The Losers review

Bet Hannibal and co didn’t plan for this…

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The Losers review - Shoot first, ask questions later. That’s The Losers.

Powering forward on a punky soundtrack and a don’t-give-a-damn grin, this comic-book actioner never stops moving long enough for you to think about how little sense it makes. But where most run’n’gun movies like Smokin’ Aces miss the bull’s eye, The Losers is brash, fast and funny enough to get away with murder. Literally, in a couple of cases.

Double-crossed on a search-and-destroy mission in the Bolivian jungle, our elite Black Ops team go AWOL before seeking revenge on the mysterious übervillain who’s about to ignite global war. Think The A-Team for the 21st Century. In fact, director Joe Carnahan’s upcoming adap of the ’80s TV show is going to have a hard time keeping pace with music-vid hotshot Sylvain White’s smirking shoot-’em-up.

Ripping his scenes straight off the pages of the book, White keeps the movie trampolining from jungle firefights to helicopter hijacks. It’s simple set-piece cinema untroubled by depth, logic or the laws of physics. But it works, mainly thanks to a witty script from Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) and a terrific cast.

Hurling herself through a brutal brawl with team leader Jeffrey Dean Morgan – for no discernable reason – Zoe Saldana uses sheer personality to distract from the fact her character (operative-with-an-agenda Aisha) was seemingly written on a beermat. Like a hardcore George Clooney, Morgan has fun out-gruffing cohort Idris Elba.

Joker in the pack, though, is Chris Evans’ wisecracking hacker, who nails the movie’s most irresistible sequence – gunning down security guards with his fingers after boogying to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’. Nearly as good is Jason Patric, channelling Warren Beatty like a Bond villain (complete with inexplicably withered hand). He’s gloriously ruthless, but The Losers’ smartest move is keeping its ultraviolence exciting but not explicit.

It can’t be taken seriously – but never asks to be.

A scrappy, spectacular actioner that double-barrels comedy and carnage. Stylish, slapdash, Saturday night fun.

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