Directed by: Sylvain White
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Jason Patric, Holt McCallany
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, a scene of sensuality and language.
Sometimes you sit down to watch a movie and it’s like sitting down to a burger and fries from your favorite fast-food joint. It’s not nutritious. It’s not going to surprise you with subtle flavors. It’s going to taste like every other burger you’ve had there, and that is why your mouth waters for it.
“The Losers” is like that. I was muttering the dialogue under my breath ahead of the characters sometimes, and laughing at wildly inappropriate things because I was so delighted at how precisely it fulfilled my expectations. When the heroes let the children they just rescued from a drug lord get on their helicopter, I just knew that helicopter was going down. It did, of course, because Our Heroes annoyed a supervillain who wears one glove and shoots his umbrella handlers when they don’t keep a good grip on his umbrella.
So our heroes, a team of walking-stereotype black-ops specialists, find themselves presumed dead and stuck in Bolivia. Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the gruff leader whose weakness is volatile women, wants to find a way to get back at Max (Jason Patric), the crazed genius who set them up. His men are Jensen (Chris Evans), the mouthy computer genius of the team; Cougar (Oscar Jaenada), the strong, silent sniper; Roque (Idris Elba), the knife-wielding demolitions expert; and Pooch (Columbus Short), the driver and heavy weapons man.
No action movie is complete without a beautiful, mysterious woman, and Aisha (Zoe Saldana) fits the bill perfectly. She’s improbably thin, absolutely gorgeous, and a nigh-invincible fighter, able to hold her own in hand-to-hand combat against Clay (which is basically foreplay, of course. Their first date results in the hotel being burned down, and that’s before they actually fall into bed together). She has access to vast amounts of money, lots of power, and wants to fund Our Heroes so they can take down Max.
Along the way to that final showdown between Clay and Max there are lots of gunfights, some PG-13 sexy scenes, and lots and lots and lots of one-liners. Most of them belong to Jensen, who manages to be the team’s computer nerd in spite of being just as muscly and good with weapons as the rest of the team. He proudly wears a violently pink shirt to support his niece’s soccer team (“Go Petunias!” is his battle cry at one point) even while in hiding, and steals just about every scene he’s in if only through sheer ridiculousness.
Just about everything in “The Losers” is distilled action flick perfection. It’s a bit heavier on the choppy editing and Woo-style slow motion than some folks may like, but the script and acting are spot-on hilariously awesome. This is not an intellectually stimulating film. This is not a film full of subtlety and brilliantly-crafted puzzles. This is a film which includes a motorcycle on fire crashing into a plane and making it explode.
If that last sentence makes you exclaim “awesome!” then “The Losers” is your kind of movie. Don’t miss it! If, on the other hand, it makes you roll your eyes, stay away.