Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Jason Patric, Zoe Saldana, Columbus Short
Director: Sylvain White
Writers: Peter Berg, james Vanderbilt
Cinematography: Scott Kevan
Original Score: John Ottman
Running Time: 97 Mins.
This summer a crack ex-military outfit have been framed for a crime they did not commit, surviving “under-ground” they seek to clear their names and they aren’t the The A Team, yes pipping that particular team to the post are The Losers operating under suspiciously familiar circumstances they are a mis-matched group of individuals each with their own special skill, team leader, sniper, comms, knife expert extraordinaire. Working like a who’s who of clichéd team ups The Losers does not so much lack any sense of freshness as exude something rather more unwanted, like a bad case of chronic diarrhoea for example.
Despite the total disregard for ripping off the aforementioned The A Team, not to mention any other “framed group righting wrongs” films The Losers manages to come out the other end a shining light and a pretty glossy, if hugely shallow, popcorn fest that set’s out a marker for the upcoming The A Team film to topple, its one that for pure unadulterated enjoyment will be hard to beat…however given my rather damning introduction you would be forgiven for wondering where such high, and contradictory, praise comes from…
The Losers is plundered from Hollywood’s ever-growing obsession to adapt everything and anything from the graphic novel world, with good reason, the characters, plots and set pieces are already there, not only written but visualised on the page, all a producer need do is amass a cast and crew befitting of said material, though that said there are as many hits (in both box office and critical terms) as there are misses, for every The Dark Knight there’s a Superman Returns, for every Iron Man a Fantastic 4, and in those that stray a little further from the typical superhero bent there is a From Hell for every Road to Perdition.
All of which leaves The Losers with not much of a problem in terms of fanboy issues, for the few who are aware of the comic are not those who will make or break the film itself, the trailers haven’t played up the graphic novel roots in the slightest, pitching The Losers somewhere between Oceans Eleven and the obvious The A Team. Neither of these comparisons are unfair and the easy charm the cast glowed with in the Ocean’s films is replicated here albeit with a number of shall we say lesser known thesps. Leading the group is Dean Morgan, building on his Watchmen comic book credentials he does little other than act as the big boss while everyone else grabs the comedy elements, filling out the team are a weapons ace with a Stetson, Elba’s knife wielder, Short’s family man and the ace in the pack Chris Evans as the Comms expert.
This is a cast that were born to play these roles, Elba and Morgan have easy bickering chemistry as do Evans and Short, but script wise it is Evans who is afforded all the cracking lines and scenes, worth seeing for a truly inspired moment that uses the recently over-used Don’t Stop Believing as a backdrop and culminates in a sure to be fan favourite spiel about government experiments and superheroes by Evans that has even more poignancy given he filmed this before becoming Captain America.
While the films roots have been skimmed over in marketing material (unwisely perhaps) they are there to be seen on screen right down to the graphic freeze frame character intros and the Watchmen-like slo mo fights against a backdrop of flames, so while none of this may sound particularly inspiring it gets by with oodles of charm and some choice moments that are pure grin and revel in the audacity of it all, in much the same way as Smokin’ Aces did. The action is choreographed well, and with a very stylistic eye, employing slo mo, freeze frame, and just about every other effect you can think of.
Some films are just made to be enjoyed, and The Losers is one of them, wearing its lack of originality on it’s sleeve this is not there to be admored simply to revel in the absurdity of it all, heres hoping The A Team can follow in the footsteps of the ironically named troupe here.