Here's the one thing you need to know about The Losers: It's an adaptation of a comic book series that was styled after, and yes, even parodied 80's and 90's action movies. Once you understand where it's coming from, it will all be much easier, and more fun, to swallow.
The pre-credits sequence alone is a rush of adrenaline, which sees our heroes stranded in Bolivia, double-crossed and presumed dead. If only those innocent kids hadn't taken their place on the downed chopper. Yeah, hardcore. All the Losers know is that they were the targets, innocents were killed, and a mysterious man named Max is behind it all.
From there, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) declare war on the unknown mastermind, burn their dog tags, and make it their business to get revenge. You know, for the kids. Only problem is, they're in Bolivia, nobody knows they're alive, and they have no passports.
Fate intervenes when Clay meets Aisha (Zoe Saldana) at a local bar, takes her back to his hotel room and beats the crap out of her. No, literally, the sexual tension explodes like fireworks all over the room, igniting drapes and furniture as Clay and Aisha duke it out. Then, and only then, do they trust one another.
Aisha knows where Max is, how to get to him, and more importantly, who he really is. Obligatory ridiculous action movie follows. And that's what it seems a lot of people are forgetting- it's meant to be ridiculous. Did you go see Rambo for the social commentary? Hell no! You went to see hordes of bad guys get cut in half with a large-caliber machine gun! So, what's wrong with a dumb, fun action movie like The Losers?
Well, it's admittedly not the best film out there, let alone the best action film, but if you allow yourself to entertain the idea that it's ripping on Michael Bay, not celebrating him, it's a highly amusing romp. The cast all turn in decent performances, especially Chris Evans, who was either heavily medicated or was the happiest guy in the world on set, because every frame he's in, it's clear he's having a good time. Zoe Saldana crackles with sexuality, and this time we get to see a lot more of her than we did in either Avatar or Star Trek. Jeffrey Dean Morgan exhibits the charm and ruggedness we've come to expect from him, kind of landing somewhere between a poor man's Harrison Ford and a poor man's George Clooney.
The direction is admirable, even though it's not the most technically adept or masterful work. Sylvian White clearly knows what he's doing, and is able to let his cast have fun without letting the camera get in the way. The color palette of the film is intentionally hyperbolic, with bright, saturated tones dominating the visuals. This gives the film a nice comic book feel, while also honoring the absurdly glossy cinematography of 1990s action films.
There's a scene in particular, where the Losers are walking out in a line, next to each other, in slow-motion. I've heard some griping that this is just a celebration of inanity, but I disagree. To me, this is a direct parody of those most cherished moments in 90's action fare, where the heroes are displayed in egalitarian grandeur, as if to say to the audience, "How cool are these guys?" The titles Armageddon, Bad Boys, and Bad Boys II immediately come to mind.
Don't get me wrong, I love those movies, but I know they're bad. And so does The Losers. And that's why this film is so damn fun.