THE LOSERS:

This fast-paced, action-packed movie is a prime example of original comic book material adapted to its appropriate form on-screen. The title characters (Idris Elba, Chris Evans, Oscar Jaenada, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Columbus Short) are special forces operatives with various skills out to find a shadowy figure named “Max” (Jason Patric) who attempted to have them killed on a Bolivian mission to capture a drug lord. The mood and tone are tongue-in-cheek throughout the film which, like KICK-ASS, is never meant to be taken seriously or have you believe that any of what transpires could actually happen in real life. But even escapist fantasy requires strong production to work, and all of those parts are present, including the tight editing of David Checel, which really moves this movie as does John Ottman’s highly energetic musical scoring. Scott Kevan’s camerawork is flashy and stylish enough to give scenes an anarchic surge that always pulls in the reins before crossing the line into distraction. The dialogue by screenwriters Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt is cleverly ironic with the best lines being delivered with aplomb by Patric (THE LOST BOYS) who for the first time in a lengthy and heretofore undistinguished career demonstrates some justification for his ability to keep getting work. Since the DC Comics’ characters were comparatively obscure even in their realm, casting relative unknowns in the title roles proves to be a smart move with the players who all understand what’s required of them delivering better than adequate performances. Rare is the movie that understands what it needs to accomplish and delivers nearly every element of that vision. THE LOSERS does this and it’s semi-extreme fun to boot. CRITIC’S GRADE: B+

MOVIES TO WATCH FOR IN MAY: BABIES (May 7), IRON MAN 2 (May 7), LETTERS TO JULIET (May 14), ROBIN HOOD (May 14), MacGRUBER (May 21), SHREK FOREVER AFTER (May 21), SEX AND THE CITY 2 (May 27), MICMACS (May 28), PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (May 28)