|Zoë Saldana has more guns than you|
Crossbows, Double-Crosses and Camp
The Losers is not quite a lost cause
by Molly Templeton
THE LOSERS: Directed by Sylvain White. Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, based on the graphic novel by Andy Diggle and Jock. Cinematography, Scott Kevan. Editor, David Checel. Music, John Ottman. Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoë Saldana, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada and Jason Patric. Warner Bros., 2010. PG-13. 98 minutes.
The plot of The Losers is largely an excuse to get Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as mercenary leader Clay) charmingly scruffed up (no ties, please) and Zoë Saldana (as mysterious, ass-kicking Aisha) in her underwear. Actually, director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) is happy to have has the camera follow Saldana around from behind whenever possible, regardless of how she’s clothed: in skintight red jeans; scantily clad and tossing her hair while perched on Morgan’s lap; escaping a firefight by diving through shards of a broken mirror that reflect her barely-garbed assets …
Lest it sound like I disliked The Losers, let me clarify: This movie is idiotic. It is full of double crosses that get triple crossed; twitchy editing that looks more like someone’s finger slipped than like any sort of style; half-assed quippy dialogue that tops out somewhere around “That’s right, bitches: I got a crossbow!”; and a villian so campily evil he seems to have been imported from another film. As the treacherous and singly named Max, Jason Patric sneers and sulks and is generally hateful and condescending to everyone in close proximity, his minions included. His nefarious plan involves the terrifyingly named snook, a sonic dematerializer that, when deployed, will render The Losers even more absurd than it already is when it begins in the Bolivian jungle.
I laughed. Inappropriately. I also contemplated forming a Society for the Advancement of Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Hollywood, but the acronym is really unwieldy. The Losers’ cast is all the film has going for it, and they do a surprisingly effective job elevating the material to watchable status, despite Jensen (Chris Evans)’s frosted tips; Roque (Idris Elba)’s endless changes of heart; Pooch (Columbus Short)’s nickname; and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada)’s general lack of dialogue. Jaenada has it easy; he holds guns and looks badass. Which is really what The Losers is about: Shooting guns (better than your enemies), blowing shit up (more interestingly than your enemies) and standing on the tarmac while money rains down over your smoldering shoulders (hotter than your enemies’). It’s dumb as a sack of wet hair and as deep as an issue of Maxim. I almost feel guilty about enjoying parts of it.