The Losers. A movie so bad, it killed my boner for Zoe Saldana. No small feat I assure you. I even found her fuckable as that big cerulean cat-clown thing in that James Cameron movie. On the positive side, I don’t think they could have picked a more appropriate title. Easy joke aside, I’m serious. I don’t see ANYone involved with this movie winning. Not the filmmakers, not the cast, not the audience, not even Speed 2’s Jason Patric. And fuck knows, he’s one step away from being on Dancing With The Stars Season 10.
Now I’m not going to say I was disappointed, as that would have required some sort of positive expectations. Of which I had none. Thanks in large part to the trailer, in which they give away the best gag of the film: a sequence involving an unarmed man, two finger-guns and a hidden sniper…You know, like in Crank. That old movie from four years ago… And to reiterate, that was the best these filmmakers had to offer in this men-on-a-mission send up.
Now while I’m not sure this picture was intended as a spoof of the great films of this genre (McBain, Men Of War, Rambo, etc), I don’t see any other way of interpreting the poorly constructed goofiness that permeated the story like Zoe Saldana’s rib-cage permeated her tank-top (someone get that girl a sammich). Oh, and yes, the above picture is of the previously forgivable, Chris Evans. An actor I’ve consistently liked, despite his track record: The Perfect Score, Cellular, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four Again, Street Kings… you get the idea. Yet even he pushed the boundaries of my patience on this one. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. First, allow me to try and recount the plot.
Jason Patric, having been last seen in _____(?), is a corrupt CIA agent named Max. Who hires a team of soldiers(?), mercs(?)—men with guns, dubbed the Losers to take out a child kidnapping drug lord. A deed they more-or-less complete in the pre-credits sequence. However, the twist is, Max betrays them and tries to have them all blown up. Yet, unbeknownst to him, he fails and the Losers become one hot-chick team-up away from a poorly conceived revenge plot to kill this insidious villain. Which [SPOILERS] they fail to do. [END SPOILERS]. Now while I regularly enjoy myself a paper-thin plotline about revenge, I think I’m entitled to at least ONE of the following aspects to spur interest and enjoyment: #1. A badass main character(s) and or a charismatic antagonist. #2. Gratuitous violence, language and machismo. And/or, #3. An action-packed story that takes itself seriously, allowing the comic relief to be encapsulated in the awesomeness. The Losers fails on all three accounts.
First, let’s deconstruct the title team:
Jeffery Dean Morgan is Clay: For someone that’s supposed to be the foundation of this motley crew, Morgan seems to have laid out the team with mud-paste and marshmallows, leaving the concrete and shrapnel for Stallone. I’m guessing he saw an advanced trailer of The Expendables and figured, “Shit, why bother?”. And I like Jeff. But, man, does this guy look tired. Every scene involving actual action (of which there are few), Morgan looks like he’s on his fifteenth take and wants nothing more than a glass of warm milk and a nap. Which is fine, if that’s what the filmmakers were going for, but it certainly ISN’T badass. And in a movie about a team of mercs, you have to have a rock for a leader. The Losers, sadly, do not.
Idis Elba is Roque: Every team needs it’s conflicting asshole, so why not the buffest, baddest black man of the bunch? Well, because the guy is a whiner. That impressive scar he houses over his right eye can’t mask the watery streams barely being contained behind those pretty brown eyes. A specialist in knives (apparently), an impressive set of muscles, an intimidating stare and they made this guy the bitch? I don’t understand. Jesse Ventura’s Blain didn’t have time to bleed. This guy didn’t have time to change his tampon and the result was tears of blood.
Columbus Short is Pooch: As in “screwed, the”. You know that one guy on the team in all those men-on-a-mission movies that spends the whole movie talking about his beautiful wife, and unborn child? ‘Cuz I sure don’t. Shane Black’s Hawkins had a girlfriend with a pussy the size of a house and that’s ALL we got to know about her and for good reason: NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. What the hell is a family man doing in a squad of elite special ops killers? Sorry to keep bringing up Predator as a comparison. I know it isn’t fair, but the juxtaposition from that to this is just so shocking to me. When did this genre become so emotional and family friendly? The story is about a band of killers, who got betrayed, yet live to kill their betrayer. I don’t want one of the main characters talking about his fucking family, unless his family is kidnapped, killed or a catalyst for the mission at hand. And in-between a bunch of un-funny banter, that’s all this guy does in the movie. Tell it to Dr. Phil, fucko, I don’t wanna hear it. Drive the car, with your stupid Chihuahua bobblehead go-to gag and shut the hell up. Stoic… does this word mean anything anymore?
