THE LOSERS has an unfortunate lead in. The previews leading up to the showing included THE A-TEAM flick and THE EXPENDABLES, two films that share the plot line of a team of wisecracking military professionals encountering seemingly insurmountable odds to blah blah blah. We’ve heard the plot before. However, the uphill battle for THE LOSERS is its lack of the star power that the other two films will be packing this summer. A-TEAM has Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, and EXPENDABLES has so many big action names in it I giggled like a school girl when I saw the new preview on the big screen (you’ve no doubt heard who’s in the new preview), and in comparison to those names, one would assume the title would match the cast. But oh how wrong that assumption would be. What we have here is a sexy, funny, cool movie with action sequences framed as a moving comic book and characters with a closeness and loyalty that makes you want to be a part of their team as well. Simply put, THE LOSERS…wins.
We start in Bolivia, with the team about to start a mission to paint a target for a bombing run. They see a group of kids brought in for drug mule missions and the commander, a Colonel simply called Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), takes the team into the compound to save them, the first action sequence. Thanks to their deviation from the plan, Max, the government spook running their operations (Jason Patric, having a hell of a good time), kills them off in the system, abandoning them in Bolivia. In comes the mysterious Aisha (oh so sexy Zoe Saldana), with a plan to get them back in the states and to get their revenge against Max, though her motives are uncertain. Clay’s second in command, Roque (played with gravity and comedy by Idris Elba), doesn’t trust Aisha, but the conflict is a side story that builds to the climactic end action sequence which is fun and exciting, and incredibly well shot with slow motion stills that bring to mind early John Woo. Well done Mr. White.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has the talent and ability to lead this group and this movie. He is funny when he needs to be, serious as well, and his relationship with his men, especially with Roque is easy to buy into thanks to the way the two actors sell it. Chris Evans plays Jensen, the computer expert, whose given funny lines and delivers them well (be sure to pay attention after the credits for a good laugh with his character). Columbus Short is the only character given a family, but he also has funny lines and really helps me forget ARMORED and how bad that was. Zoe Saldana is sexy and cool and her fight scene with Clay is awesome to behold. Rounding out the team is Oscar Jaenada as Cougar, not given many lines but plays stoic and suave with that touch of detachment that you want in a sniper. And as the villain, Jason Patric is having a ball. He doesn’t overdo it, but still manages to be both seriously malevolent and playful as the American-flag-pin-wearing Max, to the credit of the script and to the actor.
This could be a star-making flick for these actors if more people watched it, even a continuous franchise the way they ended it. But the comic book is pretty obscure, the storyline, as I’ve said, will be seen twice more this summer, so people may not be inclined to check this out. But they will miss out on a genuinely good time at the movies. Those of you that choose to take the leap, enjoy.