Jen Yamato
The Losers Review

Jen's Rating:

3.5

Mercenaries just want to have fun.

Who's In It: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Columbus Short, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Jason Patric, Oscar Jaenada

The Basics: When a team of lethal CIA mercenaries nicknamed "The Losers" is double-crossed and left for dead in the Bolivian jungle by a shadowy spook named Max, they're understandably more than a little pissed. But what really sets them off on a globe-trotting mission for vengeance is the helicopter full of little children that Max mistakenly-but-kind-of-on-purpose blows up, which shakes the manly men to the core. With the help of a beautiful but volatile lady warrior named Aisha (Zoe Saldana), the Losers make their way back to America in order to stop Max from carrying out a villainous plot to arm terrorists and start a world war on behalf of the US of A, leaving a righteous trail of broken bad guy bodies in their wake.

What's The Deal: Filmed in vibrant colors and packing raucous action set pieces and a seriously funny sense of humor, The Losers looks and feels like a film version of the original Vertigo comic book, which itself paid homage to the violent, muscular, and perhaps most importantly, fun action flicks of the '80s and '90s. Director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) uses his slick visual sense to paint the Losers' origin story, as adapted by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and James Vanderbilt (The Rundown) with a few minor changes that might irk fans of the comics. Thanks to excellent casting, the ragtag band of mercenary heroes are brought to life and fleshed out beyond their one-dimensional character quirks, creating a group chemistry that keeps engaging the audience's interest even as the plot meanders from one action movie trope to another.

Jason Patric: Evil Genius, Or Not Evil Enough? As Max, the eccentric multi-billionaire villain with ties to the U.S. government, Jason Patric looks the part outfitted in designer suits, a vacant smile, and a single eccentric glove. Some may rave about his off-kilter performance because it's so quirky -- Max bickers with his second in command, shoots an employee when she fails to keep his peepers in the shade a la Farnsworth Bentley, cracks racist jokes to group of Indian tech workers so offensive even they're like, "Did he really just say that?" -- but he's not quite off-kilter enough to fill the shoes of the cheesy megalomaniacal movie villains that have come before. Plainly put, Patric's evil eccentricity feels disappointingly forced, and his Max isn't quite big enough a foil for this tale of high-charging, testosterone-laden action adventure.

On The Subject Of Actresses Fighting In Their Underwear: If you've seen the previews for The Losers, then you probably already know that at some point -- okay, a couple of times -- you're going to see Zoe Saldana throwing punches, shooting guns, and dodging bullets while scantily clad. At first, the feminist in me objected to such a thing. And then, as Saldana went pound-for-pound with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a sweaty, sexy fight that literally sets a Bolivian hotel room on fire, and later when she runs from a barrage of bullets and flying glass shards by diving into a bathtub with a pistol in each hand wearing only her skivvies, I realized that seeing ladies running around in their undergarments will always be awesome if said ladies are bad-ass chicks, which Zoe Saldana's Aisha most definitely is. Suck on that logic, haters!

Subtract Points For Silly Movie Science Including: Max's dastardly plan to frame terrorist groups for attacks on U.S. soil, which concern high tech weapons called "snukes," or sonic dematerializers. They're like bombs that make bodies of land vanish into thin air, or as we see in one scene, make entire islands disappear. (If they had these on LOST, the agonizingly drawn-out final season would be way shorter.)

Add Points For Hilarious Supporting Turns By: Our future Captain America (and two-time Human Torch) Chris Evans, as the ironic T-shirt-wearing nerdy hacker of the bunch, Jensen, who gives the most entertaining rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" since the singing nerds on Glee. Also, Columbus Short, whose comic talents are put to good use as Pooch, the Losers' wisecracking transportation expert. (For great drama and dancing from Short, check out his previous collaboration with Sylvain White, Stomp the Yard.)

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