“The Losers,” the latest from Sylvain White (director of “Stomp The Yard”) is an excellent example of not judging a movie by its trailer.
In 90-second form, “The Losers” looks like a rapid-fire, self-aware action/comedy with a pointed soundtrack and likable ensemble. In reality, “The Losers” is painfully unremarkable, completely by-the-numbers sleeper that’s only remotely positive element is being restrained.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Clay, the leader of a covert military unit called, you guessed it, “The Losers.” Clay and his ragtag, trying-too-hard-to-be-quirky team go about a standard search and destroy mission when, at the last minute, he discovers that their target is full of children being used as drug mules.
Naturally, he and his crew intervene, save the day and all is well, but Max (Jason Patric), the mysterious man on the other end of the radio, has other plans.
“The Losers” is full of the type of contrived setups and hammy dialogue that a script editor on the set of a SyFy made-for-TV movie would send back for a rewrite.
“Take him with you, keep him safe,” Morgan says to a small boy who tries to hand him his favorite stuffed bear.
“When this is over, we’re going to finish that dance,” whisper-talks Zoe Saldana’s perpetually shiny Aisha.
Speaking of the cast of characters, the performances in “The Losers” are either empty and interchangeable or scene-chewingly over-the-top. Morgan, Saldana, Idris Elba, Oscar Jaenada, and Holt McCallany all belong firmly in Column A. Chris Evans’ techie Jensen and Patric’s silly Max belong in Column B.
But the worthless story and “crackerjack” characters can be excused if things blow up real good–this is an action movie after all. Unsurprisingly, “The Losers” fails there as well. The movie picks up and discards stylistic tones at a fevered pace, but never finds one that actually fits. As a result, the climactic action scene barely makes a ripple.
Oh, and those curious about the movie’s sense of humor need look no further than the use of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” to punctuate a particularly unfunny scene. If the previous sentence made you involuntarily shiver (and I hope a lot you did), then don’t see “The Losers” unless it’s three years from now on network TV.