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Review

Cast, cinematography fail to deliver

Michael Brun

April 30, 2010

With its sexy cast and vibrant style, “The Losers” feels like a bomb that’s primed to explode. It’s a volatile mix of action and comedy, needing only an imaginative spark to set it off. I kept waiting for that big explosion, but unfortunately it never came. Instead of sizzling up the screen, “The Losers” fizzled like a dud firework.

“The Losers” is adapted from a graphic novel about a squad of commandos that go into Third World countries and blow stuff up. Each member of the team has their own area of expertise. There’s Cougar, the sniper; Pooch, the driver; and Jensen, the techie. The group is lead by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose main talent seems to be hooking up with exotic women like “Avatar” star Zoe Saldana. Together they fight to bring down a psychopathic CIA boss before he detonates a weapon of mass destruction.

The cast is a likable group of actors that share genuine screen chemistry. Their personalities play off each other well, providing for some solid chuckles. The most enjoyable of the bunch is Chris Evans, whose performance as the team’s socially-awkward hacker frequently steals the show.

Watching “The Losers” is like looking through a fast-paced kaleidoscope. It’s a frenetic whirlpool of color and motion. If nothing else, this is a visually stunning film – both digitally vibrant and highly stylized. Sylvain White, the man that brought us 2007’s “Stomp the Yard,” directs “The Losers” as he would a music video. Many scenes are choreographed to a thumping dance beat, with a lot of freeze-frames and slow motion. Although the style of the film is very hip and flashy, I didn’t much care for it. It would’ve been fine in moderation, but the film’s rapid-fire editing was so constant and overbearing that it quickly grows tiresome.

And if you’re prone to motion sickness, you’ll want to take a pass on this one, because the action scenes can be quite dizzying. The opening shootout, for instance, is a nauseating catastrophe of quick cuts and extreme close-ups that is nearly unwatchable.

The action gets easier to watch as the film progresses, but it never amounts to anything special. Compared to the imaginative action scenes in last week’s “Kick-Ass,” “The Losers” felt ho-hum at best.

That’s pretty much the bottom line with “The Losers.” It has some interesting elements, but they just don’t add up to anything spectacular. The pieces are there, they’re just missing that last bit of inspiration to really explode on the screen.

If you’re looking for a couple hours of juvenile escapism, you could do worse than “The Losers” (I’m looking at you, “Clash of the Titans”). But with similar films like the “A-Team” remake or Sly Sallone’s “The Expendables” coming down the pike, I think you’d be better off waiting.

Michael Brun is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.