Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Jeffery Dean Morgan as Clay in The Losers
{The Losers opens in Seattle Friday, April 23 and is playing at The Meridian and The Metro}

Sometimes when I say something is “fucking ridiculous” I mean it in a good way, and sometimes I mean it in a bad way – but in the case of The Losers, well, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

Confession: I’ve never read the Vertigo comic this film is based on, so I honestly don’t know how well the translation was. It was definitely comic-booky, but it also felt like over-the-top cheese. Think of the all the action movie clichés you can, and then mash them together.

The breakdown: Jeffery Dean Morgan as Clay, the hardened leader with a soft heart; Chris Evans as Jensen, the hacker whose specialty is cracking one-liners and wearing ironic hipster shirts; Idris Elba as Roque, the scarred-up tough guy; Columbus Short as Pooch, the nice guy who just wants to get home to his wife; and Oscar Jaenada as the snarling sniper – all we know about him is that he’s good-looking and wears a leather hat at all times.

The Losers

Anyway, The Losers starts with a CIA Special Ops mission in which our rag-tag band of heroes is targeting a drug lord’s mansion for disposal – but just as the bomb is about to drop, they notice a school bus full of innocent kids and try to call off the exploding. Only, it doesn’t quite work that way. The guy in charge, a mysterious voice called “Max” tells them they need to proceed as directed, or there will be some hell to pay. Of course Clay’s soft heart wins out, and they enter the complex to rescue the kids.

After an encounter with the drug lord and his men, they pile them all back into the bus and barely out drive the blast radius – the first scene where I noticed they were enhancing the explosions with really obvious computer graphics – which surprised me. Shouldn’t a film like this have a big enough budget to produce impressive REAL flames? That’s probably just the extreme F/X nerd in me talking, but from then on I noticed it every time.

A helicopter arrives, the kids pile on, but SHOCK there’s not enough room for The Losers too! That’s ok; they’ll wait there. A teddy bear is purposefully shown, and if you don’t guess what’s coming next, then you’ve never seen an action movie in your life. BLAMMO! The helicopter gets shot down and incinerates the kids (complete with flaming teddy bear in the wreckage), The Losers realize they’ve been targeted and throw their dog tags in so they can hide while Max thinks they’re dead.

Cut to Bolivia where The Losers are busy getting drunk, wallowing in depression and…making dolls? We also see the beginnings of the conflict between Roque and Clay. Roque is convinced their situation is all Clay’s fault, whines a lot (in a very macho way, of course) and threatens to kill him if they don’t find a way to get home soon. Enter a bottle of whiskey and Zoe Saldana as Aisha – looking sexy as hell and acting every bit the tough kick-ass action girl.

Zoe Saldana as Aisha in The Loser

After a sexually heated struggle that leaves his hotel room ablaze, Aisha propositions Clay with the whereabouts of Max, as she wants some help eliminating him (for a reason we don’t quite know yet – but again, not that hard to figure out).

The film turns and twists from there as The Losers hunt down their nemesis, and there are plenty of good action sequences (at times tainted by crappy dialog and those faux flames I mentioned earlier), but really the thing that turned this from “a waste of time” to “semi-entertaining” were some of the performances. Saldana seriously works it in this one, proving she can be more than a supporting character, Jeffery Dean Morgan seems to be in the perfect role, and Jason Patric (as Max), knew EXACTLY what film he was in. He chewed up scenery with delight, and totally rocked it as the villain. Cast this man in the next Batman movie, please!

There were actually a few surprises despite the last explosive sequence you could see coming from a mile away, which caused me to slap the “fucking ridiculous” label on this thing – so I’d recommend if you’re looking for some mindless thrills or something fun to do with a group of friends who know how to not take a movie too seriously.

Also recommended: you’ll probably want at least a few cocktails before the opening credits, just in case.