It's All About Execution
[Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Jason Patric]
Another week comes and goes, and another comic book adaptation comes to the theater. As a huge fan, I am always interested in how Hollywood expresses the genre. Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass" was exciting, if not critically successful. Bryan Singers; "Superman Returns" was slick, if not memorable. Let's see how "The Losers" fared.
SYNOPSIS: The Losers, a group of black ops soldiers, are framed and betrayed by a rogue CIA spook, Max, during a mission. In order to get their lives and reputations back, they must team up with the mysterious operative, Aisha, with her own reasons to bring down Max.
"The Losers" is a DC/Vertigo property that has been selected for silver screen treatment. The trailers make it out to be a fun, explosive spectacle. But the dynamite must have has a bad fuse, because the films fizzles in its delivery. Don't get me wrong, there are some good points in the movie, but not enough to save it.
The casting was picture perfect. For the heroes you have Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the war-weary colonel Clay, Chris Evans as the smart-alec tech specialist Jensen, Oscar Jaenada as the stoic long-range eliminations specialist Cougar, Zoe Saldana as the sultry Aisha, and Idris Elba and Columbus Short as Roque and Pooch. All of the tumblers click into place for a great ensemble, but the story does not do them justice. There are a few memorable scenes. One involves an elevator, a Journey song and a disrobed Chris Evans. Another involves a girls soccer team, a dispute with a referee and Chris Evans. You may think that Chris Evans was the best part of the film. In fact, you would be right!
So even though the players mesh, the story does not. The battle scenes are both loud and lack. The barrage of bullets is intense, but without emotion. The story, by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, moves along briskly but doesn't bring the audience along after the pre-title scenes. Director Sylvain White certainly does not "Stomp the Yard" with this effort.
Another issue is the use of comic book framing. Just as Ang Lee tried to use comic book panels, to develop and segue scenes to ill effect, Sylvain White falls into the same trap. It manages to be both distracting and unnecessary. The illustrated quality works for the closing credits, but fails throughout the film. Maybe a little research into Robert Rodriguez's illustrated effects in "Sin City" would have helped.
If you haven't figured it out by now, I think you can eliminate this film from you movie going list.