The Losers (2010)

Rating: C-

Dir: Sylvain White
Star: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Jason Patric

This plays like a low-star power version of The Expendables, filled with names you vaguely recognize, and faces that ring a slight bell. Based on a comic, it centres on a Special Ops team, who are involved in a plan to take out a drug lord. They end up rescuing a bunch of kids, only for the children to get blown up by a missile intended for the team. They vanish from circulation, but plot revenge on Max (Patrick), the man who they believe to be behind the attack. Turns out Max wanted to steal the drug lord’s cash, and that’s only the tip of a nasty iceberg of this rogue agent’s plot. He intends to blow up a nuke in Los Angeles, and blame it on terrorists. It’s up to Clay (Morgan) and the rest of his team, to stop Max before he can put his thermonuclear plan into operation.

This one entirely escaped me at the cinemas. I was startled to discover it had opened on nearly 3,000 screens in the US, for everything about it screams “straight to video”, albeit at the glossier end of the spectrum. It does at least have a sense of its own idiocy, and the lack of big stars works in its favour, the cast not being able to coast by on their past glories. However, the script lumbers from one cliché to the next, and White’s hyper-kinetic visual style is far from sufficient to paper over the cracks. It’s as if someone took an entire series of scripts from The A-Team and discovered that, yes, they will blend. If they’d pushed the envelope and gone for a hard, R-rated approach, this would probably have worked better than the toned-down milquetoast approach to orphan killing with which this opens, and which sums up the blandness generally present.