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Movies Review

The Losers

By
Zoe Saldana in The Losers
Released on Friday, May 28 2010

Don't think. Think and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away... and don't think. Good luck.

The above bastardisation of a memorable quote from the Doctor Who episode 'Blink' is good advice for those wishing to see The Losers. It's a highly watchable and occasionally hilarious action movie that's high on testosterone and low on pretension. Pleasurable performances and a barrage of amusing one-liners ensure that the overly conventional action movie aesthetic (freeze frames, slow-mo - yawn) doesn't hinder the enjoyment factor.

The pre-title sequence clinically establishes the premise of a Special Forces team in Latin America who miraculously escape a fiendish plot to kill them by their elusive boss Max (Patric). Lead by Clay (Morgan), the maverick bunch (all believed dead) hook up with uber-sexy rogue agent Aisha (a non-blue Saldana) to bring down their nemesis. As the action progresses through a series of fairly routine set pieces, the loyalties of certain individuals come into question and threaten to thwart the pursuit of Max.

It all comes across as very A Team, with each of the group having their own distinct personality and skills that can be scribbled on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare. They also exude a gung-ho ethos not dissimilar to the puppet protagonists in Team America: World Police - with one-dimensional characterisation to match. Yet that doesn't detract from the disposable, trashy fun on offer.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan excels as the stubbly Clay, balancing his moral fibre with macho posturing and forming an electric pairing with the sizzling Saldana. Their stern and sultry endeavours are refreshingly counterbalanced by the mandatory comic relief, which comes in the geeky form of Chris Evans (the non-gingery one who ain't bagged a Billie). As Jensen, he is responsible for the funniest sequences in the movie including a botched attempt to seduce Aisha and an undercover break-in that incorporates the best ever use of the song 'Don’t Stop Believing'. Jason Patric, the forgotten man of Hollywood, is an absolute revelation as Max. His comic timing as the cartoonish, psychopathic baddie is a joy to behold, ensuring that you hiss at him and laugh with him in all the right places.

Idris Elba, in danger of becoming more exposed than a certain Journey ditty, provides plenty of snarling as the fierce Roque, while Columbus Short is rather amiable as Pooch - the self-proclaimed "Black MacGyver". It's just a shame that the latter becomes bogged down in a highly irritating subplot about trying to reach the birth of his baby on time.

The treatment of the story owes a great deal to its comic book origins, with bold colours and a breakneck pace ensuring that the time flies by with barely any lulls - or opportunities to spark those little grey cells of yours into action. What makes The Losers such winning entertainment is its refusal to take the story or the characters too seriously, alongside a uniformly excellent cast who all step into the shallow boots of their characters with aplomb. Despite a moderate budget and a lack of A-List actors, Sylvain White's movie has proven itself to be more than 'The B Team'. The gauntlet has been thrown down for B.A. Baracus, Hannibal, Faceman and Murdoch to pick up later this summer. To ensure a level playing field, leave your brain at home for that one too...


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