“The Losers” is too mindless to be an enjoyable action ride

Bullets, stereotypes and Green Berets: all together in one big B-movie.

The Losers is about a team of Green Berets who defy orders in the face of a moral dilemma. The movie, full of war-movie stereotypes, cant decide whether to be serious or not.

“The Losers” is about a team of Green Berets who defy orders in the face of a moral dilemma. The movie, full of war-movie stereotypes, can’t decide whether to be serious or not.

Jonathan Hudson, Writer

Deep in the jungles of Bolivia, a close-knit team of Green Berets has an enemy of the state in their sights, and an American missile trained on his camp. But when the situation turns into a moral dilemma, the unit goes against orders and successfully wipes out the overlord themselves. As may be predicted, the powers-that-be generally frown upon this type of action and reciprocate by shooting down their helicopter on its flight home. But Green Berets are hard to kill, and now nothing will stop them until they have had their revenge on the powerful arms dealer behind their supposed death.

What follows will be the biggest firefight of their lives. But hey, it’s always ugly when you’re the underdogs. Thus begins the bullet-riddled rampage of “The Losers.”

There is not much good to be taken away from this “The Rundown”-meets-“Watchmen” action flick. Interesting actor choices, such as Jeffrey Dean Morgan from “Watchmen” and Chris Evans of “The Fantastic Four.” But you can’t combat an script without engaging characters and a misguided emphasis on visual style. This is a comic book adaptation without any idea of where it should be going, treating its characters at times ironically and at other times too seriously, making for a confusing, contradictory ride.

”The Losers’” cast of highly trained soldiers includes all your basic war movie stereotypes. Morgan plays front man Clay, the emotionless loner who is also deeply invested in each of his men. Roque (Idris Elba) is the rebellious second-in-command, waiting to take advantage of Morgan’s every mistake. Pooch (Columbus Short) is the trigger-happy nice guy, Jensen (Chris Evans), the computer-hacking comic relief and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) portrays the cool, quiet and subtly stylish sniper.

Past these movie clichés, there is absolutely nothing to hold this story together. There are no surprises, no thrills outside of intermittent muzzle flashes. Every twist is guessable and each character does exactly what you expect of him. There are no arguments or conflicts except the ones that can be solved with guns. There is no complexity here and no message. In an ocean of brilliant cinema, this second-rate film has the narrative depth of a kiddy pool.

To be fair, this B-movie may not have been made with the art of storytelling in mind; the point of the tale is the thrills, the impossible infiltrations, the epic shoot-outs. And I must say, the first few fight scenes are pretty exhilarating. But the filmmakers have no creative stamina and as the film wears on, more and more gags crop up until the circumstances are outright ridiculous. The final battle culminates with a motorcycle somehow launching itself into the air and colliding with the cockpit of a taxiing jet resulting in a massive explosion. I enjoy thrills as much as the next guy and if that is all you know how to do, then fine, make those films. But if you cannot keep me interested for an hour and a half with explosions and guns, I am certain that you have done something wrong.

On top of this, in the wake of successful, ultra-stylized films from the Wachowski Brothers and Zack Snyder, the filmmakers took it upon themselves to excessively abuse slow motion in “The Losers.” Any fight scene makes liberal use of slow motion. Every walking-away shot is in slow motion. Turning a corner? Slow motion. Climbing down a fire escape? Slow motion. Brushing your teeth? Slow motion. (Well, maybe not that last one.)

Sure, there is something to be said of good, mindless fun. However, even shoot-em-up proponents will have difficulty swallowing this cumbersome misadventure. For die hard adrenaline junkies, there are many far-superior action films out there, from the likes of Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li and Sylvester Stallone, among others. “The Losers” does not warrant your interest, let alone a ticket to the theater. If I were you, I would stay out of firing range of this flick.

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