Blu-Ray Review: The Losers

Before I begin discussing why I enjoyed The Losers so much, I have to make it very clear that nobody would ever consider this to be “a good movie.”  The plot is convoluted, the action sequences preposterous, and there is no substance to be found.  It’s just that sometimes an action movie is so over-the-top, it becomes easy to buy into the false reality of the situation.  It doesn’t hurt that the ensemble cast all seem to be having the time of their lives.

For those who don’t know, The Losers is based on a very popular graphic novel.  Personally, I’ve never read it, so I don’t know how strictly the filmmakers have adhered to the source material.  What I do know is that stylistically, the film feels very much like a comic come to life.  Every action beat and every conversation seem to come from a hyper-kinetic frame of reference.  The story, as much as there is one, revolves around a team of Special Forces Operatives who are framed by a man named Max for the deaths of several children.  Several years later, a woman named Aisha presents them with an opportunity for revenge.  Their hunt for Max ends up taking the expected twists and turns, featuring all the doublecrosses and betrayals the genre is known for.

We’ve seen this plot a thousand times.  We’ve even seen it done in the over-the-top comic book style that director Sylvain White shoots the film.  However, this film stands out among the rest because of it’s extremely enthusiastic cast.  Every character is memorable, and the actors seem to relish the opportunity to just have fun.  While the action never stops, the actors help bring a degree of humor to everything that is happening.  This keeps anything from ever becoming too serious.

Standing out among the cast is Chris Evans as Jensen.  For example, he has a sequence where he tries to convince a room full of armed men that he has the power to shoot bullets out of his fingers.  The scene is dumb, but his enthusiasm is infectious.  I found myself really drawn into these little moments.  As Aisha, Zoe Saldana also does a great job.  She’s been having a terrific year, coming off of Star Trek and Avatar.  This film might not have as much exposure as those two, but I found her performance just as compelling this time around.  She’s made some really smart moves in her career, and I think that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her.  Rounding out the cast are Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, and Jason Patric as the villainous Max.  He really hams it up in his performance, but I enjoyed his schtick.  Nobody will be winning any awards this time around, but sometimes all a movie needs to be is fun.

For the most part, the film isn’t very well known.  It came and went from the theaters pretty quickly, and as such, the Blu-Ray release isn’t all that great.  In fact, the longest feature is a “first look” at an upcoming animated Batman film.  Other than that, there’s just a sampling of short documentaries.  My favorite was called “The Losers: Action Style Storytelling.”  This feature analyzed the film from the perspective of those who created the original graphic novel.  As I said, I’ve never read any of the material myself.  Still, it was really interesting to learn about the adaption process and how the two mediums lend themselves to each other.  There are a lot of comparisons of the original comic to the film adaption, and it’s pretty amazing how the filmmakers didn’t simply recreate the images, but captured the tone as well.

The other features were all pretty short (most running just over 5 minutes).  I enjoyed the feature showcasing how they recreated locations from around the world all within Puerto Rico.  However, I found the feature about how Zoe Saldana interacted with the cast to be a complete waste of time.  There is also a feature about the Special Ops influence within the film as well as a very short and pointless deleted scene.

I admit that this isn’t a film for everybody.  You have to be willing to suspend disbelief as well as logic when watching a movie like this.  If you aren’t somebody who can do that, then this definitely isn’t a movie for you.  However, if you are looking for a highly stylized, instantly disposable action film with a lot of fun characters and situations, then The Losers is definitely a winner.

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