Hollywood ran out of ideas years ago. Movies, a medium heralded for originality and inventiveness, have lost those trademark qualities. The latest craze is to snatch up the rights to as many comic book series as they can and pump them out before the novelty of watching our favorite superheroes onscreen fades away. So what do you do when you run out of your Batmans and Supermans and Iron Mans? You reach way down and bring forth a property nobody has ever heard of or cares about. Such is the case with The Losers.
The Losers (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada) are a ragtag group of men, soldiers who fight for what’s right, and at the outset of the film they find themselves in Bolivia targeting a man who they think is up to no good. They order an air strike, but then they see a group of 25 children being escorted into the area. They have eight minutes until the bomb drops, so they do what they do best and head down quickly to save the kids. When their rescue helicopter arrives, there isn’t enough room for both them and the kids, so they decide to stay behind and let the children go to safety, but then a rocket comes out of nowhere and blows them all up. It was meant for them, so they fake their deaths and find themselves stuck overseas with no way home. That is until a sexy woman named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) makes a deal with them: she will get them home in exchange for their help in killing Max (Jason Patric). As it turns out, Max is responsible for the helicopter explosion intended for them, so they agree.
The story of The Losers isn’t a case where some issues needed to be resolved because its issue is that the story isn’t even really there. So much is left unexplained that you never truly get a grasp on the situation at hand. Who is Max, really? Is he CIA? Is he working for a corrupt government? Or is he merely an every day evildoer carrying out his own diabolical plan? The former is alluded to, but the latter seemed more applicable given the information shown.
Max wants a highly dangerous weapon that is capable of disintegrating anything in its wake, known only as the snuke, but why? Is the government trying to start a war and the film is trying to make some allegory to current times? I don’t give it that much credit. At its core, it’s another silly comic book adaptation that delivers sporadic thrills and thinks it is way cooler than it really is. For every amusing one liner, there were five terrible jokes carried by its too-cool-for-school hipster attitude.
The only person in the entire film that seems to be having any fun with his character is Jason Patric. He’s one of those seemingly non-threatening bad guys who get by not on their brute strength or keen intellect, but by their cold, soulless disregard for human life, as seen by his brutal (yet hilarious) killing of a woman shading him with an umbrella who, thanks to a sudden burst of wind, accidentally allows the sun to reach his skin.
As far as the actual filmmaking process outside of the performances and poor script development goes, it’s an uneven blend of awesome action and excruciatingly boring exposition. The film opens and ends with a bang, but everything in between fizzles due to a lack of cohesion.
It would be an easy joke to say that The Losers loses, but it’s just not that simple. The movie is neither excellent nor tedious. It’s merely tolerable. Maybe it’s the fact that my expectations going in were low, but it worked for me despite some significant problems and it’s just fun enough to recommend.
The Losers receives 2.5/5