The Losers [Blu-Ray] Sylvain White

The Losers [Blu-Ray] Sylvain White
For a comic property unabashedly inspired by action movies, The Losers should play better as a feature film. On the surface, the source story is a funhouse mirror version of The A-Team. The problem with this film adaptation is that it's all surface. A C.I.A. Black Ops team is double-crossed and presumed dead after refusing to follow some particularly heinous orders. Instead of hinting at the situation via dialogue after jumping directly into the meat of the story, director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard), with a script by Peter Berg (Hancock) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), insists on a linear action introduction and streamlined revenge narrative. They were screwed over by a callous spook by the name of Max, so it's the team's mission to kill him and clear their names. Instead of wondering who he is or why he's such an evil prick, we're shown over and over with unnecessary scenes of an ultra-campy Jason Patrick. He might as well have been stroking two white cats and asking for a billion dollars with a pinkie at his quivering lip. This approach strips all the mystery from The Losers, keeping the team from engaging in what they do best: espionage and heists. The ensemble cast is far and away where the movie is most successful. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Watchmen) portrays guilt-ridden leader Clay as a bit of a sad sack, but he's still an imposing figure who can dial up the charm when necessary. Zoe Saldana (Avatar) is graceful and deadly as Aisha, and the character's shortcomings (like the clichéd love interest angle) are the fault of scripting, not her performance. Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada, as Roque, Pooch and Cougar, respectively, are similarly solid with the caricatures they have to work with. Chris Evans (Sunshine, the forthcoming Captain America), however, steals every scene he's in as wisecracking tech geek Jensen. Sylvain White makes obvious attempts at reverence to the comics with key scenes and lines re-appropriated to fit this truncated, politically void version of the story, but his inexperience shows with an overabundance of self-conscious stylization. Behind-the-scenes footage is pretty well represented in the features, with sections on training with a decorated Navy Seal, location shooting in Puerto Rico, stunt coordination and Zoe being the only estrogen injection on set. There's also a quality interview with comic creators Andy Diggle and Jock, and a single deleted scene that would've served as a sequel teaser while introducing a vital story point, sadly handled as clumsily as most of the film. (Warner)