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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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Columban: Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor. 
<p>After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture. </p><p>Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.</p> American Catholic Blog There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. –Bishop Fulton Sheen

 
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