Based on the 1970s DC Comics book of the same name, 'The Losers' chronicles a death-defying, rag-tag team of ex-mercenaries as they're sent on a black ops mission into the Bolivian jungle. When they refuse to carry out the asinine orders to kill a pack of child drug mules, the CIA betrays them and tries to hunt them down. Presumed dead, this out-for-revenge, gun-toting group come together with the sultry, deceptive Aisha (Zoe Saldana) to seek out Max (Jason Patric,) the evil-doer behind this double-dealing madness.

Set in modern times with a slightly biting nod to the previous administration's questionable war motives abroad, director Sylvain White's high-on-explosives popcorn film looks like just another bomb -- well, if the critics had their way. The overall consensus seems to be that the ultra-violent picture is pretty vacuous, though some point out its humor and Saldana's combat skills and screen presence as major assets.

Read what the critics have to say: Based on the 1970s DC Comics book of the same name, 'The Losers' chronicles a death-defying, rag-tag team of ex-mercenaries as they're sent on a black ops mission into the Bolivian jungle. When they refuse to carry out the asinine orders to kill a pack of child drug mules, the CIA betrays them and tries to hunt them down. Presumed dead, this out-for-revenge, gun-toting group come together with the sultry, deceptive Aisha (Zoe Saldana) to seek out Max (Jason Patric,) the evil-doer behind this double-dealing madness.

Set in modern times with a slightly biting nod to the previous administration's questionable war motives abroad, director Sylvain White's high-on-explosives popcorn film looks like just another bomb -- well, if the critics had their way. The overall consensus seems to be that the ultra-violent picture is pretty vacuous, though some point out its humor and Saldana's combat skills and screen presence as major assets.

Here's what the critics have to say:

The Hollywood Reporter
: "'The Losers' is a cartoonish nonstop action movie in which characters zip around the world, breaking, entering and blowing things up without any pretense to logic. It's a world devoid of any geopolitics, connective tissue, human backgrounds or ideals other than greed and self-preservation. It is, of course, a Warner Bros. actioner adapted from a comic book series. Characters are two-dimensional, but the actors all play them with vigor, each focusing on a single outstanding feature of his character, so their interplay within the bullet-splattering sequences has resonance."

Chicago Tribune: "With the help of a butt-kicking, butt-waving colleague (Saldana), that's what they do and that's what 'The Losers' delivers. Director Sylvain White ('Stomp the Yard') doesn't edit action scenes so much as turn each micro-beat into a trading card with a fireball in the background. For all its insidious slickness -- the deeply saturated, massively bright imagery comes courtesy of cinematographer Scott Kevan -- the film is easier to take than, say, 'Kick-Ass' or 'V for Vendetta,' both of which came to the screen saddled with misguided pretensions. No pretensions here."

Roger Ebert: "'The Losers' knows what it's doing and how to do it. Sylvain White doesn't have a lot of credits but he knows how to direct and not trip over his own feet. The movie gets the job done, and the actors show a lot of confidence in occupying that tricky middle ground between controlled satire and comic overkill. It's fun. I noted that Zoe Saldana is beautiful. I noted something else. In keeping with the current popularity of cafe au lait complexions, the movie uses lighting and filters to bathe the romantic scenes in a kind of golden glow, so that Saldana and (Jeffrey Dean) Morgan come out looking about the same. We're no longer making people of color look whiter in the movies; we're tinting people of whiteness. Time marches on."

'The Losers' trailer


Village Voice: "And then there's Zoe Saldana who -- as Uhura in 'Star Trek' and Neytiri in 'Avatar' -- showed herself to have relatively good taste in blockbusters. It fails her here, and her character, an Agency asset named Aisha, is a disaster, especially compared to the Aisha that Diggle dreamed up for his comics series. I'm not one to demand that comic-book movies remain utterly faithful to their source material; such unyielding fealty sure didn't do 'Watchman' any favors. ... But it would be nice if full-scale character rewrites made characters better, not lamer. In the comic, Aisha is intimidating, complicated, and spooky, a native Afghan whose childhood battles with Soviet soldiers gave her a taste for blood. In the movie? She's a sexpot who wears red leather pants (or, during shootouts, her underwear). The comics' biz has always written oversexualized, underdeveloped female characters. In 'The Losers,' Hollywood manages to out-comic the comics."

Slant Magazine: "The film's Max is just a generic Bond villain, proudly wearing an American flag pin on the lapel of his pin-stripe suit while shooting a lackey for momentarily jostling his umbrella. Unlike in the comics, Max isn't interested in oil or the Middle East anymore, nor is Aisha an angry Muslim woman (possibly the new generic iteration of the "mad black woman" stereotype?) who wants to hurt him, being the white imperialist scumbag he is. The movie's Max just wants to start a war, presumably so he can profit from it instead of using the chaos to take over the world.

Time Out New York: "Boo-hoo for these 'losers.' Here are some of the cool things they do: They fire large, exotic, presumably illegal weapons off the tops of city buildings. They flirt with sinewy Zoe Saldana, who, between her updated Uhura in 'Star Trek' and Na'vi princess in 'Avatar,' has hit the nerd sweet spot. And, most enviably, they exist in a world where they don't have to watch 'The Losers' -- and weep for the vanilla trashiness that dominates our mainstream"

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