Sunday, April 25, 2010
Review: The Losers (dir. Sylvain White)
The Losers is a really good litmus test film. You can show it to someone and know instantly if they're the kind of person to like a movie because of what they think they're getting from it rather than anything they actually are getting from it. The Losers is out to be a sort of charming-guys-on-a-mission movie, but the characters are only passably charming (there's very little to the characters, period), and the mission is fundamentally stupid.
More after the jump...
This isn't to say the film isn't interrupted by flirts with charm (mostly courtesy of Chris Evans, who has been generously supplying charm to lesser films for a decade now) and exciting action sequences, but those are interruptions to an otherwise unmotivated, mildly compelling film. The end action sequence, in particular, is stunning, but the few minutes following it are so left-field baffling, I was completely thrown off of the groove the film had me in (I won't spoil it, but suffice to say that the main character had a prime opportunity to successfully complete the mission and basically decided not to for no reason whatsoever). Otherwise, I have to physically try to recall standout moments from the film, as it provided so few - the action scenes are particularly lacking the inventiveness or personality the film desperately needs them to have.
Aside from Chris Evans, who is certainly given the most to work with but also runs away with everything he has, Jason Patric is pretty wonderful as the villain. It's full-on mustache-twirling, and even if it makes so very little sense when you consider his actual role in the world of the film, it's a joy to watch him work. When the film is at its sketchiest, these two tend to carry more than their fair share of the load, picking up the slack for a lot of other problematic characters. In particular, the attempt to sell a romantic relationship between Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana - two actors who did great work last year, but who are only just barely there in this - was completely botched.
All in all, it's a fairly breezy, unmemorable, middle-of-the-road action flick. I could spin that positive and say that the time flew by and I had a pretty good time of it while I was watching it, which is true, or I could easily trend more negative and point out that the characters are fairly indistinguishable aside from their assigned personas, and most of their motivations are impulsive at best.
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