Sunday, April 18, 2010

"The Losers" - Movie Review

This morning, my movie class had a bonus screening of the action/adventure flick The Losers ,  with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana. 


When a special operations team of the U.S. government is sent to Bolivia on a mission to take out a drug lord, they learn that they have been double - crossed and marked for death -- but when they seek revenge on their betrayer, can they get to him before they themselves are destroyed?


The Losers are a black ops team led by Clay (Morgan), a former colonel in the U.S. military.  This rough and tumble group is frequently assigned to secret missions that are not officially sanctioned by the federal government, but are performed with the full knowledge and consent of the CIA and NSA.  Currently, they find themselves stationed somewhere in Bolivia where their mission is to stake out a notorious drug kingpin known to be trafficking illegal narcotics into the United States.  Just when the military is set to bomb his compound, the team discovers he is hiding children -- apparently to be used as drug mules.  When they can't cancel the mission, the team charges in to save the children and boards them on a helicopter out of the area -- but when the chopper is shot down by an American fighter plane killing all on board, they realize they were the ones who were supposed to be murdered as their team was originally scheduled to be on that very same helicopter.  With this bitter realization before them, and knowing that they've been officially reported as dead, they immediately set out to seek revenge on Max, the government operative who ordered their execution.

As the team tries to eke out a meager living in Bolivia, Clay makes contact with Aisha (Saldana), a beautiful but tough spy who offers to help Clay and his men get revenge on Max for betraying them.  While convincing, Clay realizes that she is very cunning and dangerous and as a result, is quite suspicious of her motives.  All the while, however, they develop a bond, which eventually turns romantic.  Aisha reveals a plan to the team that provides them an opportunity to get Max while he is in Miami; it's risky, though, because Max is always surrounded by security -- in fact, she claims that trying to kidnap the President of The United States would be easier than trying to catch Max.  Despite this, The Losers set out to attempt to capture Max -- unfortunately, their efforts are for naught because it turns out that he is not in the vehicle that they somehow manage to hijack from the Miami streets in broad daylight.  By now, some of the members of the team are distrustful of Aisha, who maintains that she is still on their side because of the fact that they have nevertheless managed to capture an encrypted hard drive that may contain a great many secrets about Max's operation -- including and especially his potential whereabouts. 

Eventually, Aisha's loyalty comes into question by members of the team.  When confronted, it turns out that she is in fact the daughter of the drug kingpin that Clay's team was originally sent to kill in Bolivia.  Therefore, her motivation for helping the team get Max is for her own form of revenge -- to kill the man who would have murdered her father.  Having lost faith in Clay's leadership capabilities, one of the members of the team decides to go rogue and sells himself out to Max's group -- which turns out to be a potentially deadly decision for everyone involved.  Pitting himself in direct confrontation to one of his own former team members, Clay must now not only try to defeat a renegade, but also, still keep his focus on trying to find and destroy Max.  But when Max's team seems to be of insurmountable opposition and resources, can Clay's small group still manage to get the upper hand?


Without a doubt, this was certainly a rare one for my film class because they almost never show an action/adventure movie -- having said that, however, I must say that after all of the obscure titles and somewhat intellectual fare that has thus far been offered this semester, "The Losers" was without a doubt a quite welcomed respite.  Something that you might qualify as a guilty pleasure, it is one of those movies that requires nothing more from the audience than to admire all of the explosion sequences.  Based on a comic book of the same name published by DC, I'm given to understand that the movie rang true to the basic tone of the source material in the sense that it doesn't take itself too seriously.  This might be its saving grace, in fact.  Its consistent sense of humor and high degree of irony is what kept many of us in tune with the movie all throughout -- granted, this group of people is certainly not the demographic that the movie studio is depending on for word-of-mouth success for this movie since it clearly seems to be aimed at the teenage set. 

Although I would recommend this movie, it is with reservations.  Among the reasons for this are the fact that despite the humor (or perhaps because of it?), I found the plot somewhat hard to follow at times.  In theory, a movie like this should be rather simple and straightforward, but I felt that there were some gaps at various points and several plot points -- some of which may have been arguably crucial -- were not very clearly explained, either in the moment or later on.  This may beg the question for such a movie that maybe I'm asking too much.  Perhaps that's true, but the really good action/comic book movies tend to be rather cohesive in their story telling capabilities.  If you have an incredibly good kick-ass home theater system, then perhaps "The Losers" is something you might be able to wait to rent or see on cable; otherwise, I would highly suggest you see it in a theater with a big screen and surround - sound audio because that is most certainly the type of environment that a flick of this type was intended. 

Are you looking for irony?  Are you looking for a movie that is laden with political philosophy?  Are you looking for something that will challenge your personal beliefs to their core?  If so, then you may want to skip "The Losers".  Well, maybe except for the irony part -- much of the humor depends on irony in various portions.  Seeing the bad guy engage in a rather intense card game of Go Fish would probably be a good example of this.  By the way, Jason Patric as the bad guy (Max) is incredibly funny and I would suggest that it is his performance alone that makes this movie worth seeing.  Whether you go to the theater to check this out or wait for a DVD/cable viewing, this movie is just downright fun.  Check your brain at the door, buy the biggest tub of popcorn you can afford and by all means, slather it with butter ... because this is precisely the type of movie such an experience was intended for -- which is a good thing, especially if you're in dire need of some escapist entertainment.