Review: The Losers (2010)

Directed by: Sylvain White
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoë Saldana, Chris Evans

Given a recent and vast influx of film adaptations of graphic novels, it’s easy to pinpoint which ones try entirely too hard in remaining true to the source material and those who let some details slide in favor of merely producing an enjoyable experience. While most of what’s inherently wrong with Sylvain White’s The Losers can ultimately be attributed to the former, the film as a whole remains discerning enough to at least keep us entertained, and let’s face it, that’s what really counts when stuff like this makes it to the big screen. Try as it may though, The Losers still falls short of the competition for a variety of reasons, some of which could have been easily avoided.

If ADD were to be personified, director Sylvain White would be a worthy candidate. This is due in part to the film’s blindingly fast pace that when coupled with its overwrought camerawork and cartoonish demeanor, make the whole production feel as if someone hit the fast-forward button and forgot they ever did. Thankfully, the narrative itself is fairly straightforward if a bit derivative, with plot twists aplenty and a small dose of pseudo-intellectualism via obligatory fictitious techno jargon to hold our attention. The twists themselves are fairly effective and probably the most appealing element the script as a whole possesses, which is a sad truth, but just because we’re bombarded with instance after instance of slick black op mayhem doesn’t change how overly simplistic the film’s central focus is.

The Losers also revels in a superb sense of humor and an appropriate visual flair despite my qualms with its overall fanaticism. White’s attempt to subtly humanize our protagonists however is about as inane as can be, and if anything just serves to take away from the film’s infinitely more entertaining moments, even if said moments are few and far between. Being exceptionally well-acted for something as obnoxious and scatterbrained as they come is also a plus, what with each member of the cast, Evans notably, delivering each line with enough charisma to aid in keeping The Losers from being a total mess. Jason Patric also makes a favorable turn as Max, a.k.a. the man who did our main men wrong in the first place; a character so over-the-top you’re basically forced to admire him despite all his frivolity.

All things considered, The Losers is still just another slick, fast-paced actioner that will most likely be forgotten rather than remembered in the coming months. It’s derivative, lacking in poise and just plain silly, but solid casting choices, a hearty sense of humor and a requisite amount of mayhem partially compensate for its ineptitude. If I can take away anything from the experience, I can safely say it was more watchable than The Expendables, but seeing as how much I vehemently loathed the latter, that’s not saying a whole lot. So, for yet another standard adaptation of yet another graphic novel, The Losers is a mildly enjoyable but ultimately failed experiment that could have been something more, even if not by much.

Rating: 4/10

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