Cementing two weeks in a row for comic adaptations, The Losers hits theatres today – and while Kick-Ass was hailed by critics as an entertaining, awesome piece of movie-making, I’m thinking that The Losers might get a slightly different response. Okay, “slightly different” is being polite. Critics are going to chew this one up.
Based on the 2003 comic series, The Losers is a fairly typical story of a secret, government super-team getting betrayed and then having to go rogue and clear their name. This theme is in pretty much every espionage movie ever made, and this action/”comedy” follows the formula step by step. The difference this time around is that the filmmakers seemed like they were hoping to coast by on charm and humour as compensation. Sorry guys, better luck next time.
The Losers is a style-over-substance blur of a film, which creates characters and relationships so superficial, the script doesn’t even bother trying to develop them. Worse, with the exception of a handful of characters, everyone on screen is just one character in a different body. Everyone is a smart-ass, and dialogue could easily be interchanged among them. “Jensen” (Chris Evans) is supposed to be the motor mouth, sarcastic, funny guy, but in a sea of one-dimensional smart-assery, he just blends into everyone else.
Of course, all this would be fine (or at least, forgivable) if everyone was actually funny, but unfortunately for us, they’re not. Sure, there are a couple chuckles here and there (specifically, two), but that’s hardly enough in a film which thinks it’s far more clever than it actually is.
The action sequences were ridiculously over-the-top, but they worked simply because they were intended to be that way. However, while the brawling and blowing stuff up was executed well enough, the movie was devoid of any real suspense. The Losers never really pulls you into its world, and rather than watching high octane sequences with characters you care about, it feels like you’re just watching a bunch of stuff go kaboom, and you’re not sure why you should care.
All I could think about while watching is that the film feels like a lower-grade Wanted (and when Wanted is considered the higher standard, you know you’ve missed the mark). Say what you will about the Angelina Jolie assassin movie, but at least it had a distinct style and humour. Every scene in that film is infused with effortless personality, and its many shortcomings are mostly excused because of it. The Losers, however, seems like it’s trying really hard to pull off the same sort of magic, and rather than the style being organic, it feels forced and artificial.
The Losers isn’t a terrible action movie, but it definitely does nothing to separate itself from every other action that has come before it. On a weekend with Kick-Ass still in theatres, your action/comedy movie choice is clear.
As a complete aside, does anybody else find these two guys look identical?
It’s blowing your mind, isn’t it? Two different guys. Not twins. It turns out the first one is Jeffrey Dean Morgan, star of The Losers. Before I started digging around for movie info, I thought the guy in picture #2, Oscar winner Javier Bardem, was the lead. My thought process went something like, “This movie will probably be pretty good. I mean, Javier’s won an Oscar. An Oscar winner like him isn’t going to be in a shitty comic book movie.” Turns out I was right.