Warner took kind of a gamble on The Losers. While it was another one of their own properties from their archive of comic books, it was untested and casting of relatively low-grade actors (no offense guys) in the leads appropriately showed how much clout they put behind it. The actors pulled their weight appropriately and worked with what they were given but at the end of the day The Losers was a film that was a bit too appropriately named. It is, in essence, something like The A-Team…only this somehow felt even shallower than a TV show pilot. At the very least the studio made their money back, if only just, in theaters so home video sales should all just be icing.
An explosive action tale of betrayal and revenge, The Losers centers around an elite Special Forces unit sent to the Bolivian jungle on a search-and-destroy mission. But the team – Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar – soon find that they have become the target of a deadly double cross instigated by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Making good use of the fact they’re now presumed dead, the group goes deep undercover in a dangerous plot to clear their names and even the score with Max.
The film certainly starts out eagerly enough. There’s an incredibly sense of loyalty and comradery between all of the teammates and it seems nothing can separate them…and to be honest the thought of any of them betraying one another never occurred to me, which made the ultimate resolution to this film all the more surprising. Of course I also, admittedly, wasn’t even paying close attention to half of the plot as it felt a little too loose and nonsensical for me to notice. There was a definite end goal to it all, of course, but the way the team went about it just seemed aimless, as if it was designed in a way just to show as much of them being a cool team as possible. Granted that’s what the audience wants to see, but we got a little too much of that and not enough of a focus on other things that mattered…like a plot that doesn’t feel like it was torn out of an 80s film.
There were a few interesting elements that they gave to this film. The aforementioned team member twist as well as the changeup for Zoe Saldana’s character were both unique ways to approach the material and kept a kind of “well, what happens next?” air about the film going. It was also great that the team frequently got shot up, so they weren’t just impervious to bullets or constantly put against bad guys who couldn’t shoot. Granted they healed rather quickly, but still at least they shed some blood.
But aside from that the film was just too rushed and too uneven. It would’ve made a great pilot for a TV show, but as a feature film it was laughable. The special effects were a little too obvious and some of the dialogue was just downright cheesy. This did add to the fun factor, of course, but some things are best in moderation and this one just overused them to an annoying degree. There were also the cutaway sequences to the villain that seemed like needless exposition—we got from the first few scenes with him what kind of guy he was, but we just continued to get more of the same scenes. Then there was the big with to-do with the one characters wife being pregnant; we saw her oh-so-briefly in the opening of the film and then not again until the end. I guess I expected too much from this film, but even as a mindless action film it’s still lacking.
In the end it’s not a terrible film and one still worth a Rental, but I get similar and more entertaining storylines and acting out of Human Target (assuming it comes back for a second season, anyway). As I said, this would have made a killer TV pilot…but as a film it’s just incredibly rushed and simultaneously hollow feeling. We don’t have enough time for the entire story to flesh itself out and we spend too much time on irrelevant things like screen time with our villain or shots of Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in bed.
Warner brings The Losers to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Inside is the usual pairing of discs (one Blu-ray, one DVD/Digital Copy combo) and an abysmal collection of extras. But as with any modern action film on Blu-ray, we get a killer A/V presentation and that will be just about the only thing to bring you back again for a second viewing if you desire a subwoofer test.
We’ll start off with the films spectacular looking VC-1 encoded 1080p picture. There is a lot of blown out contrast moments in this film and they all look exceptional; night time sequences are inky black and a nice grain is given at all the proper times. It’s a damn near flawless looking presentation and everything from sweat to clothing detail is rendered faithfully. Sadly the images clarity does make some of the films special effects look even hokier than they are (mainly just that final bit with the plane and bike), but that’s the kind of stuff you have to deal with when it comes to lower budget films. At the very least it’s a lively looking presentation and one that will not leave you disappointed.
Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and just as you’d hope from a film that centers on a team of soldiers blowing stuff up, there is an aural cornucopia of noise that resonates from the speakers for about 60% of the movies run time. There are the occasional quiet sequences, but unless they’re completely isolated in a building then there’s plenty of chatter in the surrounds as well. LFE output is absolutely deafening at times as everything from bullets to rocket launchers have their time in the sun here, thudding and clanking with extreme (and beautiful) noise.
Extras are sadly quite limited. Included:
Zoe and the Losers (6 minutes, 1080p)
Band of Buddies OPS Training (16 minutes, 1080p)
The Losers: Action-Style Storytelling (10 minutes, 1080p)
Deleted Scene (1 minute, 1080p)
A First Look at Batman: Under the Red Hood (14 minutes, SD)
The featurettes are fairly forgettable affairs, although the deleted scenes features a great cameo by Chris Noth, which I’m mildly surprised didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. The rest of the featurettes show off the usual behind the scenes making-of EPK type fodder you’d expect from these films and sadly don’t really stand out from the pack.
Overall a Rental.
The Losers is now available on Blu-ray/DVD and DVD.