No-Holds-Barred Review: The Losers

How well did the comic series transition to film? Were there any stellar performances? Which scenes stood out and which were lacking? Follow the jump to find out...



Though I try my best to be as professional as possible when composing news articles or editorials, I don't feel a movie review should be so cut and dry. I'll be writing these reviews in the manner I would attempt to describe the films to someone in person. I'm not trying to convince you whether or not to see these movies, I'm just sharing my shitty opinion. Don't take my word as gospel and go see these damn flicks for yourselves.

[SPOILER WARNING: I will try my hardest not to reveal any specific plot points or critical story twists during these reviews, but I will break down the performances of the main cast and how well these films adapted the feel of the comics they were based off of. That, in itself, may be considered spoiler-heavy. You've been justly warned...]

Why is The Losers different from similar action packed films being released this year, namely, The Expendables and The A-Team? Easy, it's based off Vertigo's comic series that ran from 2003 to 2006. Being that it is a comic book adaptation, there is a solid foundation to compare it to; whether it be tone, character development or story telling. For me, at least, that's a double edged sword. On one hand, it should be easier for a studio to transition this property into film since there is source material to base it off of; on the other, it's easy to be critical of it's final cut if it strays too far from the series. Sadly, the movie doesn't hold a candle to the comic.

I did not like this film. I would even go as far as to say that it only had one high point. If you are a fan of the comic series, you'll definitely find the gritty, edgy vibe missing. What was a fresh, satirical take on the current disheveled affairs of the government has become a stylized, watered-down film; one that completely lacked the essence that gave the comics their appeal.

Why did it fall flat? As much as I dislike pointing a finger at a film's director, this is one of those times where that's exactly where the blame lies (for the most part); IF it was shot exactly as the script played out. Sylvian White has apparently decided to replace an emotional connection to his characters with hollow camera flair and explosions. If one more car or plane blew up in The Losers I would have thought Micheal Boom-Bay had directed it.

The film opened up well enough, and my fears of how badly this film would turn out were temporarily quelled. If it had maintained the same tone throughout I wouldn't have disliked it so much. But it didn't. It became cheesy and vapid; quickly transitioning from one simple joke to the next. The only characters that were interesting lacked screen time, while the main protagonist and antagonist gave B-level performances. Let me expand on this a bit more by highlighting each of the stars:

- Jefferey Dean Morgan: If you've seen his performance as the Comedian in Watchman, you've seen his performance as Col. Clay in The Losers. This time around, though, it was a PG-13 version. Comparatively, I actually gave a shit about the Comedian, whereas JDM could have easily been replaced by any other actor in this film and I wouldn't have known the difference. It was a phoned in performance, simple as that.

- Zoe Saldana: She has a great ass, and they made sure to showcase it every chance they got; even if it made no sense to the story or came across as cheesy. Regarding her acting, she barely managed to salvage a character that was poorly written throughout the film. Kudos to her for trying.

- Chris Evans: One of the few enjoyable performances of the film is due to Evans. He knows his way around the comedic aspects of his roles and is one of the best, young actors out there who can effortlessly deliver one-liners. His patented head-tilt smirk reminds me of Ryan Reynolds' patented eyebrow twitch, and makes several (well, more than several) appearances. On a side note, he'd better tuck that damned smirk in his back pocket when he shows up to play Captain America or I'm going to be pissed. His rendition of Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing' was hands down my favorite scene in the film.

- Columbus Short: His portrayal of Pooch stole the show. He delivered every line flawlessly. Thank you, Mr. Short, for giving me the ONE character in this film that was worth giving a shit about.

- Óscar Jaenada: The Losers is Mr. Jaenada's first big budget, feature film; and he did wonderfully with what he was given. Unfortunately, he wasn't given much to work with. In my book his performance as the team's long rifleman Cougar was right behind Short's Pooch.

- Idris Elba: His performance evoked absolutely no emotion from me whatsoever. If you've ever seen him in the TV show The Wire or the films RocknRolla or American Gangster, guess what, you've seen his exact same performance in this film. One of the previews that showed before The Losers shows Mr. Elba playing what seems to be the same character in his next film, Takers. Typecast much? I'm officially worried about his portrayal of Heimdall.

- Jason Patric: This guy needs to go the hell away. Forever. He took one of the most bad-ass, reality based bastards in modern comics and he turned him into a cliche Bond villain. I shouldn't say that, it's an insult to cliche Bond villains. You need an actor to portray a cut throat, cold blooded government operative turned terrorist and you pick this douchebag? His horrendous performance deserves a square kick in the nuts; because that's what it felt like for me every time he opened his goddamn mouth in this film.

I wanted this film to do well, critically and financially; though from the first trailer I didn't think it was going to happen. Unfortunately, my fear was realized early on that this was just another failed attempt by the Hollywood suits to churn-out a campy, action packed film. There is no need to suspend disbelief when you go watch a comic book movie like this. There are no super powered heroes or villains, no situations where science fiction or fantasy are used to explain key elements. This was supposed to be a reality based film with a heavy militaristic overtone. And it sucked. Monkey balls.

This film is all about style, style, style with plenty of over-the-top action and a few brief moments of witty dialogue. What a shame, considering the comic series is such a phenomenal piece or work with so much potential. If it had been an independent project without popular, well written source material to compare it to, I might have enjoyed it a bit more. If I had to describe this film in three words I'd say it's flimsy, flat and forgettable.



Alright, here comes the hard part for me. This being my first feature film review, I wanted to include a rating system that I can use for now on. I'm not a fan of stars or check marks or even the A - F stuff I've seen. I want to use a system that reflects how I actually feel about the film. I've decided to go with a rudimentary standardization, but one that will accurately convey my emotions about the film.

Without further ado, here's my rating of The Losers:




Ron Burgundy Tentpole = I cannot hide my sheer enjoyment!
Thumbs Up = Regardless of it's flaws, I really liked the film
Thumbs Down = Big hot mess, I won't watch it again... unless I'm bored
The Finger = I want my money back you Son of a Bitch!





Stay tuned, CBMers, tomorrow night I get to see an advanced screening of Iron Man 2. Hopefully, I can sneak a spoiler-free review in before Marvel gets wind of it!



Related:

Jock Artwork Revealed For The Losers DVD/Blu-Ray Release!

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