Oscar Jaenada is Cougar: Ah, the Loser who doesn’t run his mouth like a high school track-meet. In fact, he’s so quiet and reserved, all we end up learning about him is that he doesn’t like it when people touch his stupid looking hat. Despite this, well, this AND the fact that he isn’t a sexy middle-aged woman as his name would imply, I found Cougar to be the most likable loser of the bunch. However, as far as snipers go, he is still a farcry from Navy SEALs’ God, or even Rambo’s Schoolboy.
Chris Evans is Jensen is Ryan Reynolds: I haven’t seen comedic strain like this since Deadpool in X-Men: Origins. Oh, wait. I already used up the Ryan Reynolds joke in the first part of this character breakdown…Fuck it, I‘m leaving it in. The normally charming and likable Evans is so busy trying to compensate for all the faults of this project, the poor guy is running on empty. Un-funny joke after un-funny joke, after un-funny sight gag, after lame t-shirt gag, after un-funny joke, after—ANOTHER T-SHIRT GAG!? Oh, fuck you, movie! I seriously can’t believe I couldn’t even enjoy him in this movie. I even liked Evans in Not Another Teen Movie, and that movie blew goats.
And there you have it, The Losers. And I’m supposed to believe that these guys are our government’s go-to black ops team of uber-trained killers? Buhl—shit.
Moving on. Now that I’ve established my disinterest and disgust with the L-Team, let’s take a look at the other two main characters, Zoe Saldana’s Aisha and Jason Patric’s Max. Ladies first…
So I haven’t seen Jason Patric vamp like this since Lost Boys (roll on snare drum)! But seriously, he couldn’t have been any more annoying without at least one of the producers calling for a re-write. Max’s entire character can be boiled down to two defining traits: #1. A knack for saying/creating the most uncomfortably awkward acts of failed intended comedy I’ve seen in years and #2. A scarred and gloved hand which is never explained. A homage to Dr. Claw perhaps, I don’t know. A man who doesn’t bat an eye to slaughtering children and who actually kills a woman for allowing his umbrella to be caught for a second by a breeze, should not be this embarrassingly goofy and un-threatening.
On to Aisha. The movie’s sole source of estrogen is also, oddly enough, the driving force of the film’s machismo. Problem is, her 75lbs of wildcat ferocity doesn’t rear it’s sassy little head until well into the third act. And by then it’s too little too late. Her one big B-A defining scene (spoiled in the trailer), in which she pointlessly fires a rocket into a precariously explosive pile of garbage (apparently for nothing more than a distraction), is so ridiculously and un-apologetically inserted to affirm her badassness, it’s just shy of painful. And that’s before one of the losers says something to the effect of “Now that’s a badass chick!” Just in case you didn’t get it, audience.
Here’s another thing that pissed me off with her. [SPOILERS] Why was her character fucking Clay? She KNEW that he was involved in her father’s death. She had already infiltrated his crew and was in the position to find out the truth, sooo why would she screw a guy she assumed shot her father? It wasn’t to remain undercover, because she’s the one who initiated the sex. This makes my brain angry. [END SPOILERS]
The director Sylvain White’s previous work includes the surely stellar Stomp the Yard and the DTV second sequel I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. To which I was actually surprised. I seriously expected a long list of garbage for MTV, as this guy’s style is straight up Music Video Action. Quick cuts, pointless slow-motion combined with unnecessary zooms, and loud annoying music blasting over every second of it. A style that is tolerable for about 3 minutes. It’s fast, it’s safe and it’s all too clear this guy doesn’t get action.
Then again, it might not all be his fault. As I’m sure you all know, The Losers is based on a popular DC Vertigo comic book by a guy named Andy Diggle. Personally, I’ve never read it, but I know people who have and they’ve confirmed it is written for a mature (read: R-Rated) audience. And thus the story was obviously neutered to appeal to the dreaded soccer mommies and daddies. And while I am unsure as to whether or not the film was shot with an R rating in mind, the editing seems to sway in the favor that it was, ‘cuz BOY is it choppy. All the violent acts and deaths in this film are downplayed to ridiculously sterile conditions. Cleanliness by way of quick cutting. Bodies disappear after being bloodlessly shot quicker than a last-gen James Bond videogame. In fact the only crimson liquid I seem to recall was in the swollen eye of one of the losers. Hooray!…? And this is why the movie fails so hard, in my opinion. Cartoonie freeze-frame effects to soften the body falls, two-second sleeper-hold moves instead of broken necks and vehicles full of people explode where the bodies evaporate in the heat. What a waste of time and money. Lame jokes, sure OK. Cheesy villain, hey, I’ve forgiven worse. Bad soundtrack, well—music sucks. But by restricting a film about a team of killers on route to kill a mass-killer to a pussy-ass PG-13 rating—that shit is unforgivable. Especially since it goes against the beloved source material. Those ASSHOLES.
