The Losers

As an action fix to hold you before the summer explosions start, you could do worse than The Losers. It's no more than an efficient time-killer. But say this for director Sylvain White's movie version of the DC/Vertigo comic-book series from writer Andy Diggle and the artist Jock – this baby knows how to laugh at itself.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the immortal Dead Denny on Grey’s Anatomy, stars as Clay, the leader of an elite Special Forces unit on a mission in the Bolivian jungle. When Clay and his boys – Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) – are double-crossed by CIA agent Max (a sassy, sardonic Jason Patric), they hatch a revenge plot that nearly gets them all killed. Of course. Why do the damn thing otherwise?

For spice, add Zoé Saldana (Avatar’s blue goddess) as a hottie operative with her own agenda, political and sexual. The wussy PG-13 rating hampers the nutjob of a script by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) and certified wildman Peter Berg (Very Bad Things). Still, the actors keep pushing. Evans, the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and next up as Captain America, gets just the right blend of humor and hardass into his role. Disguised as an IT guy, earbuds in and humming Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" he blows away an office full of baddies in a splashy bullet ballet. Tasty. Evans is the driving spirit of a less-than-winning movie that timidly loses its nerve.

From The Archives Issue 147: November 8, 1973