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The Losers Is Just A Bit Too Low On Fun

The Losers
Directed by Sylvain White
Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt based on the comic by Andy Diggle
Warner Bros., 2010

The Losers is, essentially, The A-Team (also coming to a theatre near you in June).  We have an eclectic group of military guys who are framed for a war crime, and they have to lie low until they can clear their names, and maybe take a job or two that will keep them afloat for awhile.  The trailer for this promised a kind of black-ops Ocean’s Eleven, and we get that in some part, but not nearly enough.

Leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), his friend and right-hand man Roque (Idris Elba), vehicle-guy Pooch (Columbus Short), tech-guy Jensen (Chris Evans), weapons-expert Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) are on a mission to blow away a drug lord in Bolivia when they notice the drug lords are using kids as mules.  Clay wants to call off an air strike, but their boss Sam (later to be revealed as Jason Patric) informs him that the bombing will be carried out as planned, so the team goes and tries to save the kids before they’re wiped out.  Unfortunately, even though they are successful, the kids are killed later anyway, and yes, the team is blamed.

So they hide out in Miami for awhile, looking for money to help them sustain, while trying to get a lead on who and where Sam is.  This seems to be Clay’s thing, an obsession for revenge, and it’s beginning to wear on Roque.  But an alluring badass by the name of Aisha (rising star Zoe Saldana) tells Clay she knows how to find him.  So, she sets up missions for them to go on, they not knowing if they can trust her or not, and the situation gets more complicated as Aisha and Clay start sleeping together.

Meanwhile, Sam is very elusive.  Every time we see him he’s in a new locale.  He’s very rich and very evil, and clearly the movie is stolen by Jason Patric, who plays Sam with an I-just-got-here-let’s-do-this-thing kind of attitude.  Sam is a sociopath, and Patric plays that to full comedic effect.  In contrast, the team of military guys are all defined by either their jobs or by character quirk.  Cougar, he’s so good with guns…that’s his character.  The likable Chris Evans plays Jensen exactly as he played Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four movies, which is OK but has become a little tiresome.

Had this movie spent a little more time on the characters, and made this a little more like Ocean’s in plotting and over-the-top fun, this would have been a winner.  It just misses, it’s right there on the verge, but doesn’t quite make it.

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