The Losers (Warner Bros. Pictures, PG-13)

The plot could not be more unoriginal: a group of CIA Special Forces is sent to Bolivia to “dispatch” a generic bad guy who hides deep in the rainforest.

Yet another in an ever-growing line of graphic novel-turned-movie attempts, The Losers is a muddled mix of genres and performances that, while still very entertaining, amounts to little more than a combination of explosions, one-liners and gunfights.

Director Sylvain White experiments with so many different styles of cinema that the audience is frequently lost in the shuffle. He introduces the characters while interspersing comic book graphics a la Ang Lee’s Hulk, but quickly forgets (or dismisses) that style and switches gears into a more straightforward action shoot ‘em up that feels like Predator on crack.

The plot could not be more unoriginal: a group of CIA Special Forces is sent to Bolivia to “dispatch” a generic bad guy who hides deep in the rainforest. When the team, led by Colonel Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), realizes there are children in the compound they try to abort the mission. Quickly they realize that they have been set up by an unknown individual who blows up the helicopter that was carrying the children to safety and which was supposed to be carrying the team as well. Presumed dead, the Losers are forced into exile in Bolivia until they can find a way back into the United States.

Clay is visited by sexy and incredibly flexible woman named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who knows all about the Losers and the man who set them up. The man, named Max (Jason Patric), is an incredibly rich psychopath who is attempting to buy weapons that can (wait for it) disintegrate entire islands. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s the ultimate weapon in eco-terrorism, we’re told. In a nutshell, Aisha has unlimited funds and resources which she will put at the Losers’ disposal if they promise to find and kill Max. Also, she can get them back in the States and clear their names with the government.

You can probably guess what the rest of the movie is like. To be fair, there are some great fight scenes, especially between Morgan and Saldana, and there is never a shortage of explosions. The plot is just so thin and familiar that even the special effects galore can’t save the movie from becoming boring very quickly.

There is nothing to say about the performances of any of the actors because they’re all playing characters identical to ones they’ve played before. Saldana is sexy and secretive and is probably the strongest actor in the bunch. Chris Evans is the smartass computer geek whose name might as well be Comic Relief. Idris Elba plays Roque, Clay’s closest friend among the bunch, but is essentially just the strong, intimidating black man everyone is supposed to be afraid of. The only redeeming performance is Patric who, for once, looks like he’s having fun in his role instead of being an expressionless drone.

The Losers is not the worst comic book adaptation to come out in recent years (that title goes to Wanted) and can a great escapist guilty pleasure at times, but don’t expect much more than bad dialogue, bad acting and explosions…lots of explosions. | Matthew F. Newlin


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