Blazing off the printed pages of the Vertigo comic created by Andy Diggle and onto the silver screen, Sylvain White's The Losers is equal parts comic-book fun and adult-action flick; it's a rare example of a genre done correctly fulfilling in promise and in premise even if it doesn't push the envelope far enough with its PG-13 rating. Suffering only minimally with a few glitches, White's feature film debut should be a guiding example to other directors on how to productively weave together an engaging ensemble piece of amusing mayhem.
Simply stated, The Losers is The A-Team fed on a special diet of Big Macs and Special Forces crack; they've been burned by their leaders, pissed-off and betrayed, violently scarred, even left for dead, and are now, combining forces with a beauty of an operative with her own agenda, looking for hell's revenge... and they â"love it when a plan comes together" in violent glory. With unyielding direction from White, a once-upon-a-time-ago director of music videos, the film's events slow with showcased meaning and suddenly speed-up with deft seamless motion; White, indeed, is in control of measuring camera meaning with his craftsmanship and gives the film some moments of pregnant emphasis.
The Losers, as a team, is led by the commanding chops of Franklin Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan from Watchmen fame) who proves, as an actor and in the part, that he has enough charisma to handle the leadership of this team of derelicts. Adding to the manic machismo of White's film is Idris Elba (last seen in The Wire) as William Roque who slips into the action alongside Chris Evans (recently cast as Captain America) quite nicely. Speaking of Evans, his comic timing, last seen in The Fantastic Four, is still in-tact with the events of The Losers and, if continued, should be an absolute blast to see as the Star-Spangled Avenger. Providing the team with plenty of spicy female sex appeal is Zoe Saldana (previously from Avatar and Star Trek) and her gorgeous unsheathed back, if there's a fault in her performance its that she pouty-lips about too much; she doesn't need to drip with sexual guile and tease all of the time, but thankfully she can act and delivers the action nicely.
The mischievous script, penned by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, is tightly sequenced and doesn't stop to consider the emotional damages of each bullet; it's stiff-lipped in its delivery and unapologetically punk in form and function although the criminals come across as a bit too comical eradicating all threat they pose to the situation. If its script pokes fun at the action genre, then the characters relish in its generous givings of insincere violence and viciously thrive off the comical anarchy they inspire in others...mayhem without consequence. It's a clever dichotomy really, and its balancing act makes the film much more intelligent than it needs or is thought to be... even if, at times, it comes off as a bit too misogynistic in its fantasy.
If you can survive the manic styling of its knee-jerk, stop-and-start montage of comic-book panels in its very beginning, then you are in for real unrepentant four-reel entertainment. The Losers settles into a fresh delivery (with only a few plotting hiccups) that is as smooth as the coldest of beers on the hottest of days; too bad this runner of a film isn't a late summer release as it would probably cross the finish line in better standing.
Available on Blu-ray - July 20, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; BD-Live
The 1080P transfer is brilliantly bright. At times the colors are so bright that they become of a neon-like consistency. Maybe this is the intention, since it does originate as a comic, but sometimes the flesh tones are hot white. It’s a choice of styles, I suppose, but sometimes the contrast can be a bit overwhelming.
However, The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio presentation is an ass-kicking good time! This is an action movie after all and, man, does this audio ever shake the foundation. Your sub will certainly get itself a good workout with this Blu-ray. Lows are quite low and the rear speakers provide a totally immersive experience.
While this disc doesn’t support Warner Brothers new Maximum Movie Mode format, the special features are a nice addition to the movie. They are as follows:
- Zoe and The Losers (5:41): This featurette spotlights Saldana’s role in The Losers, a mostly male cast, and provides a glimpse into the physical work that went into playing her role.
- Action Style Storytelling (10:09): Interviews with the comic book creators about their influences on the comic series and on the big screen film.
- Walk the Ops Walk (5:41): In which the cast and technical advisors discuss the training and the weapons used throughout the film and how they achieved authenticity.
- Transforming Puerto Rico (5:21): This featurette discusses the lengths the production and design teams went to transform Puerto Rico into the various locations seen in the film.
- Going Deep Into the Action (5:50): This featurette highlights director Sylvain White’s vision for the comic adaptation.
- First Look at Batman: Under the Red Hood (13:46): An inside look at DC Comics latest animated direct-to-video film starring the caped crusader
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