April 21st, 2010 | Movie Reviews & Stories
 

The Losers

How aptly named!

     
Tags:
NO MORE NA’VI BLUES: Zoe Zaldana shoots.
IMAGE: John Bramley

Dude, have you seen The Transporter? How about Wanted, Smokin’ Aces, Commando, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Italian Job, Bad Boys, Snatch, Ocean’s 11, True Lies, Crank, The Rock or Hard Boiled? Would you like to see them all again?

Sylvain White has seen them, and he’s jammed elements of each into The Losers, this week’s comic-book adaptation. He cribs almost every double-fisted gunfight and chase from other meathead movies. But The Losers is less a greatest-hits homage to trash cinema than a loud jumble of recycled ideas.

When his special-ops team is framed for blowing up a chopper full of Bolivian schoolkids, Colonel Clay (Watchmen’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a hypersteroidal Robert Downey Jr. clone) rallies his team for revenge. The A-Team remake isn’t until later this season, but here it is: The men use all manner of violent nonviolence—tranquilizer guns, tasers, chokeholds—to track down the villain and clear their names. (Mr. T, sadly, does not cameo.) Every frame feels labored. The luminous Zoe Saldana offers some spunk—ditching her blue Na’vi skin in favor of boyshorts and shiny undergarments—but even she feels wedged in. Not even the usually reliable Jason Patric passes as Max, the film’s one-gloved megalomaniac who’s about as menacing as Inspector Gadget’s adversary Dr. Claw. Not content to simply kill children, flamboyant Bond-villain-caricature Max is also developing a WMD that can level a city while leaving no carbon footprint (topical!).

Really, we just want to see our heroes blow shit up, and the film delivers a couple of fun set pieces, among them a goofy helicopter heist involving a gigantic electromagnet. But then there’s the standard-issue warehouse shootout, mama jokes, and the five-on-50 battle royale, all rendered bloodless by a PG-13 rating. At 98 minutes (54 without the slow-mo), it’s thankfully swift. But The Losers boils down to a lowest-common-denominator dude flick. The only things missing are Mountain Dew banners and Maxim references. It ends with the threat of a sequel. If that happens, White had better start casing Blockbuster’s liquidation sales for “new” ideas.


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PG-13. AP KRYZA.

see it: Opens Friday at Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Eastport, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Cornelius, Division, Evergreen, Movies on TV, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Sandy, Sherwood, Tigard and Wilsonville.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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