Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Losers (2010)

A comic book movie with no superpowers, costumes or giant robots? I'm still there. The Losers is a delightfully silly action movie based on the DC vertigo comics title (written by a 2000AD scribe- HELL YES), and thanks to its stellar cast, it hangs together very well indeed. The story is basically that of a group of special ops soldiers who are framed for a terrible incident and thought to be dead. Trapped in Bolivia, the group of badass soldiers (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Óscar Jaenada) crave revenge and a return to home soil. Clay (Morgan) comes into contact with the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana from Star Trek/Avatar/loads of other stuff right now), who promises a way to get revenge on the maniacal villain responsible for their apparent 'death' and the sullying of their names.

Action galore ensues as the group of 'dead' soldiers wage war against the bad guys in fine style. It's far from high literature, but the film stays just tongue-in-cheek enough to stay fun and not slip into parody. There are explosions galore, elaborate fight scenes, oneliners and all of the other trappings of the modern action film, but there's also some very cool characters played by some great actors, which hold things together very well indeed. It's loud, brash, violent and well worth the price of admission.

The stars aren't perfect visions of humanity, which is a delight to see. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is my favourite of the bunch. His performance as Clay is spot on, and he looks like a real person rather than a perfect Hollywood hero. Yeah, some of the action scenes are insane and pretty much physically impossible (the ending comes to mind), but it doesn't slip into Die Hard 4 territories of improbable set pieces (thankfully). The story barrels along fast enough to stop you trying to think too much about how gloriously daft it all is, and as a whole it's a very satisfying watch. Zoe Saldana didn't strike me as the right choice for Aisha when she first shows up in the film, but her performance draws you in as the flick progresses.

Man, you can tell that The Losers is from the mind of someone who wrote for 2000AD, as it's a comic book tale with some serious badassery on display, the sort of which you can only really get from a British comics writer (hey, no offence to the overseas comics folks, but 2000AD has always done stuff that a lot of publishers would be scared of outside of the HEAVY METAL titles). The movie of The Losers is a brilliant addition to the number of comic book related films currently available for fans old and new to discover. It has the snappy editing, the action and the script and cast to make it work, and work it most certainly does.

The only thing I took issue with when watching the film is the certificate it got here in the UK. It's a 12A film here, meaning anyone under 12 can get in with an adult, and anyone 12 and over can get in to watch it. The film is REALLY not a 12A release. It should really, really have been a 15 due to the violence, the bad language, the sex scene and stuff like the opening event that kicks everything off. That left a bitter taste in the mouth, but the film itself is great.

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