Movie News & Reviews

Fans of 'A-Team will enjoy 'The Losers'

Movie trends are strange things.

I get why Armageddon and Deep Impact happened to comeout in the same year (face it, a giant asteroid is one of theawesomest ways to destroy Earth — those things took out thedinosaurs) — but what unfathomable turn of the zeitgeist causedfilmmakers to burp up Truman Capote movies in consecutive years? Rightnow, we're cresting a wave of A-Team knockoffs: TheLosers, The Expendables, and even The A-Team.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Luckily, I love that stuff. Yay! Even so, I'm starting to wonder whytheir teams are so formulaic: the brains, the sniper, the nerd, theguy who blows stuff up, etc. Couldn't these guys use a dedicatedmedic? We're several hundred years into the age of gunpowder; howvaluable, really, is it to be the world's greatest knife fighter?Isn't that a little like being the world's best wheel-chiseler? Ahwell. The Losers may bring nothing new to the formula, but atleast it's an entertaining one.

After being framed for the murder of 25 children, Jeffrey DeanMorgan's five-man special ops team is forced underground. They'refound by Zoe Saldana, who offers them the funds and intel to take outshadowy arms dealer Jason Patric, the man who betrayed them.

But Patric's a hard man to track down — and he's negotiating thepurchase of a set of sonic superbombs. If Morgan's team can't bringhim down, he'll use the bombs to set off global war.

A globetrotting tale of gunfights, break-ins and kidnapping entirevans with helicopter-mounted magnets, The Losers is fast-pacedand action-heavy. Good for it: the more time we spend watching Saldanabreak chairs over Morgan's weathered head, the less time we have tocontemplate how every aspect of the movie feels like a glossyphotocopy of something we've seen a hundred times before.

You might be surprised to learn their team includes a tech geek who'snot so smooth with the ladies! A daring character choice, to be sure.Among type-defying casting, this ranks right up there with the unusualromantic comedy Godzillaless in Seattle or the maverick lead inSergeant Fluffy Bunny. In another unorthodox move, Morgan carestoo much for his men.

Likewise, the story's an interchangeable assembly of romance,betrayal and infiltrating security-thick buildings in order to learnthe location of the next place that must be snuck into before thingsgo bad and they have to shoot everyone after all (but bloodlessly,thanks to The Losers' PG-13 rating).

Patric's cartoonish psychopathy fits right in with all this recycledpulp. When he's not ordering people shot, he's shooting them himself.It's a role that should inspire such fierce forehead-slapping a graymilkshake pours out your ears, but Patric's gleeful amorality is asalty treat. I knew you had it in you, Michael from The LostBoys!

Turns out the rest of the cast is pretty good, too. Chris Evans muststore his comic talent in his sleeve-busting triceps. Idris Elba'spost-Stringer Bell career continues with his 243rd consecutivethankless role, but he's menacing as ever. They pour liquid energy(some call it "vodka") straight down their flat characters' throats.

Ultimately, it's the team that makes a movie like this work, andThe Losers' cast rises above its material, playing up thescript's humor and keeping pace with director Sylvain White's fastaction. It may be silly, unsophisticated, and forgettably unoriginal,but The Losers is funny and breezy enough to throw a fewdollars at.

Grade: C+