The Losers

You know, movies based on comic books are hard to review, too. I like comic books, graphic novels, all that kind of stuff, so I suspect I probably tend to like movies based on them a little more than the average non-comic-reader. I think it makes me second-guess myself when I'm trying to rate them. As usual, I tried my best to avoid reading other people's ratings, but sometimes things sneak past me and I catch a phrase like "very mixed reviews" that leaves me wondering if I'm being too generous.

The point is, I kinda liked the movie. There was even a fun job title in the credits -- Product Placement Coordinator. I didn't notice any brand names, so I'm not sure if that means that person did a really good job, or a really terrible one. It did feel a little rushed in places, but then, it was an awfully short movie, barely over an hour and a half, so that's no surprise. My sense of time was totally skewed by the end. I couldn't figure out the time frame for anything. Frankly, I'm pretty sure that the wife of one of the characters was in labor for at least three days, except she didn't look nearly frazzled enough for that to be the case.

The Losers are soldiers, a five-man team that gets sent quietly into trouble spots to assassinate people, or, as in the beginning of the movie, to "paint" a location for an air strike. This doesn't involve brushes or canvas; it's apparently a way to confirm that the specific target is there and give the fighter jets something to home in on. They're technically in the Army, I think, but they act as Black Ops agents for the CIA, the troops that the higher-ups can plausibly deny any knowledge of, if and when things go wrong.

This being a movie, things go wrong both early and dramatically, of course. The team spots their target -- a Bolivian drug lord -- and call in the location. Then their sniper, Cougar (Óscar Jaenada), spots a group of children through his rifle scope. Tech guy Jensen (Chris Evans, aka the Human Torch) can't call off the strike because their signal is being jammed by a mysterious someone who calls himself Max (Jason Patric, who really was in The Lost Boys even though I overheard a woman telling her companion that she must have been thinking of the wrong Jason Patric because she was expecting the guy from The Lost Boys). The leader of the little group, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who also played The Comedian, though it's hard to tell because he seems so much more, well, human here), leads the team into the compound to get the kids out. Lots of shooting and generalized complaining from Roque (Idris Elba, 28 Weeks Later, American Gangster) ensues.

Kids and soldiers make it out of the compound just ahead of the missiles, thanks to some fancy maneuvers by the team's driver, Pooch (Columbus Short, of both Armored and Quarantine), but Max, in order to avoid loose ends, has arranged for the team to be dramatically killed. Max's aim is off this time, though, and the team is still alive, if unfortunately stranded in Bolivia and also now officially listed as dead traitors.

Enter Zoe Saldana (Uhura, and yes, she was a cat girl also) as Aisha. She doesn't appear to be CIA, or any of the usual things, but she is on nearly every death list imaginable and also seems to have lots of money, which is very useful for those who want to come back from the dead. The catch (because of course there's a catch) is that she wants Max. If she's a millionaire, Max is a billionaire, and a closely guarded one to boot, so she needs unconventional help getting to him, and the Losers are nothing if not unconventional.

They also really seem like they stepped out of a comic book somehow. They're not quite caricatures, though they come close. Pooch apparently gets his name from the disturbing little chihuahua bobble-head doll he insists on putting on the dashboard (or equivalent) of anything he drives or pilots; and Jensen owns some of the weirdest t-shirts in existence. But Pooch also has a pregnant wife, and Jensen has a niece he dotes on, neither of which is quite usual for a rough, tough Black Ops agent. (Okay, admittedly they're arguably the two least tough members of the team, but still.)

Three and a half idols. I docked a quarter for the spooky bobble-head because it freaked me out every time. There's nothing earth-shattering going on (except for the sonic dematerializer, which was neat in a scary sort of way and sort of reminded me of Doctor Who), but you don't mind because it's all fun and just convoluted and gadget-filled enough to hold your attention. They really should have used Tom Petty's "Even the Losers" somewhere, though, because I've had that stuck in my head ever since I saw the first trailer for this.

The Losers, as envisioned in the comic book and the movie.


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