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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Losers

By
John P. McCarthy
Source: Catholic News Service


Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Idris Elba star in a scene from the movie "The Losers." The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L—limited adult audience.
Though the slick, slam-bam action comedy "The Losers" (Warner Bros.) holds itself in higher regard than its deprecatory title and flippant tone would suggest, its appearance is a sure sign that Hollywood wouldn't mind extending the summer movie season to include every week on the calendar.

As disposable as any flick designed to fill multiplexes during the dog days of August, it can only make a winner out of studio bankers.

Developed from a comic-book series of relatively recent vintage, "The Losers" fancies itself far more hip and original than it is. Swagger may be essential to the picture's blend of stylized violence and macho jocularity, but the result is wearisome and would certainly qualify as morally objectionable if the violence were more explicit.

Passing for principled heroes in this milieu are five ex-special forces soldiers who, at the outset, toil for the CIA in an official yet clandestine capacity.

Deep inside the Bolivian jungle, unit leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), communications expert Jensen (Chris Evans), demolitions ace Roque (Idris Elba), transportation specialist Pooch (Columbus Short) and marksman Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) undertake a mission at the behest of a shadowy spymaster known as Max (Jason Patric).

While paving the way for an air assault on a local drug dealer, they spy 25 children in the targeted compound. Defying their orders, they attempt to rescue the innocents.

But when the first of the movie's countless fireballs subsides, they realize Max has double-crossed them. Presumed dead, our five de facto exiles are stuck in Bolivia, losers in their own eyes and fugitives according to Uncle Sam. That is, until the comely and lethal Aisha (Zoe Saldana of "Avatar") turns up and promises to sneak them back into the United States if they agree to eliminate Max.

Along the way to that goal, there's much erotic tension—and a bedroom scene—between Aisha and Clay and a good deal of alpha-male conflict between Clay and Roque.

Playing like an elaborate episode of the 1980s TV series "The A-Team," the predictable plot features a few twists before the groundwork is laid for a sequel. "The Loser's" modicum of humor is attributable to Evans' likable performance.

Director Sylvain White ("Stomp the Yard") applies a music-video sensibility, making ample use of slo-mo shots of the heroes walking in stride and letting fast edits and certain graphic overlays pass for cinematic ingenuity. The production is praiseworthy insofar as the action sequences are well-choreographed, which makes you appreciate even more that the mayhem is never graphic.

The film contains a moderately explicit nonmarital sexual encounter, some profanity, at least two instances of rough language, a steady stream of crude and crass verbiage, frequent bloodless violence and some sexual innuendo. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L —limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John P. McCarthy is a guest reviewer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film & Broadcasting.



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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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