Movie review: The Losers

A crack squad of soldiers of fortune. The A-Team? No - B-Team 'The Losers'. And a B-movie too...

The Losers

A crack squad of soldiers of fortune. Each has their own specialism. Each is a little bit crazy (though just the right amount, obviously, and not actually crazy, you can’t have them running around with guns). They’re outside the law. They make their own weapons. If you have a problem, and if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, then maybe, just maybe, you can hire them.
The Losers.

Yeah, doesn’t really have the same ring, does it? Call it carelessness, or stupidity, or perhaps even an attempt to make Summer 2010 cinema’s very own “mercenary gang for hire” district, but an adaptation of comic book caper The Losers can’t help but be compared to the forthcoming big-screen remake of the A-Team. And since that hasn’t come out yet, and the only version can can compare it to is the perfect one in our heads, The Losers was always going to come off worst.

The gang are as you’d expect – Idris “The Wire” Elba‘s gruff deputy William Roque, Jeffrey Dean Morgan slightly less gruff but still not happy leader Franklin Clay, a man in a hat with a sharp shot but about two lines of dialogue, a married one who’s good at piloting things, and a techy one who’s supposed to be wacky but only gets as far as annoying. On a job in Bolivia, they are targeted by their own people, and go on the run.

We quickly find out it’s not a film that takes itself too seriously – at one point the techy one tries to escape a building to the tune of Don’t Stop Believin’, before pretending he can shoot people with his hands, while the sharpshooter friend, sitting over a mile away, takes the people chasing him out. In time with his hands. And the music.

But yet, you can’t help feel The Losers needs to settle on a tone, and stick with it. As they go after Mr Big – in this case a “mysterious” man called Max, which sounds like the result of a hash-tag titled boringvilliannames – we get wacky, serious (well, someone gets shot in the legs and it actually hurts), comic-caper, but all at different times. Avatar‘s Zoe Saldana arrives as a mysterious operative who wants them to take Max – and, as you’d expect, she’s both angel and devil, yet never anything in-between.
Not awful by any means, but the ending suggests a sequel. The film, however, suggests otherwise.

Stuart McGurk