The Losers is based on a comic book series that no one’s heard of. Hollywood must be really running out of comic books to exploit. Seriously, the Calvin & Hobbes film adaptation must be coming out any day now. The film doesn’t really expect much from its audience, which is lucky because there’s not really much that it gives.
The opening sequence sets the film up as a fun, over the top action film about immortal men, but then attempts to give weight to the story with a pre-credits tragedy. The characters, led by a partially-awake Jeffery Dean Morgan as Colonel Clay, don’t bother to merely border on cliché, instead diving straight in. There’s the funny one, the family man, the near-silent and mysterious assassin, and of course a girl for the main character to seduce played by Avatar’s Zoë Saldana. Clay is a man who can kill a man with his bare hands, yet can’t fully button a shirt. In fact the costumes of all the characters seem a little off, with the team choosing style over practicality and bulletproofness. Maybe they had already signed up for the sequel.
The film is truly enjoyable during the action set-pieces, taking the tone back to the great opening sequence, but it loses its way during the time between explosions, with the humour often falling flat. The evil Max, for whom Clay’s team of ‘losers’ seek revenge, is poorly played by Jason Patric, and the attempts to make him a completely psychopathic villain don’t suit the rest of the film. Max and his lackies are too businesslike to explain their maniacally evil deeds. Give the man a moustache to twirl, or a white cat to stroke.
Coming into the film, like most, with no knowledge about the story meant that the plot held more surprises than most films of its type, with some twists really managing to shock. While not all of the humour works, there are some great scenes between the ‘losers’, and the action always manages to bring the film back up to speed. While The Losers leaves many questions unanswered, and the answers they provide often don’t make any sense on reflection, when you’re actually in the cinema none of this matters. See it with a group of friends and enjoy the things that go boom. It will be a nice warm-up to The A-Team and The Expendables later in the year.