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Mercenary Mess

'The Losers' is a convoluted and largely uninteresting failure

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In the weeks leading up to the release of Iron Man 2, studios have been releasing big movies based on relatively unknown comic books. First came the immensely enjoyable Kick-Ass; now we get the convoluted and generally uninteresting The Losers.

The Losers are a ragtag team of mercenaries—sort of like the A-Team, but without most of the charm—who get framed by an evil terrorist named Max (an all-over-the-place Jason Patric). They survive a mission in which they were supposed to be killed, and the team sets out to find Max and make him swallow his teeth.

The team members are played by a virtual who's-who of comic-book and sci-fi geekdom. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian from Watchmen) plays Clay, the group leader. Chris Evans (Fantastic Four's Human Torch and soon to be Captain America) plays the group's tech guy and resident wisecracker. Also onboard is Zoe Saldana as a mysterious woman who helps the team in their mission to find Max. Saldana recently made her mark as Uhura in the Star Trek reboot and as the blue-thong-wearing Neytiri in Avatar.

The Losers is basically one incoherent gunfight after another. The mission is hard to follow at times, as if director Sylvain White had trouble keeping the story straight; perhaps he thought having good-looking people firing big guns was enough. By the time the showdown with Max taxes place, it's hard to give a damn.

Patric tries to be funny, but his performance is surprisingly bad. He seems to think he's in Kick-Ass, where characters were sort of winking at the screen and getting laughs, because the movie was a comedy. Patric winks at the screen, and silence is returned. He's like a really bad comic at an open-mic night.

Evans delivers the most enjoyable performance. A sequence depicting him infiltrating an office building to the tune of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" (Man, with this and The Sopranos, Steve Perry is really whoring out his song!) is actually quite good, and Evans gets some laughs.

Seriously, what's next for comic-book movies? Moviemakers are definitely turning over rocks and finding so-so cult stuff to make movies about. I'm becoming confident that every comic book in history will eventually be made into a movie.

Say, I used to draw comics on typewriting paper when I was in junior high. Maybe I'll sell the rights! I also did a weekly eight-panel comic about a drug dealer called "Dealer Dan" in college. However, the studios would need a little more cash to secure the rights for that one. It was actually kind of cool.

When I was a kid, I used to collect Electric Company comic books that featured Spider-Man teaching kids important lessons while fighting Lizard Man and stuff. Actually, that would make for a good Spider-Man movie—perhaps better than the tween reboot currently being produced by Columbia. How about a big adaptation of R. Crumb's recent take on the Book of Genesis? According to Crumb, every female in beginning times had huge boobs, and there was rampant sexual activity and debauchery—so that'd be good for box-office receipts, right? I'm surprised they haven't made a live-action Charlie Brown movie yet.

Whatever studios do, I doubt it will involve a sequel to The Losers. After its release, the nation went, "Meh?" and that was that. This is as forgettable of a movie as you will see this year. Actually, there's little to no chance you will see it, so my previous statement doesn't really apply.

Related Film

The Losers

Official Site: www.the-losers.com

Director: Sylvain White

Producer: Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman, Kerry Foster, Stuart Besser, Steve Richards, Andrew Rona and Sarah Aubrey

Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Óscar Jaenada, Jason Patric, Holt McCallany, Peter Macdissi, Peter Francis James, Tanee McCall, Ernesto Morales and Evan Miranda

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