The Losers
dir Sylvain White
scr Peter Berg, James Vanderbilt
prd Kerry Foster, Akiva Goldsman, Joel Silver
with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Jason Patric, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Holt McCallany, Peter Macdissi, Peter Francis James, Tanee McCall, Ernesto Morales
release US 23.Apr.10, UK 28.May.10
10/US Warner 1h38
The Losers
The B-Team: Evans, Morgan, Short, Elba and Jaenada

morgan saldana patric
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Losers Raucous and colourful, this comical action flick should be great fun, but a lack of plot or character development keep it from coming together. And it's not actually that funny or exciting.

On a mission in Bolivia, a five-man black-ops team is betrayed by their power-mad CIA boss Max (Patric) and left for dead. But they embark on a mission to get revenge and clear their names, with Clay (Morgan) leading techie Jensen (Evans), demolition expert Roque (Elba), driver-pilot Pooch (Short) and sniper Cougar (Jaenada). They also enlist the help of a sexy-but-shady woman (Saldana) as they track Max and his vile henchman (McCallany) from Miami to Los Angeles and try to stop his nefarious Bond-like plan.

The best thing about this film is that the characters never take anything seriously. If only the same could be said about the filmmakers. Not only is the movie infused with seedy misogyny (Saldana's main job is to squeeze into tiny shorts), but the set piece are Michael Bay-style bombast. But even with all of the freewheeling mayhem and character details, the film just isn't much fun.

The actors work like mercenaries to mine the script for sardonic touches. Elba has the most charismatic screen presence, while Morgan is a solid team leader (even if his romantic subplot feels lifeless). The scene-stealer is Evans in the liveliest role as the cute, quick-thinking nerd (although where he finds a clean t-shirt each day is anyone's guess). Patric is clearly trying to channel Johnny Depp to chomp on any scenery available, but Max is too paper-thin for this to amount to much.

In other words, there's not much here. For all the talk about terrorist plots, family values and gross injustice, the film is just an excuse to blow things up. At least it's never dull, which means it'll probably do well at the box office, and possibly spawn a sequel (The A-Team notwithstanding). But there's a disturbingly pernicious streak in the way the filmmakers pretend that mass, cold-blooded murder isn't so bad by cutting away from the constant brutality. That the MPAA gave this a PG-13 is truly disgusting.

cert pg themes, strong violence, language 19.Apr.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall