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Author: JoAnne Hyde
April 22, 2010

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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Director Sylvain White adapts the Vertigo comic about a team of mercenaries who wage war on the CIA after they're double-crossed in the field and left to die. Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) were on a blacks-ops mission in the Bolivian jungle when rogue CIA agent Max (Jason Patric) hung them out to dry. After beating the odds and surviving their ordeal, the team decides to strike back against Max even if it means sacrificing their own lives to do so. Aiding them on their treacherous suicide mission is sexy operative Aisha} (Zoe Saldana), who has her own reasons for wanting to see Max get his just deserts. But getting to Max won't be easy, because in addition to having the CIA on his side, he's about to spark a war that could plunge the entire globe into chaos. Their time quickly running out as Max's plan kicks into overdrive, the Special Forces unit that everyone assumed dead arms themselves to the teeth and prepares to strike back with a vengeance.

DIRECTED BY: Sylvain White
WRITTEN BY: Peter Winkler Berg, James Vanderbilt
CAST: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans
STUDIO: Warner Bros.
OFFICIAL SITE: THE-LOSERS.COM
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THE LOSERS, directed by Sylvain White, is for action film junkies -- if you’re looking for an intellectual experience, you’ve come to the wrong place. It has all the standard features of the genre -- a group of talented outcasts, a super-heinous villain, plenty of gunfire and explosions in slo-mo, and plot holes big enough to drive a tank through. Probably a good idea not to think too much while watching this one.

The group of “lovable” outcasts include Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada). They are a special forces kind of team from an unspecified branch of the armed services who have been sent to Bolivia on a search-and-destroy mission. The target of the mission in a mysterious and powerful ex-CIA operative, Max (Jason Patric). There’s much double-crossing and triple-crossing, and needless to say, the mission goes wrong. The team is presumed dead, supposedly blown up in a helicopter, but -- you guessed it! - they weren’t really on it. Now they’re men without a country, stranded in Bolivia, drowning their sorrows in cheap beer and tequila. Why, two of the team are even reduced to working in a doll factory.

Oh, the horror!

Enter the girl, Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who seduces Clay by telling him that she can lead them to Max and get them back into the USA. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Clay), looking middle-aged and a bit paunchy, must have been drinking some pretty strong liquor to believe that the young, svelte Aisha would be interested in him. Saldana -- looking very thin -- has little chemistry with Morgan; however, the characters get together and have some very un-sexy sex. Again, there are more double and triple-crosses before the final encounter with the villain, Max. Jason Patric -- who used to be hot -- portrays Max as a prissy sociopath who will, like, totally have you killed, dude, for even the smallest mistake. He delegates the killing due to an unexplained, deforming hand injury that apparently makes him want to mess with the world order and make fun of short people and anyone with a foreign accent. He is trying to purchase a new kind of super bomb that disintegrates things as big as islands using sound waves.

Chris Evans (Jensen) is a stand-out as the “tech guy” -- actually very buff for a tech nerd. He brings much needed energy and humor to the screen. In fact, with the exception of Morgan, the guys on the team all have impressive biceps. Morgan just looks tired. Of course, these guys always have every gadget, gun, or bomb they need even though they were so recently destitute in Bolivia. Again – don’t think too much.

This film is not really my kind of movie, so I judged it by the preview audience’s reaction. They seemed to like it, and since it is based on the Vertigo comic book series, I figured most were probably fans. I spoke with a couple of young women after the movie who said they’d come to see a particular actor (Idris Elba), so the conclusion is that if you like comic books, one or more of the actors, or just action films in general, you will probably enjoy THE LOSERS. It’s not the greatest action film, but it’s far from the worst. It’s kind of a middle-of-the-road, pretty good one, so I’ll give it a pretty good, middle-of-the-road rating.

GRADE: B-

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