Somebody has to say this: Stupid is not a virtue. It's not an admirable quality in a person, and it's not an admirable selling point for a movie, no matter how many people open their wallets for films about trucks that turn into robots, or teenagers being tortured while on vacation, or once-respectable actors being sodomized by bears during ill-advised camping trips. Yes, there's fun to be had from movies that aim at the lowest common denominator. But don't fool yourself -- if you revel in entertainment that deliberately sets out to appeal to people of limited intellect, you're either a) slumming, or b) genuinely stupid yourself.The Losers makes it clear from the start that it doesn't intend to be anything but drool-inducingly moronic, with a wink-and-a-nod to the dumbest audience members. Hey, this movie is for you, Guy Who Thinks That You Should Turn Your Brain Off When You Watch Movies, it says. Let's see just how stupid we can make this! Which it then does, for 98 painful minutes, each set-up and "plot" twist more incoherent and uncaring of logic than the last.
Directed with a psychotic disregard for quality film-making by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) and seemingly written by Peter Berg (The Rundown, Hancock) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) during a weekend of paint-huffing and chugging contests, The Losers is about a group of black ops-ish super-soldiers who go after an Evil Guy they don't like, killing people and blowing stuff up along the way. They dislike the Evil Guy because, despite being black ops-ish super-soldiers who have no qualms about shooting, knifing and blowing up any number of random people at the drop of a hat, the Evil Guy brought kids into the picture, and that's over the line. So they try to save the kids. But they don't. And then they get blamed for the kids' deaths. So, naturally, they go after the Evil Guy.
The Evil Guy -- whose name is Max, and is played by Jason Patric -- is a mysterious multi-billionaire who was, presumably, running the operation, even though it was a CIA op. So is Max in the CIA? Or is he so insanely wealthy that the CIA does jobs for him? We never find out, because the movie doesn't tell us.
But then, the movie doesn't bother to tell us a lot of things and, after the initial set-up, virtually nothing makes any sense beyond "GOOD GUYS WANT HURT BAD GUYS BOOM STAB KA-BANG EEK!" White and Berg and Vanderbilt believe that all the audience wants is to see men running around with weapons, and so that's all, in effect, that they give us. Scenes take place in warehouses and on top of construction cranes without any reason given for the characters to be there. People threaten each other with knives and guns even though they haven't done anything to warrant it. And throughout, the actual plot itself is so capriciously vague as to create the feeling that you must have missed something, even though you've been devoting the same concentration to figuring it out that you'd invest in understanding the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
The main characters in The Losers are as follows:
Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) - the one with a perpetual two-day growth of beard stubble.
Jensen (Chris Evans) -- the "funny" one.Roque (Idris Elba) -- the grumpy one who thinks this is all a bad idea.
Pooch (Columbus Short) -- the one who wants to get back to his pregnant wife.Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) -- the one wearing a hat.
...and that's the extent of the character development.Then there's Zoe Saldana as Aisha, who picks up Clay after catching his attention at a cockfight in Colombia. They go to his hotel room; he figures out she has a hidden agenda. She then, for no conceivable reason, tries to kick the crap out of him, they beat each other up, accidentally set the hotel room on fire, then leave. Down on the street, not a scratch on either of them, they proceed to discuss Aisha's proposal that they join forces against Max. Could they have discussed this without the fisticuffs? Of course. But that would have made sense.
Saldana's character is female for only two reasons -- so that she can fall into bed with Clay (even though like everything else in the movie there's no logical set-up for it) and so that Sylvain White can aim his camera at her ass. White is obsessed with women's butts, framing shots around the booties of female extras in crowd scenes and shooting Saldana walking out of the room whenever possible. In one scene, an underwear-clad Saldana is thrown away from the camera by an explosion, during which White not only positions the camera at spread-eagle crotch level, but also adds the magical CGI effect of hundreds of shards of broken mirror reflecting Saldana's ass. Because for Sylvain White, one ass is not enough when you can offer a hundred asses! Whee!
Compounding the ass-laden mess he's made, White also seems to have only a rudimentary idea of how to shoot a film. Characters walk toward the camera and their faces blur out of focus. One scene, that one high up on the construction crane or whatever it was (it's never established what it is or why the characters are standing on it), is staged to best present the awesome location ... while White's composition manages to cut off the top of Jason Patric's head for the duration of the scene. So it's not only stupidly written, it's shot like White walked away to do tequila shots with Berg and Vanderbilt, and handed the reins to a brain-damaged orangatan.
As mentioned before, there is some entertainment to be found in stupid. But movies like The Losers are so uncaringly stupid, so ineptly made and patently marketed toward people of limited intellectual capacity, that they're insulting. If The Losers was a person, you'd want to kick in the crotch. And it would deserve it.