Quickie Review: The Losers

Crowd-related claustrophobia and an inflated ten-dollar ticket price (is this another facet of the 3-D craze? Theaters charging 3-D prices for flat movies, merely because they can?) kept me from attending last night’s midnight showing of the new A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Probably for the best, since that movie embodies pretty much everything I don’t feel comfortable supporting, movie-wise. So instead I opted for THE LOSERS, mostly because my date had seen KICK-ASS the night before.

THE LOSERS is the kind of movie that, should you want something just entertaining enough to watch while you unwind after a long week without any additional charm or substance, will make for a perfect evening. That it’s mediocre really comes as no surprise, but throughout the film I kept thinking that the mediocrity was intentional–surely the screenwriters knew they were repeating the same tired quips, two-dimensional characters, and contrived situations we’ve seen a million times, and felt no obligation to inject anything the least bit clever or original–as if the movie were a deliberate recreation of the disposable action flicks of the ’80s. It’s not that the film caters to the lowest common denominator so much as it feels like the filmmakers had found the bare-minimum requirements of a wide-release theatrical feature and expended just enough effort to get there.

The plot’s nothing special, so there’s no need to recap events (what I found most interesting was the inclusion of a trailer for the upcoming THE A-TEAM before the movie–it was like seeing LeBron James in the stands of a high school basketball game), but I will address two things that bugged me throughout the picture:

Jason Patric plays the villain here, in one of the worst performances I’ve seen outside of a softcore lesbian vampire flick. I’m talking really, really bad–there’s probably a community theater troupe in your town with better acting than what’s on display. Most puzzling, though, is that it appears to be this atrocious on purpose–and I don’t mean an actor phoning in a subpar role, Patric expends a lot of energy to be fucking horrible. And {SPOILER ALERT, if you give a shit} he doesn’t even get a satisfying ham-sandwich death, escaping the heroes and suggesting a sequel that, given the meager box office this film got, probably won’t happen.

And secondly, how the hell does Zoe Saldana follow up the one-two punch of STAR TREK and AVATAR with this? Maybe she wanted something breezy and non-taxing after being in Abrams’ and Cameron’s respective universes, but I’d be having a long talk with my agent if I were her.

I’d say this wasn’t worth your time, but this’ll be gone by the time you get to your local megaplex anyway.

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