Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Losers is Just Not Good

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 68 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Losers (2010)
Running time: 97 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, a scene of sensuality and language
DIRECTOR: Sylvain White
WRITERS: Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt (based upon the comic book series written by Andy Diggle and illustrated by Jock and published by DC Comics/Vertigo)
PRODUCERS: Kerry Foster, Akiva Goldsman, and Joel Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Scott Kevan
EDITOR: David Checel

COMIC BOOK/ACTION/MILITARY

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Jason Patric, and Holt McCallany

The film, X-Men, which debuted in 2000, is seen as the film that began the current wave of superhero movies. In the 10 years since X-Men’s debut, the worst movie based upon a comic book that I have seen was The Punisher in 2004.

The Losers, a military-style action thriller which hit theatres this past April, is based upon a comic book of the same name. The Losers was published by DC Comics under its Vertigo imprint for 32 issues from 2003 to 2006. Written and created by Andy Diggle and drawn by the artist Jock (the British comics artist, Mark Simpson), the series followed a Special Forces team tied to the CIA and later betrayed by their CIA handler, Max.

The Losers is the worst comic book movie I’ve seen since The Punisher. The movie introduces an elite U.S. Special Forces unit sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search-and-destroy mission. The team is led by Franklin Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and includes William Roque (Idris Elba), Jake Jensen (Chris Evans), Linwood “Pooch” Porteous (Columbus Short) and Carlos “Cougar” Alvarez (Oscar Jaenada).

Despite a few surprises, the mission goes well until Clay and company are betrayed by their commander, Max (Jason Patric), a man whom they’ve never met. Presumed dead, the men struggle to make enough money to return to the U.S., but Clay is approached by Aisha (Zoe Saldana), a beautiful operative who offers to help them get home. Her price is what amounts to a suicide mission – kill the heavily-guarded Max. Meanwhile, Max is plotting to embroil the world in a global war by launching an environmentally-friendly bomb with the power of a nuclear weapon. But some of the people on this mission are also hiding secrets and plotting betrayal.

Like many current action movies, The Losers is slickly produced and offers plenty of flashy visuals, but it feels clunky and moves with an awkward gait, like a kid whose legs and feet are growing faster than he can adjust to them. In fact, for all the fast moving The Losers does, there is no sense of urgency in the characters. This is a guy movie about a band of guys (and one girl) who kick ass, but they just aren’t very interesting. Also, as Clay, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is just not cut out to be the lead in a movie.

Early in the film, Clay and his unit are supposedly desperate to go home, but don’t really seem to be doing much to get back. The entire bomb sub-plot just doesn’t have that ticking-time-bomb sense of urgency that films about bombs have (like the hugely underrated The Peacemaker from 1997). There is really only one truly cool moment here, and that is when Chris Evans’ Jake Jensen breaks into Goliath Worldwide Headquarters. The scene is so funny that it seems out of place with the rest of this sluggish movie.

Here, even the witty banter that is standard for a standard action flick is lame. Director Sylvain White, who used his flashy style to make Stomp the Yard feel so electric three years earlier, seems to know what he wants to do with The Losers. He simply made movie that makes it seem as if he didn’t know what he was doing. With The Losers, the viewer is the real loser.

2 of 10
D

Thursday, August 19, 2010


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