Jul. 30th, 2010 05:34 pm
effex: The path that rocks (The path that rocks)
[personal profile] effex
I keep going on about The Losers over on Twitter because, while Inception fandom is fun and all, Losers has eaten my brain. And then last night (while I was, heh. Rewatching the movie) [personal profile] bookshop told me I should give in and make a rec post. So I did!

You'll probably want the light version.

The basics: The Losers is based on the Vertigo Comics title of the same name (which in turn was a reboot of the 1970's series), was released in theaters back in April, and came out on DVD last week. You can easily find it online and if you like it, please buy it! Support the cast and crew, etc.

The story: The Losers' plot breaks absolutely no new ground - A CIA black ops team has a mission that goes horribly, terribly wrong and are framed for the disaster by the mysterious Max. Determined to get back their lives and clear their names they, with the help of the the equally mysterious Aisha al-Fadhil (who wants Max dead for her own reasons), they go rogue and chase Max across the US. There are explosions! Guns! Daring escapes! Witty banter! Violence! Lots and lots of violence (not Kill Bill levels or anything, but it's pretty unrelenting and a lot of people die).

Nothing we haven't seen before, right? But that's okay because, as Ebert says, "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." Right on, Ebert, right on.

But never mind the plot. Where The Losers really shines is the characters and the actors who play them - they could have easily been a bunch of walking cliches and they're not, it's wonderful.

Lt. Col. Franklin Clay (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan)

Clay is our 'hero', the team leader, and much less interesting than the men he leads (isn't that always the way?). I mean, I like him okay - he's got a roughly functioning moral compass, he's charming in a vaugely smarmy sort of way, he cares about and for his team. He's... been doing this a long time and Jeffrey Dean Morgan shows that very well.


Aisha al-Fadhil (played by Zoe Saldana)

Oh man, Aisha. Aisha is amazing - she's smart and dangerous and absolutely fearless. And, while all her badassery is sexualized (and there are a number of necessary butt shots), she is never shown as powerless or less than her supremely competent self. She has her own goals, her own motivations, and she never waivers from them


Cpt. William Roque (played by Idris Elba)

Roque is Clay's second in command. He's another old soldier and the wear and tear is obvious - he's got a lot of simmering anger and a lot of numbness. If Clay is tired, Roque is exhausted and almost past caring. He still does, though, both for Clay and for his team.


Cpl. Jake Jensen (played by Chris Evans)

Jensen's our hacker/geek (unusually athletic - leaping between buildings while carrying his gear athletic - for a movie!geek and does all the undercover work. He's constantly rambling about random stuff and cracking jokes, but underneath the talk is a highly competent yet vulnerable guy. Chris Even's plays him beautifully - his delivery, body language, and comedic timing are all top-notch.

[facepalm] I can't believe this is the only screencap I took of Jensen by himself. Um. You're welcome?


Sgt. Carlos 'Cougar' Alvarez (played by Óscar Jaenada)

Cougar's our sniper and resident BAMF (aside from Aisha, that is). He doesn't talk much but and gets all the bleedingly cool moves (aside from Aisha). Also, his eyes are amazing. Both in the talking-with-expressions sense and the 'hoshit-those-eyes sense.

Cougar, my favorite? Don't know what you're talking about.


Sgt. Linwood 'Pooch' Porteous (played by Columbus Short)

Pooch is as close as the team gets to normal - he's a competant solider but also a sweet guy; laid back, friendly, and completely in love with his wife.


And his wife, Jolene, has one to match!


Max (played by Jason Patric) and Wade (played by Holt McCallany)

Our villain and his right-hand man. Max is.. completely irredeemable - he's cruel, fetishistic (in a racist, sexist way), and psychotic, all veneered over with amiable chatter, pale suits, and an American flag pin. I loathe him. Which means he's successful as a villain, I guess?

Wade's no angel, either.


No rec post (of mine) is complete without shipping, of course. The three main pairings in the fandom are:


The canon pairing, though you could argue if it would continue past the end of thee movie. And yeah, it's pretty much all about the sex and violence.


This is what I was shipping the first time I saw the movie - Clay and Roque have been together a long time and there are a lot of feelings there. Also tension. And when Aisha says/asks [SPOILERS, SORT OF] that Pooch has his wife and Jensen has his sister and niece, who does Clay have? Clay answers 'Roque.' So there' that. If you watch the movie and get invested in this pairing, watch the deleted scenes before cursing my name. /vague


Cougar and Jensen aren't as actively shippy in the movie (although fandom tells me they hug a lot in the comics) but they're pretty, seem to pretty close (as you do, being on a black ops team together), and are otherwise unattached, which means the fandom has fixated on them as the pairing of choice. I have no objection to this; the teammates/quiet-deadly/loud-geeky dynamic is one of my favorites (I realized, typing this, that they remind me a little of Alec/Elliot from Leverage). Mmmmm.

Others include Pooch/Jolene, Pooch/Jolene/Jensen, Cougar/Aisha/Jensen and just about any other combination you can come up with.

The Losers is a small fandom but active and full of excellent writers. Major comms are [community profile] the_losers_2010, [livejournal.com profile] thelosers_fans and [livejournal.com profile] losers_fic. I tag stories on delicious as I read them, drop on by if you're looking for recs! My favorite-so-far is the one where Jensen is a werehousecat.


And a couple more pics, just for kicks:


So there you have it! The Losers is a fun movie with a great, diverse cast and good (if unoriginal) storytelling. The downsides are the violence, the sexualized violence, the US-centricism (is that a word?) and how incredibly, casually racist the villain is. If action movies are your bag, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Date: 2010-07-30 10:42 pm (UTC)
jibrailis: (dancing)
From: [personal profile] jibrailis
That picture where Cougar and Jensen are in some kind of creepy doll factory, and Cougar is half naked?

Am now shipping them!

(Even though I haven't seen the movie, which I should, like right now).


Date: 2010-07-30 11:01 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
You know, about the doll factory thing - how they were making those dolls for minimum wage in Bolivia, and later they walk past those same dolls in a store in the US?
I got the feeling that Sylvain White was at least aware of the US- ... yeah I don't know a better word either. US-centricism.

[Also that picture of Cougar stroking his finger along the brim of his hat *always* makes me flap my hands and make weird noises.]


Date: 2010-07-31 12:29 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
There's very much a contrast going on, what with the Losers almost always being a little sweaty or dirty, and Max being completely *pristine*, almost clinical in his cleanliness (as he is in his "business" dealings).

Max is very ... I'd call him a walking cliché, because he's what many outside of the US unfortunately think of when they hear "US politicians" or FBI/CIA/NSA/etc. Inflated sense of self-importance and of entitlement, the "mission" to interfere globally because he'll be the only one who can fix things "the right way". In Max, this is rendered patently ridiculous, which is why I'm coming around to the actor's over-portrayal of his role.
I know Ebert said they tread the line, but Max himself is more satire than anything else. I kinda like it.


Date: 2010-07-31 12:30 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
*thumbs up* DOO EEET.


Date: 2010-07-31 12:33 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
Cougar is my absolute favourite, very closely followed by Aisha, then Pooch, then Jensen, then Roque and finally Clay.

I think I like him so much because he's everything you mentioned and so intense, yet surprisingly quick to laugh, and it's almost always genuine laughter. I like that. :D

P.S.: Amen to needing Losers icons.


effex: default (Default)

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