The Review: Oh, for an original idea in Hollywood these days. Here we have a movie that is based on a comic book (never seen that before) with a storyline that bears strong familiarity to lots of other stories, including The A Team (gang wrongly accused try to clear their name) and the Ocean’s movies (group of wisecrackers attempt to pull off series of heists). So if you’re not going to be completely original, do try to be good at the very least.
And you can feel the sense that some people were trying here. Zoe Saldana, by far the best thing here, probably puts in the most work as the high-kicking, face-punching team sponsor, and gets to be all over everything, especially Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who strolls through the enterprise giving off a budget George Clooney vibe. Jason Patric has the most fun as the bad guy of the enterprise, throwing off witticisms and causally shooting henchmen and generally setting the tone. (Or what should be the tone.) Of the good guys, most of the best lines end up coming out of the mouth of Chris Evans, still pedalling the same schtick he’s been doing as comedy support in movies like the Fantastic Four movies for a while now. And everyone else turns up and takes a pay cheque.
So to that tone. What The Losers appears to be going for is the easy ensemble likeability of some of the aforementioned movies, with a little seriousness thrown in to give a sense of purpose to the mission. When the seriousness involves taking out a helicopter full of children and then walking through the wreckage in the pre-title sequence, although you don’t see any gore it does set the standard for what is actually an uneven movie tonally, uncertain at each turn of exactly at what level to pitch scenes, and it does then make it harder to engage with the characters and their plight – even a frothy action movie needs to engage you on that level. This even extends to the action sequences, which feel by turn hard-edged and then cartoon-like, and none of which leave any lasting impression, for the right reasons at least.
Maybe it’s a case that familiarity does breed a little bit of contempt, but the combination of the fact that there’s not much here that hasn’t been done better before, that some of those involved feel just a little too casual, that the tone is uneven, and that the action fails to capture heart or mind, that the movie never really takes off in the way that it could, and perhaps should, have done. Another movie sadly consigned to the all-the-best-bits-are-in-the-trailer graveyard, there’s a certain amount to like, but just as much not to. We can only hope that the rest of the summer movies this year are an improvement, and hopefully will actually be fun, rather than just putting on a forced smile and hoping for the best.
Why see it at the cinema: For those who like women, Zoe Saldana. For those who like men, maybe Chris Evans? For any other reasons, not so much.
The Score: 5/10