AWFJ Women On Film – “The Losers” – Review by Susan Granger

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Somewhere in the jungles of Bolivia, Special Forces ops have scoped out the hacienda of a narcotics kingpin and signaled for a military air strike to blow it to bits. But wait, the sneaky drug lord has just brought in a busload of 25 children as his mules!

The unit leader, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), along with explosives expert Roque (Idris Elba), sharp-shooting sniper Cougar (Oscar Jaenada), computer specialist Jensen (Chris Evans) and transport whiz Pooch (Columbus Short), nobly advise command to abort the hit because of the presence of innocent kids but a mysterious CIA phone voice, identified as Max (Jason Patric), not only doesn’t care but sets them up for slaughter.

Presumed dead, those five expendable “losers” become fugitives, vow revenge and are bankrolled by sexy, secretive Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who smuggles them back into the States in coffins. It seems Clay has a weakness for lethal women, especially those who engage in hand-to-hand combat and burn down his hotel. Meanwhile in Dubai, sadistic, psychopathic Max with his smarmy henchman Wade (Holt McCallany) has arranged to buy “snukes” – a.k.a. sonic dematerializer nuclear weapons – to use for his own nefarious purposes. Then there’s a heinous, if surprising double-cross. Sound confusing? It is.

Based on DC Comics/Vertigo by Andy Diggle and adapted by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, it’s directed by Sylvian White (“Stomp the Yard”) whose background in video has obviously informed his slick, stylized, sledgehammer, blood-splattering choices with rapid-fire editing which make no sense at all. Ever since he charmed audiences on “Grey’s Anatomy” as doomed Denny, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has shown a James Bond-like charisma, while Zoe Saldana proves she doesn’t need the blue body-paint of “Avatar” animation and Chris Evans (“The Fantastic Four”) demonstrates why he was chosen to play Captain America in the upcoming “Avengers.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Losers” is an aptly named, flamboyant, frustrating 4. It’s silly, hollow, mindless mayhem adhering to the proposition that anything worth doing is worth over-doing, including setting up for a sequel.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.