Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Movie with Abe: The Losers

The Losers
Directed by Sylvain White
Released April 23, 2010

This action blockbuster is the kind of movie that academia and film snobs will likely scoff at as a piece of cinematic garbage. But for comic book fans and those open to a nice old-fashioned good time, this is superb fun. It’s a fantastic exercise in blowing things up and having a blast while doing it, but there’s a surprisingly coherent setup behind it which actually works pretty well. Not everything has to make complete sense, and this movie does a fine job of maintaining a general theme of logic and coherence while managing to provide fantastic entertainment that doesn’t feel dumbed down to be compatible with its PG-13 rating.

The most exciting part of this film is the fantastic ensemble that’s been assembled to play these so-called losers. Leading the charge is Jeffrey Dean Morgan, best known as the dying Denny on “Grey’s Anatomy,” rehashing his performance in last year’s “Watchmen” as a similarly smarmy but far more decent human being with a knack for shooting guns and killing people. By his side is Idris Elba, fresh off a guest stint on “The Office” and an amusing supporting turn in “RocknRolla,” here serving as the angry-prone, aptly-named Rogue, the foil to Morgan’s cocky but far more sensible colonel. Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada are fun additional members of the team, as well as Zoe Saldana and Jason Patric in other roles, but the real standout is Chris Evans (“Fantastic Four”), who truly appears as if he’s having the time of his life and loving every minute of it. The carefully coordinated T-shirts he wears in each scene are especially inventive, clever, and enjoyable.

It’s that same token emphasis on serving up the most entertainment possible that makes this film work as it does. A relatively short and decisively inciting introduction to why these losers are outlaws who need to find both justice and a way back home is just right in terms of setting a proper tone for the film. A roughly one hundred-minute runtime is also fitting, and the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome in the slightest sense. It also sets itself up well for a sequel, and while most intellectual moviegoers probably won’t want to spend another two hours with this motley crew, it’s likely that they have the capacity for plenty of additional adventures left in them. This is still a compact and complete experience in itself, but this is the kind of team that could come back for a second round and make it work.


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