In the days 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, and now we get the somewhat convoluted and generally uninteresting The Losers.
The losers of the title are a ragtag team of mercenaries—sort of like the A-Team without half the charm—who get framed by an evil world 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 is comprised of a virtual who’s who of superhero and sci-fi geekdom. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian from Watchmen) plays Clay, the group leader. Chris Evans (Fantastic Four’s The 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 has recently made her mark as Uhura in the Star Trek reboot and the thong-wearing Neytiri in Avatar.
The film is basically one incoherent gunfight after another, none with a real sense of purpose. The mission is hard to follow at times, as if director Sylvain White had trouble keeping the story straight or thought good-looking people firing off big guns was enough. By the time a showdown with Max goes down, it’s hard to give a damn about how The Losers got to its finale.
Patric tries to be funny, but his performance is surprisingly bad. He seems to think he was cast 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 trying out his craft for the first time at an open mic night.
Of the Losers crew, it’s Evans who delivers the most enjoyable performance. A sequence where he infiltrates an office building to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” is actually quite good, and Evans gets some laughs. (Man, with this and The Sopranos, Steve Perry is really whoring out his song!)
Seriously, what’s next for comic book movies? With mediocre stuff like The Losers getting made, 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 typewriter paper when I was in junior high. Seriously, I’ll sell the rights to that one for a song! I did a weekly eight-panel comic about a drug dealer called “Dealer Dan” in college. Studios, you’d 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 stuff while fighting Lizard Man and stuff like that. Actually, that would make for a good Spider-Man movie. Perhaps better than the tween reboot currently being produced over at Paramount. How about a big movie adaptation of R. Crumb’s recent take on the book of Genesis? According to Crumb, every female in the beginning times had huge boobs, and there was rampant sexual activity and debauchery, so that’d be good for box office, right?
I’m also 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 a movie as you will see this year. Wait, there’s probably little to no chance you will see it, so my previous statement doesn’t really apply, now does it?