By James Williamson
Released two months before The A-Team, it was inevitable that The Losers would end up being the other film about a close-knit group of soldiers who find themselves on the wrong side of corrupt forces, and despite a distinctive comic book heritage, The Losers never quite succeeds in differentiating itself from the crowd, as the film proves.
The Losers are led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) as Clay, who with his greying stubble and disheveled suit seems to be channeling Robert Downey Jr. While Clay’s closest friend Roque is given some complexity by Idris Elba (The Wire), Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and James Vanderbilt’s (Zodiac) screenplay glosses over Roque’s tough choices and their effects on the team.
Rounding out the roster are Aisha (Zoe Saldana), another iteration of the same character Saldana has played for years, the obligatory goofs Jensen (Chris Evans) and Pooch (Columbus Short), and the stoic Cougar (Óscar Jaenada), whose most significant relationship is with his hat. Their goal: to seek revenge on the cartoonishly villainous Max (Jason Patric).
While Sylvain White’s direction maintains a sense of fun that makes the film watchable, it fails to rectify the film’s flaws and tends to linger too long on the conspicuously CGI explosions. The DVD itself is decent for a one-disc edition, featuring several short documentaries on various aspects of the production. The UK version contains an audio commentary from Andy Diggle and Jock, writers and artists of the comic books, whose enthusiasm for seeing their creation on screen almost makes the adaptation’s deficiencies endearing.
Through their ruminations on changes made to story and characters, one wonders if somewhere in The Losers, there is a better film trying to get out.