One final thing before I wrap. The ending. It. Makes. No. God. Damned. Sense.
Midway through the film, Max’s #2 requests that a Ducati motorcycle be included with the shipment of warheads. And Jensen makes an unrelated joke about purchasing a stretch yellow hummer, but never does. Remember this, as I’ll be bringing it up in a bit…
You know that scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker shows up at Bruce Wayne’s penthouse and “ruins” the party by chucking Donnie Darko’s sister out the window? Course you do. And then remember how Batman dives out in pursuit to save her, but then upon doing so, the scene just changes to the next day? You know, instead of explaining to us how or why Batman was unable to go back upstairs and kick the Joker’s ass. Or at the very least, wait for him in the lobby to come back down and then kick his ass? Remember how silly and poorly executed that piece of the plot was? Well, you won’t after you watch The Losers, ‘cuz damn if they didn’t pull off the end-all, be-all of what the fuck plot-hole endings.
[SPOILERS AHOY!] Max obtains these new-fangled “implosion” nukes (don’t ask), betrays their creator and takes the billion dollar cash payment for himself. A minute or two later, the billion (that’s BILLION) dollars in cash has been neatly placed in the cargo hold of a small personal escape jet. Needless to say, it’s quite full. So, the bomb is set, his money’s good to go and it’s time to depart. However, the Losers crash the party and yadda, yadda, yadda. Now here’s where it stops making even a lick of sense. Remember the motorcycle? The one that #2 requested? Well, it was delivered as promised in the nuke container. Now, as I mentioned before, the escape jet is packed to the walls with cash. Soooo, what were they planning to do with this fucking Ducati? And I say, Ducati, because THEY say Ducati. Several times. And in remembering this, it all started to make sense. This motorcycle is the product placement deus ex machina of the God Damned decade. And yes, I realize it’s only 2010. The sole purpose of that bike being asked for and appearing was for it to explode while looking real, REAL “cool”. Which, once again, they spoiled in the fuckin’ trailer anyways. But wait! There’s more.
Once the Losers blow everything to goreless rubble, the showdown between Clay and Max commences on top of a giant freight lifting crane. Clay shoots Max’s back-up helicopter and it flies away, so Max pulls the one card he has left and chucks the nuke detonator a couple hundred feet below to the ocean. Good guy that he is, Clay forgoes his vengeance and dives after the trigger. Ah, success. He catches it right after it hit’s the water. L.A. is saved, Clay rejoins his team at the base of the crane, hops into a yellow stretch hummer and they drive off into the sunset. ~FIN~ You guys notice anything odd about that ending? For starters—WHY DIDN’T CLAY GO BACK UP AND FUCKING SHOOT MAX!?!?!? He’s right there, on TOP of that fucking crane, right next to your whole team, dummy! Shoot—SHOOT!
And don’t you dare say they couldn’t because Max’s helicopter must have come back and picked him up, because the next scene shows him on a public transportation bus being heckled by some thugs. So unless his chopper pilot picked him up and dropped him off at the nearest bus stop for shits and giggles, something doesn’t add the fuck up. And where the hell did that hummer come from? You can’t just a.d.r. a ‘Hey, look what I found!’ and expect me to just accept that everything is hunky dorry because the screenwriters are winking at their own shitty writing. I’m not twelve, and this is a terrible ending. And don’t even get me started on the TWO “bonus” post-story scenes. Good lord, what a waste of time. [END SPOILERS]
In closing, The Losers looked cheap, held no tension, was filled with horrible un-funny comedic relief, had a terrible villainous premise and featured less acceptable action than you average Spongebob cartoon. Oh, and the gods of action save me from remembering their slow-mo strut sequence. Even Zoe, the best actor of the bunch, couldn’t keep a straight face.
Luckily this turd made it’s splash-less drop (INSERT DISAPPOINTING OPENING WEEKEND NUMBERS HERE), before The A-Team’s turn on this year’s cinematic porcelain throne. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been for this band of forgettable stereotypes to take the theatrical stage following even that one guy from The Hangover, much less Liam Neeson. This is Rant signing out and saying, don’t waste your time, guys.
3 outta 10
After all that bile, I decided to be generous…