What aims to get a jump on the summer’s team mercenary movies, THE LOSERS ends up a pretty dim-witted attempt at comic book military non-sense.
With THE A-TEAM slated for release on June 11th and THE EXPENDABLES unloading in mid-August, THE LOSERS will simply get lost in the hail of pointless macho gun-fights that dominate most of the summer offerings. With a story that insults its target audience, THE LOSERS finds limited success in fits and starts with attractive actors inhabiting dumb characters and at least one fun action sequence.
The story here involves a team of special-forces soldiers that are double crossed while carrying out a covert mission in Bolivia. After languishing in that central south American country, the team, led by Colonel Clay (WATCHMEN”s Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is hired by the mysterious Aisha (AVATAR’s Zoe Saldana) to hunt down and capture the super-agent Max (quirky and super-talented Jason Patric) who betrayed them in Bolivia. This leads to a series of ridiculous action sequences that often end up badly.
The characters are so poorly crafted that audiences will find it tough to invest any level of emotion in them. This is one of the difficulties with multi-character ensemble narratives. With a cast this big and varied, it is just about impossible to credibly build character background and endear them with viewers. THE LOSERS really throws character development and story to the winds in favor of dead bodies and blowing things up.
And the action scenes while well staged are captured at a distance that reduces the effect on the viewer. Instead of feeling the pull of the action (the g-force, if you will), the point of view from which the sequences are shot does not place the viewer close enough to the action to feel it. This is good in a way because I was able to differentiate who was shooting at whom, but I never felt any sense of risk. So many bullets are fired at the “heroes” that it seems foolish that no one is ever killed. And the PG-13 rating sanitizes the violence in a way that is never really gritty enough to make us care whether any main character lives or dies.
The callous nature of the story will be off-putting to some folks, and although the film is PG-13, parents should be strongly cautioned. The body count is very high. Children, women, and innocent bystanders often end up riddled with bullets or blown to pieces. And while there’s not any real blood and the actual dead bodies are rarely seen, such violence and disregard for human life will leave its toll on youngsters and adults alike. If you think about what’s going on in this story, it might make you feel a little dirty about paying good money to see all this senseless destruction and mayhem. But for the comic book crowd, THE LOSERS will be pleasing for the caustic humor and hyped-up hip action sequences. Of course, that crowd should either take in KICK ASS or see KICK ASS a second time.
THE LOSERS is not a good way to start the season’s series of team mercenary flicks. Hopefully, THE A TEAM and THE EXPENDABLES will get it right.