I'll admit it. Upon watching The Losers
a second time, mixed emotions trickled through. (Let's not
call it a flood; I didn't have that much passion for it
a movie, it didn't disappoint me as much as
it did when I saw it in the theaters, because I already
knew the more grating elements and could focus on enjoying
the work of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Idris Elba,
or as I like to think of them, The Comedian, The Captain
Human America Torch and Heimdall. And Zoe Saldana really
tries hard in an underwritten role.
And that's where a different kind of disappointment
crept in. After my first viewing, I picked up the first
two volumes of Andy Diggle and Jock's original Vertigo comic
book series. The appeal of transferring that to film is
obvious; these books are gripping, edgy and a skewed reflection
of everyone's paranoia about today's international intrigue.
And heck, as the creative team admits in an included featurette,
they meant for The Losers to be an homage to action
Director Sylvain White also saw the same
thing, because in places his film tries to be a faithful
recreation of the book. (That's not necessarily a bad thing.)
But the Vertigo book is an R rated film, not a PG-13 one.
To reach that fabled "wider audience," the movie had to
gut the very edge that made it attractive.
Where the source material deals with political
conspiracies and much greyer areas, the movie flattens out
into a much more, well, stereotypical "comic book" story.
Yet White keeps sneaking in pieces of that more complex
Diggle seems okay with it in the featurette,
but then, that's promotional work. Luckily, much of that
featurette focuses on their work on the book, and for that,
it's worth taking a look. Also intriguing - and frustrating
- is a deleted scene that makes it clear that at one point,
the filmmakers did intend to hew much more closely to the
source, with a different actor in the role ultimately played
by Jason Patric.
With only that one scene included, we'd
have to infer there's not enough to warrant an "unrated"
version for those looking for it. What you see here is what
there is - a friendly enough action movie full of pieces
of other movies and a few really clever set pieces
(lifted from the comic book). This doesn't even have commentary,
but really, that's okay.
It does offer a taste of the cast's training
with an ex-Navy Seal, and a behind-the-scenes look at both
the action sequences and Saldana bonding with the boys.
For fans of the comic, it might even be worth it just for
the interview with Diggle and Jock.
sound and picture also have a great transfer, so if you
like flame, explosions, Zoe Saldana sweating and flame and
explosions making Zoe Saldana sweat, you may want to pick