The Losers

The Losers


Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall

The biggest credit one can give to The Losers is that it is honest. This is a film wearing its flaws and influences as openly as a big, bright lapel badge. Adapted from a DC Vertigo comics' series about a US special forces unit burned by the CIA, The Losers, right from the comic book panel-style opening credits introducing the main characters, is a comic book movie and nothing more.

The eponymous “Losers” are a five-man team of soldiers, led by the laconic Colonel Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Under his command are the fiery Roque (Idris Elba), requisite technical geek Jensen (Chris Evans), brooding sniper Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) and pilot and engineering expert Pooch (Columbus Short). While on a reconnaissance mission in Bolivia, the Losers go 'off the reservation' when they violate their orders to save innocent children being used as drug mules by the kingpin being targeted. Their reward for exercising their consciences is to be betrayed and almost killed by the shady and somewhat unhinged arms dealer Max, who was running their operation. Max (Jason Patric) has his hooks into the US government so deep that he might as well be the president, making the Losers mission of revenge against him a virtual suicide run that threatens to tear them apart.

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Clichéd archetypes these characters might be, but the cast playing them are immensely likeable and, most importantly, funny. Morgan and Elba in particular as the more senior and grizzled members of the team are suitably heavy presences, with Morgan already a comic book movie veteran having starred in the unremarkable Watchmen. Jason Patric appears to be acting in a different film to everyone else, so oddball is his performance as Max, which is saying a lot given this is a comic book movie. Zoe Saldana as the Losers friend/foe Aisha has little to do other than supply the eye candy in her alternating love/punch-up scenes with Morgan, which are shot and edited like very bad music videos. But even Saldana looks like she's having a great time.

There is something viscerally appealing about a group of men on a less-than-noble mission of revenge or enrichment, be it The Wild Bunch or Kelly's Heroes. With a likeable cast and enough guns, it seems possible to paper over all kind of cracks, and director Sylvain benefits from this even though stylistically his film is all over the place. There are rapid fire edits, freeze frames, and shaky shots jammed into the picture to such an extent you are almost expecting some slapstick splat! Pow! Bang! sound effects to suddenly ring out. The Losers are on a mission of revenge, but this movie is on a mission to have some outrageous fun, and that somehow makes it that much more easy to forgive.

Reviewed on: 19 May 2010
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A special forces team are out for vengeance after being left for dead by their handler.
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Director: Sylvain White

Writer: Peter Berg, James Vanderbilt, Andy Diggle

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

Year: 2010

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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