If you're in trouble, and no one can help, and you don't need 11 people, maybe you can hire them.
Going Rate: Worth matinee price.
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana
Red Flags: Lotsa shooting and explosions, mild cursing, one scene of sensuality
I saw a trailer for the upcoming A-Team remake spliced onto this movie, which is no coincidence. When I saw the trailer for The Losers, however, I thought of Ocean's 11 with a lot more firepower. Then I saw the feature attraction and wondered which movie it really wanted to be.
The Losers is adapted from a D.C/Vertigo comic book series, and the style follows from page to screen. It moves quickly and economically, giving its characters only enough words to get to the next shot. But it seems like it's dying to be smarter and breezier, like Oceans while still ripping a setup from The A-Team.
The title refers to a special-ops team sent to Bolivia led by Clay (Morgan) to carry out an easy mission: illuminate a drug lord's compound with a laser beam so air support can eliminate it with a bomb. Boom, boom. Let's go grab a Miller. But the mission goes sideways when some children unexpectedly enter the picture, and the team winds up being framed for a massacre by Max (Jason Patric), a ghostly CIA superspook who's calling the shots.
Presumed dead, the team ekes out a civilian existence in Bolivia until mystery woman Aisha (Saldana) enters the picture with an offer to get the team back into America if they'll help capture Max for her. Clay and Aisha end up in a hotel-room brawl that plays out like a self-destructive mating dance.
Max is one of those movie villains who have a large tab from the dry cleaners and a mind from the Dr. Evil Business School. He's an obnoxious sociopath and yet wimpy enough to require somebody to stand over him with a parasol during a walk on the beach. He has an injured hand from... something... I don't know. Usually you see these miscreants petting small animals like Blofeld from the 007 movies, but Max is too busy globetrotting and setting up dirty deals for super weapons. He wants to acquire what I would call the "clean bomb:" an ordinance so efficient, it dissolves small islands like Alka-Seltzer tablets with no debris or collateral damage. Better yet, the design of the bomb goes with his white suits.
I wanted Clay to be slicker, like Danny Ocean, and there's hints of it in his suits and scheming. He's in it for both revenge and the girl. At times, his crew reminds me like half of Ocean's crew with their throwaway banter. Then the movie tries to be The A-Team again. Using that metric, the film does a workable job of providing thrilling gunfights laced with cool gimmicks, like lifting an armored car out of downtown Miami using a gigantic magnet attached to a helicopter. Other than that, the film is simply okay in that it provides just enough entertainment and wit to live up to the promise of its trailer.
Just a thought: people dumped on Avatar because of perceived anti-Americanism and anti-militarism, and this film has one of the evilest CIA characters I have seen in films of late, one who doesn't even bother to use the War on Terror as a catch-all justification. Yet I doubt we will see the same outcry unless this movie makes gobs of money.