>There’s been a fair few action movies on the market this year. We’ve had the ironically named Expendables, RED, but predating both was The Losers. I’m ashamed to say I missed this at the cinema, but On Demand has brought me back from the brink.
The plot is the same as you’d expect from any bog-standard action movie. Group of expert military types are framed for all kinds of obsolete stuff and have to pretend they’re dead for approximately five minutes before taking their revenge on an evil CIA type. Put a couple of double crosses in the bag, some bad jokes and shake well until a movie script comes out of the other end. Sound like The Expendables so far? Yeah, I know.
Oh yes, there’s a but.
The Losers triumphs where Stallone’s bullshit-flick failed miserably. Here we have six main characters, all with a personality of their own (you listening, Sly?). Even Cougar, the one who never talks. Alright, the characters are stereotypical:
A surly colonel who doesn’t know how to be anything but a soldier (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
An expert sniper who looks like a young Danny Trejo and refuses to remove his hat (Oscar Jaenada).
The sexy femme fatale (Zoe Saldana).
The joker (Chris Evans).
The hard ass who loves no-one but himself (Idris Elba).
And the ‘can drive anything’ guy a la Murdoch from the A-team (Columbus Short).
Sounds like you’ve seen this movie before, right? And you have. But this is better.
The acting I won’t dwell on. They’re all good. The cheese is kept to a bare minimum. The villain (Jason Patric) in particular has a strange quality where you’re not sure if you like him or not. Can anyone say ‘perfect balance?’. Although his freaky scarred hand never gets explained, I’m kind of glad. There’s so little mystery left in Hollywood films that seem compelled to dumb themselves down for their audience.
The camera work is excellent. There are so many movies based on graphic novels that have tried to emulate the comic book style (Scott Pilgrim being the most hardcore example). And it’s starting to get a bit old now. But The Losers manages to strike another balance between movie and comic, utilising some great camera angles and scene setups for maximum effect without being jarring.
And it’s funny. Not bust-a-gut funny, but funny enough. Where Chris Evans played Johnny Storm (The Fantastic Four) with tongue thrust firmly into…cheek (don’t be so disgusting), he plays Jensen as a little less cartoon which works well as the comic relief. Even Patric’s villain has his moments of amusement which is always great from a villain.
With so many classic action movies out there, it’s hard to stand out and The Losers doesn’t manage it either. But it’s certainly not a bargain-bin special like The Expendables.
If you’re an action movie fan, I think you’ll like it. It’s a nice way to spend an hour and a half where you can think if you like but it’s not essential; pretty explosions, enough corny one-liners to keep you interested rather than groaning, and some nice visuals to boot.
“A title minus the irony”