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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Losers

Posted on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Critic's Pick The Losers
Director: Sylvain White
Screenwriter: Sylvain White
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana, Jason Patric
Release Date: 2010-04-28
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Film

You know what?s fun? Watching someone enjoy a job.

Sure, it might put a fold in your brow to try to recall the last time you witnessed that particular wonder ? but if you have, you might agree that, when folks really do it right, be they teacher, filmmaker, perky ice-cream apportioner, or (fictional) ex-Black-Ops soldier of fortune with a head full of bloodwashed retribution, it?s kinda like you?re being invited along for the ride.

Also: The Losers. The Losers is fun.

Based on the DC/Vertigo comic I haven?t read ? itself at-least-somewhat based, apparently, upon an earlier DC comic I haven?t read ? the motion-picture iteration of The Losers concerns (as does its Vertigo namesake, far as I?ve gathered) a crack team of Special Forces jocks who, after being monumentally hornswaggled and forced into exile by an absurdly evil bastard of a guy named Max (a loopy Jason Patric), hook up with a shady-lady benefactrix (Saldana) who packs her own Max-beef (and, occasionally, a rocket launcher) for a bit of the ol? down-and-dirty revenge machine. Hurray!

In anticipation of such similarly themed fare as The Expendables or The A-Team, one might glance at The Losers and not especially expect it to blow one?s face off. And, faith: It probably won?t, quite. But it may come close. Despite a somewhat frenetic beginning (I wasn?t the only one who thought we were still watching trailers, several seconds in), Mr. White?s latest film is enormously entertaining ? and, refreshingly, not primarily because of stunts or effects. (In fact, though there are certainly some stunner set pieces `one of which is tragically laid bare in the trailer`, a few effects shots seemed unfinished.) Rather, the picture thrives on performance and chemistry; I can?t remember when last I thought or wrote that about a comic-book flick. Talk about enjoying a job and taking us with him, though: Evans?s effortless, mouthy Jensen is as fun and memorable a character as we?re likely to see all year. Elba, in perhaps a more subdued role, is no less magnetic. The writing, though sharp, isn?t perfect, and doesn?t sound natural on everyone?s tongue all the time, but there are moments of crackling synergy here that caused me to make gleeful, nigh-involuntary noises from the back of my throat ? one of the things that helps me enjoy my own job. ? Brian Villalobos

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