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The Losers

Violence Begets More Violence

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

There is a moment in The Losers when Jason Patric, playing the flamboyant, Bond-style villain who double-crosses our heroes and leaves them for dead, shoots his pretty, umbrella-carrying assistant in the face, for no discernible reason other than to prove that hes evil.

Does it work? I suppose so the scene is memorable, if only for its descent into bad taste but it is unnecessary. It merely reinforces what we already know that Patric is the bad guy, the man whos willing to kill on a whim. His merciless style is played for comedy, and Patric seems to relish the role: Hes never been funnier. But he is without a soul, and the same could be said for the movie around him.

The Losers are played here by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada, black-ops specialists sent on a fatal mission and framed, when all is said and done, in the murders of roughly 25 children. Stranded in South America and desperate to regain control of their lives, they seek out the man who sent them to die, revenge foremost on their minds.

Director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) is clearly in love with slow-motion shots of his heroes sauntering into battle, following them with sped-up cuts of the actual combat. The effect is disorienting: It takes us out of the scene before its even begun. But The Losers is rarely boring, and its many twists and turns keep us involved until the final, inevitable showdown between Patric and his nemeses.

The Losers is a big, dumb popcorn movie, saturated in adrenaline and loaded with enough action to keep adolescent moviegoers satisfied until this Mays release of Iron Man 2. Those in search of a probing plot or rich characterizations need not apply. But fans of rampant aggression and savage violence should find their appetites sated.