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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Losers


Don't Stop Believin'! Hold On To This Feelin'!


With the objective of stealing The A-Team's thunder in its sights, The Losers arrives with gun barrels fully loaded in comic book superhero and nerd cred. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian from Watchmen), Chris Evans (The Human Torch from Fantastic Four and the man chosen to be The First Avenger: Captain America), and Zoe Saldana (Uhura from Star Trek) topline The Losers, which is based on a DC/Vertigo comic few have read, which in turn was based on DC Comics World War II characters even fewer have ever heard of (I'm one of those few. I'm cool). The Losers also stars Idris Elba from The Wire; the status of whether or not you watch The Wire instantly determines your coolness. A well-armed, well-trained, and oddly goofy special forces team, the Losers open the picture being abandoned and betrayed by Max (Jason Patric), their shadowy CIA handler, in Bolivia after a mission goes sideways - best I could follow, the Losers were supposed to be killed but instead 25 children the Losers rescued rode the midnight train to slab city. Saldana mysteriously appears in the Losers' lives, often in her underwear. She seduces Morgan with acrobatic, violent sex that literally burns the house down, and promises to finance their campaign to return to the United States and kill Max for her. Crazy ass comic booky action and explosions commence. The Losers was co-written by Peter Berg, who last directed Hancock, and like Hancock, The Losers feels frothy, a little light on necessary substance (only Evans and Columbus Short, the Losers' wheelman ("Legless Pooch" - in-joke), get backstories about their families), and shamelessly sets up a sequel. Evans is a standout - he's the funniest, most likeable guy in the movie. Short and Evans do all of the comedic heavy lifting. But if anyone upstages Evans, it's Jason Patric, playing a bizarre, slithery villain with dreams of making a lot of money from mass destruction. There are a couple of switcheroos and trademark changes of heart that aren't all that surprising, but the bottom line is The Losers is a lot of fun. I was most fascinated by two things: the worship shown to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", and by the white shirt Jeffrey Dean Morgan wore the entire movie. Did he constantly launder that shirt when it got soaked in blood and grime or did he have a secret stack of white shirts that always traveled with him?