Mr. Movie

'The Losers' not a lost cause

Yawn. Another graphic novel makes its way onto the big screen.

The characters, attitudes, dialogue, plot crisis and special effects of The Losers are pretty much interchangeable with every other film version of a graphic novel.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Once in awhile, one manages to add more dimensions than the two found on its pages. The Losers isn’t one of them. It’s not a huge problem. Writer and TV’s Chicago Hope actor Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and Zodiac’s James Vanderbilt team with novice director Sylvain White to give you a slam-bang, straight-ahead action flick.

Fans will love it. Non-fans, depending on their mood, might love it, too.

One of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Avatar’s Zoe Saldana head the cast.

What is it with Saldana these days? Does she have to be in every action movie? Strike while you’re hot, I guess.

The other “name” stars are Chris Evans and Jason Patric who tries on the shoes of the villain.

Patric is Max, a rogue CIA operative who double-crosses Morgan’s special forces unit. Max wants to set up a high-tech global conflict because it is very profitable. The unit must stop him and — of course — they want revenge. That’s where Saldana’s character comes into the plot. She’s mysterious and untrustworthy but knows how to find Max.

And off it goes. High-tech heists are accompanied by bang-bang, shoot-em-up, slow-motion, fast-motion, camera trick-fest action sequences and the required fast-talking, funny dialogue. Crosses and double-crosses dot the plot landscape.

Ordinary. Very. The Losers could have used some larger-than-life humor from its larger-than-life characters. Evans has a blast with his loose-cannon techno-whiz, and Patric’s low-key, self-absorbed villainy sets him apart from the cliche bad guys usually found in these things.

Not much is original, and while The Losers is not a complete lost cause, White, Berg, Vanderbilt and crew set up an obvious, and unnecessary sequel which does make The Losers a loser.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence. It opens Friday, April 23 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens today at the Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.