A group of super soldiers with a penchant for sarcasm is set up by a faceless government bureaucrat. No this isn't the big screen remake of 'The A-Team,' although a lot of the story mimics that movie, all the way down to a final battle down at the docks. No, this is the story of 'The Losers,' a rag-tag band of US soldiers who have been double-crossed by the very people they're working for. Based loosely on the comic book from DC comics, 'The Losers,' is brainless but a kind of fun.
Clay (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is the Hannibal of the group except with a lot less bravado (Ok I promise that was the last 'A-Team' reference. Credit to 'The Losers' it came out first). Clay is a more reserved type. The rest of the team is rounded out with a wise-cracking communication specialist Jensen (Chris Evans), the lovable sniper Cougar (Óscar Jaenada), professional transportation specialist Pooch (Columbus Short), and tactical coordinator Roque (Idris Elba).
Location: South America. Clay and his team have just "painted" a building to be bombed by the US military. That is until they see a group of kids enter the premises. Clay tries to call off the bombing, but an unfamiliar voice over the radio calling himself Max says the bombing is still a go. Without thinking, the team rushes headlong into the fray to rescue the kids. That's just the kind of guys they are. After their botched job, they learn in a gruesome way that Max is indeed trying to kill them. Now it's time for revenge.
Isn't that what these kind of movies always boil down to? Revenge and the clearing of ones name. Revenge movies can be done well, just look at the 'Kill Bill' films. 'The Losers' on the other hand makes it a little hard to care if they get their revenge. The writers do their best to make Max (Jason Patric) seem like the baddest bad guy alive, as they show him shoot a girl, who apparently was his assistant, just because she couldn't hold an umbrella still over Max's head. Frankly, it's tiresome watching goonish villains in movies nowadays. All they do is kill, kill, kill. I think back to Col. Hans Landa in Tarantino's 'Inglorious Basterds' and say, now there's a villain; a guy that knew how to strike fear into the hearts of the people around him, and in the viewers, without just killing people for mild amusement. Max is a villain you've seen a hundred times over in these types of espionage/action films. He's too cocky for his own good, he's surrounded by an infinite supply of goons, and he seems to have unlimited resources. He criss-crosses the globe hatching his diabolical plan which involves weapons called "Snukes." Bombs which essentially dematerialize everything around it. They test it on a remote island and it disappears like in 'Lost.' "All the destruction, none of the pollution," says Max. OK, I never though terrorists were interested in protecting the environment too, but being green is catching on I guess.
The villain is crucial to the overall effectiveness of the endgame. Sure Max is a douche, but he acts like a petulant child. In the end you're not really afraid that Max is going to dominate the world with his material-sucking bombs. It's hard to root for the good guys, when the bad guy really isn't all that threatening. I guess I just expect more from my villains. Col. Hans Landa would annihilate Max in a "Who's the most evil" contest and he wouldn't even need cute, pollution free bombs to prove his point.
'The Losers' sports overblown contrast for a stylistic choice, but still… whew! Yes I realize they're trying to keep some of the same ultra-stylized image that the comic had, but after the umpteenth time of trying to stare at a person's face, which is burning hot white, it gets a little old.
The 1080p transfer is technically brilliant. I didn't see any artifacts (although in one cityscape fly over a multi-windowed building passes underneath, which has a slight bit of aliasing to note). Colors are super bright, almost to the point where regular greens and reds seem to take on almost a neon effect. There are plenty of camera filters used here to match the mood of any particular scene, blue filters for somber moments, red filters for more exciting moments. It's safe to say that 'The Losers' visuals are bursting with color at every turn, and the transfer certainly handles them well.
Fine detail, for the most part, is phenomenal. From Morgan's hero scruff to Zoe Saldana smooth unblemished skin, detail is definitely amped up. Every once in a while I caught a hint of DNR being applied to a few close-ups, but it seemed subjectively applied and never becomes a huge distraction. Like I mentioned above, skin tones waver a lot. If the actors are outside, due to the odd contrast choices, their faces appear flushed, bordering on pale. Again, it's a stylistic choice, but it doesn't necessarily make for a demo-quality transfer.
Now this is an action movie soundtrack! The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio presentation is something to rejoice about.
Explosions rumble deeply through the sub, with LFE constantly resonating throughout the movie. The rear channels produce a quality immersive listening experience whether it be in a crowded South America cock fight or a shoot out in a busy Miami street, the surround sound provides the listener with a fantastic array of ambient sound. Dialogue is very clear and concise, except for a few whispers that get lost in the commotion. Soft dialogue is especially a problem during the scene where Clay and Aisha are in bed together, talking softly. Other than the occasional whisper though, this dialogue prioritization is top-notch. Panning effects are another high point. Speeding hummers, whizzing bullets, swooping helicopters, they all travel around the sound field with ease and precision creating a very life-like presentation.
I know quite a few people liked 'The Losers.' I just couldn't get into it, mainly because the villain isn't very believable or scary. He's selling pollution free weapons, come on, how scary can a guy like that be? White's stylistic choices grated on me as well. The entire movie is edited like a music video with loads of slo-mo, quick cuts, and moving staccato images. I guess it can be categorized in the "Dumb Action" section, but it didn't really even resonate with me on that level. The video presentation is nice, the audio is booming, but the special features leave a lot to be desired (no Maximum Movie Mode?). Rent it.