Sunday, 30 May 2010
Nobody loses with The Losers
Wow! So…um…The A-Team has a lot to live up to this summer.
The Losers is an action movie based on a comic book from DC/Vertigo about a band of special forces guys who get framed on a job they were doing. Left for dead in Central America, they eventually get the chance to return Stateside in order to enact their revenge and clear their names. So far so very A-Team. Now I’ve not read the original comic this movie was based on so I have no idea how much of a rip off…I mean homage to the much loved eighties TV series it is. All I do know is that, as a movie, The Losers rocks! The story of The Losers is pure nonsense. But it doesn’t matter. The script by Peter (The Rundown, Hancock) Berg and James (Zodiac) Vanderbilt is fun, tight, fast-paced, witty, and sharp as sharp can be. The direction by Sylvian White is stylish mixing glossy, fast cut MTV/Michael Bay-isms with a hefty dose of Peter Berg’s own hand held grit. But neither styles overplay themselves, they just mix wonderfully and give The Losers its own distinctive comic book look and feel.
But above all else it’s the terrific cast that truly makes this film. Right from the get go each and every one of them radiates effortless charisma and charm. They all seem immensely comfortable playing off each other, like riffing jazz musicians in one of the coolest bands you’ve ever heard. But at the core of it all are four great performances. The team’s leader is the tough, laconic and hugely charismatic Jeffrey Dean Morgan. You might remember him as Edward ‘The Comedian’ Blake in Watchmen. Dean Morgan is like a more world weary Robert Downey Jr minus the smartass. And spookily he looks a lot like him too, only a beefier and more rumpled version. His gruff sparring with the also great Idris Elba is a wonderful character cornerstone to the movie. Chris Evans plays the teams tech guy and the main source of comic relief. Evans once again shows why he is a big star just waiting to go stratospheric. He brims with charm and humour, but, as he proved with the likes of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, he is also a genuinely strong actor. Plus he isn’t afraid to take the piss out of himself as he does to great effect here. His character in The Losers is a bit of dork who can’t talk to women and is mostly unaware of his own dorkishness. The sequence where he infiltrates a tech company to steal info from a computer is hilarious. I never laughed so hard at a Journey song. Luckily for us Chris has been cast as Captain America in Marvel’s upcoming movie adaptation of its legendary patriotic hero, which means he will also play the dual lead with Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man in Joss Whedon’s movie of The Avengers. Wow! My head nearly exploded just attempting to contain the enormous geeky coolness of that sentence. And then there is Zoe Saldana in the femme fatale role. Ah, Zoe. I’m so in love with this girl it ain’t funny. Last year with Star Trek and Avatar she proved she was a wonderful actress with so much natural poise and feeling to her performances. Here she is just as good, although her character doesn’t have as much depth to work with as in those previous two films. But she is still an intense presence who looks stunning and who moves with a seductive feline grace. Maybe it’s the trained ballet dancer in her but she moves like nobody else on screen. You can tell Zoe from only her silhouette, purely from the way she moves. Also, in this movie, she is in what is probably THE greatest single shot of the year: stood tall and poised atop a cargo container while firing a rocket launcher from the hip. In slow motion. As sexy and lethal as all hell. But for all good heroes you have to have a good villain. And with The Losers we do get a good villain, a very good one. Which brings me to the fourth top-notch performance in the movie: Jason Patric as the vicious, sarcastic Max. He’s coldly evil, casually shooting a girl dead just because she accidentally moved the parasol she held over his head to let in some sun. And then, later on, he is bitingly sarcastic to his main henchman in what are some wonderfully amusing put-downs. It is that nasty sarcasm that does the trick. You rarely get that in films - especially American films. But Patric does it so well here. He really is a cold, snide, ruthless, ghastly monster. And what more could you want from a comic book bad guy?
So, in the end, despite the visual razzmatazz and the very cool action, it is the cast and the characters of The Losers that stays with you. It has that feeling of a perfect group coming together to make magic happen. It’s like watching Firefly/Serenity, or Predator, or the new Trek movie. Every role has been perfectly defined, cast and played, with the group chemistry being immediate and evident. Together this band of brothers (and sister) light up the screen, and by films end you just wanna be able to hang out with them and have a few beers and a few laughs. I loved The Losers. A lot. I had a huge grin on my face all the way through (when I wasn’t drooling over Zoe). It entertained me in a big way. And I can’t wait to see it again. 4.5/5
The Losers trailer