Some will win, Some will lose, Some were born to sing the blues . . . . . . . . Take parts of The A-Team, parts of The Italian Job remake and parts of any old-school style action flick that The Rock has starred in and then pepper with the highly likeable Chris Evans and a cheesily classic “Journey” song and you get The Losers. It’s a movie that feels, ironically enough, like an underdog and it’s an underdog you want to see have it’s day.
Directed by Sylvain White, from a screenplay co-written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt (based on a comic book), this action movie has a lot to like but just doesn’t get the mix quite right to make it one of the greats.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Columbus Short and Óscar Jaenada are the black ops team members set up and presumed dead when they’re betrayed by the mysterious Max (Jason Patric). They want revenge and they want their names cleared so it’s a stroke of luck when the beautiful Zoe Saldana comes along and offers them a way to get to Max and get the desired outcome. Of course, these things are never easy. The words “suicide mission” are actually bandied around but it’s what the guys want to do.
The Losers is a lot of fun. It’s a pleasant way to spend some time in the cinema and there are one or two moments that really knock your socks off in the action department. The acting is all good (Morgan is great, Elba is great, Saldana is gorgeous and great and Evans is genuinely hilarious at times) but the characterisations almost scream their quirkiness at you. This is never more prominent than when Patric’s bad guy is onscreen. What starts off as a funny, twisted, eccentric portrayal soon totters over into the realm of an annoying “offbeat just for the sake of it” manner.
Then we have the dynamic between Morgan and Saldana, alternately sexy and dangerous (okay, okay, BOTH sexy and dangerous) but with no real rhyme or reason to the developments that put them at ease or on edge. It’s almost as if things pop up just to squeeze in another action beat. That would be fine if the action was always as enjoyable as the scene with Chris Evans trying to escape from some aggressive security men but it’s not. There are some one on one fights here that are, sadly, a little bit unexciting and a little bit too reliant on the odd bit of slo-mo here and there to make it all look cool.
But when you get the gunfire, the chases, the excellent sharpshooting from Jaenada’s character, the decent quips, a selection of amusing t-shirts (you have to see the movie to enjoy them in context) and the twists and turns that throw things into disarray in a way that makes you actually care . . . . . . . . then it’s all good.
It will be very interesting to see how The A-Team fares this summer because, let’s face it, this little movie would seem to be aimed at exactly the same demographic and has done reasonably okay (at time of writing it looks certain to make a profit anyway and has been getting some good word of mouth from people who gave it a try). Maybe not a movie you HAVE to see at the cinema but it’s definitely a “popcorn pleasure”, if you know what I mean.
Director: Sylvain White
Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana, Jason Patric.
Runtime (approx): 97 mins.