Warner Bros.' The Losers is what it is. Is it a great epic film? No. Is it carefree entertainment dead-aimed at a primarily male audience? Yes. The action-comedy based on the DC and Vertigo comic of the same title follows the story of five members of the United States Special Forces on a mission in Bolivia. They wind up being betrayed at the hands of a powerful man known as Max (Jason Patric) and narrowly escape death after rescuing 25 innocent children from criminal Fadhil (Peter Francis James), having them board a plane to safety. They realize only moments later that they, led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), were in fact the intended targets of the hit which destroyed that same plane. The team of five are then declared dead back home in the United States, but meanwhile they are still in Bolivia plotting their revenge plan against Max which brings them back to the United States.
Appearing out of nowhere is sexy Aisha (Zoë Saldana) whom Clay clearly has an attraction to, but all is not well as he soon realizes that this mysterious girl is indeed dangerous after a vicious yet sexily choreographed fight sequence with her. He learns that she also holds key information that might aid him in his revenge plot. Roque (Idris Elba) is distrusting of Aisha who joins the team of five and this dissolves the bond among them, particularly with Clay.
Meanwhile, we learn that Max is looking to acquire high-tech weapons of mass destruction from India, thinking that he has successfully assassinated the team of five. He learns though that this isn't the case and pulls out all the stops with his money and power to stop them in their tracks, but the question is whether or not the team will in effect self-destruct with all their internal conflict.
There are many problems with Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt's script. The character of Clay is supposed to be written as that of the hero, however despite starting off very present early on, he winds up fading to the background as the story progresses. Without him being the focal point of the story, everything else seems to lack focus. The love affair between him and Aisha also begins at a feverish temperature but fizzles quickly, never really developing enough to give The Losers the tension it truly needs to be an engaging story.
Jason Patric, whom I normally love, is miscast as the villain here as he only skims the surface of evil. I suspect though that this might be a problem with the script in addition to the lacking direction from Sylvain White. The camera however, absolutely loves Chris Evans who seems to account for most of the film's moments of fun as the brainy and awkward Jensen. I will admit though that his smoldering good looks seem to hinder a fully effective transition into his role.
The Losers is in wide release Friday, April 23, 2010. Walk in with no other expectation than to be entertained by boys and their toys and you should come away feeling reasonably entertained. Grade: C+