One of the more fun (read: annoying) discussions I've had with colleagues and friends over the past few months is which film is better – A-Team or The Losers. Since they're basically the same movie, just with diametrically-opposed character development, storytelling, and general appeal, it's an understandable debate. But as a huge fan of Sylvain White (and pretty much everybody else in the movie), my vote always went for The Losers. Just a few weeks ago, White's comic book adaptation arrived on Blu-ray, and perhaps needless to say it was a priority purchase for yours truly, especially since it has surpassed the vast majority of its big-screen competition released in the last several weeks simply by being stylish, straightforwardly exciting and all-around fun.
Revisiting the film for a second time in high definition thanks to Warner Brothers' terrific new Blu-ray, I was immediately charmed by White's directorial flourishes, which manage to be emphatic without bludgeoning the viewer, and which highlight rather than overshadow the actual characters. And an early scene in the film gets my vote for one of the year's best as it simultaneously introduces the personalities of two characters, provides a pretty terrific action set piece, and proves to be an exhilarating exercise in style.
In the scene, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is quietly devouring a "meaty" steak in a Mexican watering hole when he spots Aisha (Zoe Saldana), an attractive young woman who seems to be hungry for something than just his meal. The two of them trek back to Clay's apartment for dessert, only to find themselves squaring off in a more than vaguely sexual tete-a-tete that leaves both bruised and the hotel room virtually obliterated.
What's terrific about the scene is how both of them anticipate the physical confrontation that ensues, each stretching and preparing for the fight that trashes the room better than a rock star on a bender. But the fight itself is a surprisingly balanced demonstration of action-movie gender equality, as both receive and deliver punches that carry real weight without a sense of either female overcompensation or male deference. And while the idea of a girl getting a beatdown may hardly sound like an embodiment of feminist ideals, the fact that she gives as good as she gets – and ultimately gains the upper hand through coordination, dexterity, and believable strength – offers an effective rejoinder to the wisdom that women can't kick as much ass as men.
The Losers is now available everywhere on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. And while the film's modest box office haul may not earn it the premier status enjoyed (albeit unearned) by The A-Team, rest assured that the remainder of the movie demonstrates ably that the film is far better than b-grade entertainment.