Deep in the Bolivian jungle, an elite US
Special Forces unit is preparing an airstrike on a local crime lord’s
heavily armed compound. The group, under the command of square-jawed
Franklin Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Grey’s Anatomy), is horrified
to see a number of children inside the compound. They frantically try
to cancel the airstrike, only to be informed that the mission is under
the control of someone named ‘Max’, and that the attack will be going
ahead as planned, thank you very much.
Long story short: the group rescue the
children, put them on a helicopter, Max blows up said helicopter,
everyone assumes Clay and his team are dead. They meander around
Bolivia for a few months before being smuggled back into the states by
the leggily mysterious Aisha al-Fadhil (Avatar’s Zoe Saldana).
Her one condition? That Clay’s men find the elusive, nefarious Max
(Jason Patric) and dispose of him for good.
A big, mindless yet fast-paced affair,
The Losers is so unrelentingly action-packed that it’s impossible
not be drawn in by its flash and bombast. Saldana is as smouldering as
ever, and a supporting cast which includes Chris Evans (Fantastic
Four) do their best to muster some semblance of nuance from an
admittedly wafer-thin premise. Patric doesn’t really have the chops to
pull of his role as villain. The dastardly Max is so unrelentingly evil
he makes Adolf Hitler look like Mary Poppins – at one point he shoots a
female assistant in the head because she fails to handle an umbrella
correctly – but Patric seems unsure whether to play it straight or go
for over-the-top comic book supervillainy, and in the end winds up
achieving nothing much of anything.
But by this point it doesn’t really
matter. The focus is on the eponymous outfit and their efforts to track
down and assassinate Max, not on his silly high-tech WMD’s or his
penchant for talking down to underlings. Calling these characters
cardboard is an insult to a useful packaging material, but there are
more than enough explosions and fight sequences to compensate, and the
end result is a fun, flamboyantly airheaded popcorn flick that gives
plenty of bang for its buck.
Audio & Video
The ‘2.4:1’ transfer comes up a real treat,
and unlike the screenplay is sharp and blemish-free. The DTS-HD Master
Audio English soundtrack is the expected mindless hard-rock affair; the
song choices border on the generic but overall your surround system is
still given a decent workout. Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks are also
available, somewhat specifically, in Brazilian Portuguese, French and
There are three behind the scenes
featurettes: Zoe and The Losers, a six-minute ode to the stunning
Zoe Saldana; Band of Buddies: Ops Training, a three-part,
fifteen-minute look at the set designs, cinematography and extensive
physical training undertaken by the cast members; and The Losers:
Action-Style Storytelling, ten-minute’s worth of interviews with
Andy Diggle and ‘Jock,’ the creators of the Losers comic, and a
comparison of the graphic novel and the live-action rendition.
Also included are a short, fairly
superfluous bonus scene and a fourteen-minute ‘early, breathtaking look’
at the DC Universe animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood.
There’s also Warner Bros BD Live capability, for those whose Blu-ray
players are so enabled. The lack of a commentary track is a glaring
omission, but much of the bonus content is exclusive to Blu-ray,
presented in high-definition and proves a satisfying addendum to this
silly, guiltily enjoyable potboiler.