Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review - The Losers

A highly trained covert team of CIA operatives are sent on a search and destroy mission that ends up being more than they bargained for. Unwilling to complete the task, the 5 man team are left for dead and double crossed by a illusive enemy named Max. Hellbent on exposing Max as the vicious war dealer he is, the presumed dead team works together alongside a seductive operative to settle the score.

Based off a comic property of the same name, "The Losers" has the potential to be an absolute thrill-ride of action and laughs. Filled with espionage, double crossing, sex appeal and all kinds of weaponry, the action unfortunately does not measure up to those lofty goals. The comic book movie instead ends up being a sloppy and uneccesary adaptation, one that left me bitterly disappointed in the talent and potential wasted on screen.

For the most part the casting in "The Losers" is acceptable. Jeffery Dean Morgan is rock solid as Clay, the leader of the Losers. Morgan who previously played the Comedian in 'Watchmen' has a similar role here and shows the viewer his comfort levels playing a leader. Morgan does a fabulous job sharing the screen with the rest of cast, especially Idris Elba as Roque. Roque and Clay have some of the best dialogue and exchanges within the 98 minute action. Chris Evans also delivers a notable performance as Jensen. Jensen has the most comic relief throughout the script and Evans once again handles it with ease.

After that the cast begins to roll down hill. Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard) who plays Pooch, has yet to impress me, Zoe Saldana (Avatar) felt misused as a sultry operative Aisha and Óscar Jaenada isn't given enough to do as Cougar to get behind him in any way. One thing missing from the last three mentioned actors is a connection. The script penned by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt tries to connect its audience with the Losers, I just could not find myself engaged with these members. The biggest let down is Jason Patrick as Max. Max is a Kaiser Soze type illusive character in the comics. One that is a true mastermind with enormous influence over the CIA and other U.S. military institutions, while the character penned for Jason Patrick in the film is dreadful. Max is a buffoon. It becomes extremely hard to believe his character is as unprecedented as they set him up to be.

The cinematography by Scott Kevan feels like a step in the wrong direction. Throughout the film Kevan's cinematography does it worst at keeping the action focused. Too many times during major action sequences did the camera play take me out of the scene rather than suck me in further. It should also be noted that just because a movie is being adapted from a comic book, doesn't mean it needs to stop and frame half of the movie like were reading a page of the book. I am really growing tired of directors, cinematographers and editors using this treatment to remind us, the movie was a comic. This adaptation needed a bigger stage, it did not need to be slowed down. Slowing down the action only reminded the onlooker of the limits to singular drawings.

In the case of "The Losers" I wanted bigger, better and believable. What I got was smaller, insignificant and half-witted. The stakes never seemed life or death, even though they are suppose to be. The Losers seem content being ghosts, while the plot developments beg the differ. The storyline sets up a relatable and realistic terrorism sub-plot, however it undoes any forward progression with a ludicrous weapon and laughable mastermind. It is not to say that the story isn't enjoyable while it unfolds, there are just too many obstacles that slap you in the face, never allowing you to get completely enthused.