The most distinctive feature of the world of this over-saturated, crime-Y, attention deficit disordered, B-grade action flick is a complete lack of caring and empathy. Characters shoot each other one moment, neck the next, rescue innocent children one scene, only to shrug briefly at their death moments later. What matters is not your value system but the way you strut, the design of your t-shirt, and the cool throw away line you come up with the moment before you blow someone away. Good guys, bad guys? It’s hard to tell them apart. But, hey, who cares when the gangsta soundtrack is pumping and the camera is whipping from one explosion to the next.
Based on a comic book series that ran for a few years from 2003, the Losers (who are actually the good guys) are five heavily armed CIA operatives who go by the oh-so-cool names of Clay, Pooch, Roque, Cougar and Jensen. Betrayed by the not-so-cool but mysterious Max whilst on a mission in Bolivia, the fab five are forced to play dead and work out how to kick Max’s arse in a cool and revengeful way. Enlisting the help of the oh-so-cool and sexy Aisha (Zoe Saldana) they hijack helicopters, break into heavily armed compounds, find millions of dollars and wage combat with Max and his machine-gun laden cronies, who have managed to get their hands on a device that will start World-War III. (It goes by the name of a “snuke” and can disintegrate large landforms using a combination of sonic waves and nuclear power. Don’t ask me, check with CSIRO).
The plot is ludicrously flawed and the dialogue inane but there’s plenty of style and casual destruction, courtesy of Stomp the Yard director Sylvain White and production designer Aaron Osbourne (who also designed the far superior Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). The five leading men are mostly forgettable – apart from Chris Evans, who manages to sneak something resembling character into his version of Jensen, the cheeky hacker with a soft side and a deadly sense of humour. (Comic fans are waiting anxiously for his portrayal of Captain America). Like everyone else, Evans is easy on the eye and manages to find a way to strip down and show us his bod. Zoe Saldana, fresh from her virtual blue jump-suit as the leading lady of Avatar, puts her long lean legs to good use, mostly wrapping them around the hunky, clunky Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as they either smash or pash each other to pieces.
If the film provides a meaning for life – it seems that it’s about getting your hands on a bright yellow stretch Humvee. Cool. If you claim to understand teenagers – the likely audience for the movie – you might just understand why.