been a generic action flick. But it packs a surprising hell of a sucker punch; and some won't be prepared for the sheer awesomeness that it delivers. I won't be one to say that you'll love "The Losers". I have my doubts that many people reading this review will. But if you do like it; then I'd be interested to hear why. Action fans will like it for being a fun action movie; while those like me will applaud it for its craft in many different departments. The thing is very well-shot, admittedly, and the action scenes are literally flowing with the kind of tension that I wish I could see every day. This movie is fun, and has a good actiony atmosphere for the kind of fun that it intends on delivering. It will please those who it was made for, and perhaps, even some more people as well. I like the stylish elements; the typography that appears everywhere that our "losers" go, as well as the supremely-charged action sequences. This was intense; and best of all, it was fun. The cast makes the thing funny and smart as far as silliness goes. It's a well-handled movie, which is surprising considering it came from the guy who made "Stomp the Yard". Something tells me that this film is well-directed; but a winner for many other things other than direction. I would personally recommend the film, by all means. But don't say that I didn't warn you; this film is just plain fun. But it has substance, and it redeems itself. It's a nice little American action classic; but perhaps one that is to belong with a select number of viewers.

So how shall I describe my admiration for this film? Did I enjoy it simply because I admired it for being better than pretty much all modern action films to be released in 2010? That's part of why I liked it. But "The Losers" is well-made, well-acted, and the action scenes are very well-staged. Sure, it has explosions. But it's also got the kind of ridiculous PG-13 level violence that I've missed for quite some time. If only more action movies could be this riotous and of course, this good. It's kind of strange that a director can take a comic as lesser known as "The Losers" and make a damn fine movie out of it. I'm not one for comic book movies; and I hate nigh everything that gets over-hyped at Comic-Con. But this is the kind of film that has enough payoff to satisfy, and enough wit to thoroughly entertain. Again, not all will like it. But if you can see pasts its intentional silliness, you may see that this is a good movie at heart. I sure enjoyed myself. I enjoyed myself a lot. It's the kind of old-school action movie that you wouldn't see coming. It's made better because it's way better than it should be. If you want specifics, then I'd say it's about...ten times better than it should rightfully be. Me, I can't complain. But that doesn't meant that complainers don't exist. Most of them will be fanboys who never wanted to see "The Losers" become a film. And then some will whine about it being "just another generic action flick". It's not generic. It's funny, entertaining, and works as a killer-awesome movie overall. You could even call it engaging. And if you're asking, then I'll tell you up front that this is not art; and it doesn't want to be. But it's essentially perfect as far as action movies go. Not all movies need to be artistic. Some movies are masterpieces of their genre. "The Losers" is the second "kick-ass" action movie of 2010, and it's a real winner. I say see it; some people will tell you to skip it. My advice is to take your pick and stick with it. But my opinion will forevermore stay the same.

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March 11, 2011
I actually loved this movie and I am glad you liked it as well, great review.
March 14, 2011
great review, Ryan!
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 . April 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   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 …
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.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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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