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Video Reviews

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Action/Adventure, Drama
Cast
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay; Zoë Saldana as Aisha; Chris Evans as Jensen; Idris Elba as Roque; Columbus Short as Pooch; Oscar Jaenada as Cougar; Jason Patric as Max
Director
Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard)
Distributor
Warner Bros.
In Theaters
April 23, 2010
On Video
July 20, 2010
Reviewer
Meredith Whitmore
The Losers

The Losers

It's the good guys with guns against the bad guys with snukes in this DC/Vertigo comic book actioner. Clay, Roque, Pooch, Jensen and Cougar aren't CIA, NSA or Special Forces—anymore at least. They're just the Losers, a band of elite soldiers presumed dead in Bolivia after a mission goes bad. Very bad.

Bent on obtaining sonic nuclear "green bombs" to spark a global war, it's a powerful, cold-blooded government insider named Max who set them up and thought he'd had them killed. And since the Losers care about kids, country and revenge, not necessarily in that order, it's Max's head on a platter that they're after. If the CIA gets in the way, well, so much the better. That just means there'll be more guys to shoot at, 'cause the Losers love to shoot.

Positive Elements

Clay and other Losers risk their lives numerous times to save 25 children who are being used as drug mules. Knowing that they only have eight minutes to get in and get back out before a lethal air strike obliterates everybody, they still do it for the kids. With a Judas-style exception, the team is fiercely loyal to one another and their families, whom they do not have contact with but hope to return to. Pooch demands that Clay and Roque settle a disagreement. Jensen keeps up with his niece's soccer games via the Internet. Pooch goes to extreme lengths to make it back to his wife's side for the birth of their first child.

Spiritual Content

Cougar kneels and prays when a helicopter explodes and crashes to the ground. An Indian man meditates and another snidely suggests Hinduism as the answer to a complicated life. A statue of a Hindu god is shown. The greeting "namaste," which can be translated "I recognize the divine in you," is used.

Sexual Content

Aisha is a mysterious operative with her own ax to grind who joins the argumentative but clever team in their quest for revenge. But first she's just another sexy girl in a bar who comes on to Clay. The two perfect strangers go back to his hotel room and kiss, with the implied intent of having sex. (They end up fighting. More on that in "Violent Content.") Later, it's indicated that they do fulfill their sexual ambitions. In slow motion, she and Clay make out and she pulls off her shirt. Her bare back and the side of her chest are revealed, and there are several close-ups of her backside in high-cut panties. Throughout the film she wears low-cut, cleavage-revealing tops and tight pants—when she's not clad in just a bra or camisole and panties. Other women are shown in bikinis or barely-there outfits.

Planned out in advance, Jensen gets himself "caught" changing clothes in an elevator. When a group of surprised women stare at him, he makes a lewd comment about his "exposure." In other scenes he wears at least one sexually charged T-shirt that suggests oral sex. Hookers are mentioned. Porn and erections are briefly joked about.

Violent Content

What's the best thing to do on a first date? Why, try to kill each other, obviously! Shortly after meeting in that bar, Clay and Aisha engage in an erotically charged fight which includes wrestling and sexualized posturing. But this is a serious smackdown, too. She breaks a bottle and a chair over his head, and the two viciously slice at, kick and punch each other. A bottle of alcohol she throws ignites, causing the room to catch fire. The two also pull guns.

Already responsible for blowing up a helicopter full of children (we see it explode), Max has a man thrown off a 57-story building, to his death. (We see him falling.) He shoots a woman for fumbling the umbrella she was using to shade him. He orders a henchman to kill 18 goons they've just hired. And he threatens to detonate a bomb.

Cougar shoots a motorcycle's gas tank, blowing up the bike and sending its rider flying. The bike hurtles into the windshield of a private jet, causing the jet and its passengers to explode—but not before the cycle's rider hurtles into a whirling engine. An SUV carrying policemen also blows up.

A jet's missile causes a massive, fiery explosion that destroys a villa. The Losers and a group of children narrowly escapes in a bus that eventually crashes down a hill. Clay is pushed from a height to the concrete below. Aisha shoots a ceiling mirror that comes crashing down on the Losers. They try to kill her by shooting through a wall. A very bloodied and mangled Max is seen after the climactic battle. Pooch somehow walks, and even runs, moments after both his legs are shot. A badly slashed eye is shown, as is a gunshot wound being sewn up.

Those are but a few specifics in a film that is quite literally consumed with shootings, knife fights, kicks, punches, explosions, car wrecks and helicopter crashes. Property and bodily damage don't just happen in this movie, they are this movie.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and more than 25 s-words. Jesus' name is abused four or five times; God's is misused about 10, sometimes coupled with "d‑‑n." Exclamations of "h‑‑‑," "b‑‑ch," "d‑‑k," "a‑‑," "a‑‑hole" and "t-tties" just make matters worse.

Drug and Alcohol Content

One or two people smoke. Beyond being used as a weapon (e.g., bottle over head, fire starter), alcohol is imbibed in bars and during sensual scenes. Max takes some sort of pill throughout the film.

Other Negative Elements

The Losers bet on a cockfight and other things, too. They sneak back into the United States by feigning death and using coffins. They steal a military helicopter, then use it to impersonate Miami police. In the process, they incapacitate EMTs with darts.

Max mocks a very short man. Metaphorically, he has fun exploring the idea of giving a 6-year-old a gun.

Conclusion

There is so much backstabbing and gunfire in this flick that at one point I actually lost track of who was shooting whom and why. Not that I really cared. Killing and carnage shouldn't be sport. But you wouldn't know that from watching The Losers.

This is a callous film, indeed, even for a picture that hints at dark comedy.

The bad guy here (Max) is so bad as to be ridiculous. He shoots his assistant dead for letting the umbrella she's holding for him flutter in the wind, for instance.

As for the good guys—the Losers? They live up to their name. Trying to save a group of kids in the opening minutes hardly makes up for Clay and Roque chuckling and high-fiving each other after blowing up a police SUV, killing any officers inside and potentially hurting passersby. Jensen (with help from Cougar) makes a game of killing security guards who are just doing their jobs after he breaks into an office building.

So as the screening audience laughed at innocent people's violent deaths or injuries, I internally detached from the who-done-whom-wrong dilemmas onscreen and took to wondering what exactly makes onscreen violence so much fun for so many moviegoers.

That was exactly the moment at which a man's body gets sucked into a jet engine.

As the audience sniggered, I realized the only answer has to be desensitization. Evidently, if one watches enough of this stuff, morbidity turns into hilarity, pain into entertainment, right into wrong.

Yes, great comic material, all those other people's demises. Hatred, casual sex, rifle butts to the head, blackmail, set-ups, too. It's all just good humor and a fun time at the movies.

At least that's what we're told.

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