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The Losers

The Losers

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SPECIAL FEATURES: Zoe and the Losers; Action Style Storytelling; Band of Buddies: Ops Training; Band of Buddies: Transforming Puerto Rico; Band of Buddies: Going Deep into the Action; Deleted Scenes; Trailer and Audio Commentary with Andy Diggle and Jock.

THE Losers is yet another movie derived from a violent comic book.

Rather than taking the Kick-Ass approach to its violence, however, Sylvain White’s film tones down the violence in favour of more tongue-in-cheek revellry that lends it more of an A-Team vibe.

It works (just) in creating a fun, hip, ultra-stylish and pretty sexy comic book variation with an emphasis on pure popcorn fun.

The story picks up as a group of Special Forces soldiers complete a black ops mission in Bolivia to take out a drugs baron… only to find that the dealer in question has placed kids in the firing line and intervene to prevent them from perishing.

Far from being hailed as heroes, though, the team is framed for the subsequent blowing up of a helicopter containing the children and left for dead.

Vowing revenge, they make their way back to the States in the hope of taking on the CIA and exposing their ruthless handler, Max (Jason Patric), into the bargain.

These self-styled ‘losers’ are therefore comprised of sensitive team leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), tech geek Jensen (Chris Evans), no-nonsense demo expert Roque (Idris Elba), sharp-shooter Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) and transportation expert Pooch (Columbus Short)… as well as Zoe Saldana’s shadowy Aida… a woman with her own agenda and reasons for wanting Max taken out.

Fans of the original comics may lament the decision to tone down the violence and extremes of the source material in favour of a 12A certificate… and this does, in turn, present problems in terms of tone.

But The Losers still has plenty in its favour and is highly enjoyable in a “style over substance” kind of way.

The various nods to the graphic novel origins in terms of look are well observed, while White clearly has an eye for spectacular carnage… even if that 12A occasionally feels like a party pooper.

His cast, too, bring a great deal of charisma to each and every role, with Morgan a crediblly sensitive ladies man, Saldana smouldering her way across the screen and handling the physicality well, and Evans a plucky motor-mouth with a nice line in self-deprecating humour.

The Wire‘s Elba, meanwhile, adds some nice macho posturing and moodiness into the mix, Jaenada is a cool marksman and Patric is clearly have a whale of a time playing things deliciously OTT as Max.

The decision to set things up so brazenly for a sequel is presumptuous and deprives The Losers of a really grandstanding finish. But by then, it’s done enough to win you over and make the prospect of hooking up with them again an appealing one.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 97mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 11, 2010