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Not having read the comic series, I have no idea what if anything sets The Losers apart from any other action series, because the movie brought little of whatever that was to the screen. Not to say that it’s a bad action film, but it lacks personality. I can’t say what was left behind, but rarely does a comic invoke a fan following with a premise and execution as bland as that of The Losers movie. After all, we’ve seen everything from strange visitors from another planet to the world’s mightiest heroes assembling. We demand a little more now.

Opening with a premise lifted directly from The A-Team, and with equal finesse, our heroes become outlaws in pursuit of vengeance against a shadowy menace within 15 minutes. Hell, the first shooting begins at five minutes, admirably. The movie wastes no time establishing what it is: big, dumb and loud. It also pulls no punches regarding for whom the big revenge is plotted.

The Losers themselves don’t get a lot in the way of characterization. Jeffery Dean Morgan’s “Clay” comes off as basically a humorless version of Hannibal Smith with a gigantic blind spot for betrayal by women, getting suckered by Zoe Saldana at least twice in the movie. Interestingly, Chris Evans provides the best character, mostly due to the writing’s focus. I was curious to see how he performed outside of Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm, a truly one-note performance, given that he has secured the lead in Captain America. His “Jake” is a smart, funny character, wholly unlike Johnny Storm. Then there’s a character like “Cougar,” another representative of what went wrong with a similar comic book adaptation, Sin City: there’s only so much comic-book cool that translates to a film. So, while his trademark hat and reserved silence may seem cool in print or on Lupin the 3rd’s “Jigen,” as you begin to apply it to real humans it comes off as silly and contrived. Jason Patric delivers in his role as the bad guy pulling the strings, though, taking an extremely light-hearted approach. He’s almost a Bond villain who’s read the script going in to his plan.

The stuff that blows up in the movie blows up real good. Cougar plays the most crucial role in the movie, delivering impossible sniper shots like the unseen hand of God. He takes out motorcycles, armored cars and, effectively, a jet place with single, precise shots. He also provides one of the movie’s best moments, helping Evans confuse his enemies into believing that he has psychic powers. These moments provide most of the movie’s fun. And, while little of The Losers is innovative, all of it is pulled off well enough for its 95 minutes investment. 2 ½ stars


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