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Movies From the Black Lagoon: The Losers
Movies From the Black Lagoon
The Losers - 2010, Rated PG-13
By Tom Doty
Five mercenaries team up with a femme fatale to blow things up in this slam-bang action-fest from a DC Comics' series.
It wasn't so long ago that a film based on a comic book meant capes and goofy costumes but comics have grown up (into "Graphic novels" thank you very much) and now offer all kinds of story possibilities.
Here you get a variation on the 'A-Team" formula with an elite military unit that does covert operations for the Government but never with their over approval. Basically these guys will be taken care of as long as they never get caught or killed. Unfortunately they never counted on betrayal but that's just what happens to them while executing an operation during the opening minutes of the film.
Their job was just to paint a target on the jungle compound of a Bolivian drug lord so that an air strike can blow his operation sky high. They sneak in and send the coordinates but they then spot children at the facility. Turns out Bolivian drug lords are so evil that they spit on drug law as well as child labor practices. The team tries to abort the strike but they are shut down so they opt to go in and extract the kids before the bombs hit.
This turns into a bravura sequence that shows you that these guys may be killers but they have standards. They manage to get the kids out but there isn't enough room on their helicopter for the team to get out so they give up their seats so the children can escape. Bad idea. Their employer, Max, has decided to write off the cost of the vehicle as an example of what happens when men disobey him. He orders the copter to be shot down and thus incurs the wrath of the team.
The only problem is that they are believed to be dead and now they are stuck in South America to boot. They meet a young lady, Aisha, who offers them her help if they'll kill Max for her. Easier said than done. The group now uses their skills to come after Max but things get complicated when they steal his database and then must contend with betrayals. In between you get a couple of well-mounted mini-operations as they gather intelligence on Max and arm up for the final show down.
This is an action flick that delivers the goods and manages to do so without going for an "R" rating. It gets rough at times but your average eight grader should get a big kick out of it. There is a bit of vulgar humor but that's par for the course.
The film works due to good plotting and an exceptional cat that manages to handle the arch dialog and stunts with equal measure. Jeffery Dean Morgan (The Watchmen) makes for an effective team leader. He's tough but sentimental and when he offers a team member the chance to opt out of the danger and get back to his family you believe his sincerity. He's just as at home stabbing a guy in the eye so he's the perfect mix of tough yet tender (sort of like a sweatier version of Frank Purdue). Idris Elba (The Wire) is also solid as the teams number two man but he best bits go to Chris Evans (soon to be seen as Captain America) as the team's resident wise guy/con man. The toughest guy in the film turns out to be a woman. Zoe Saldana (Avatar) is amazing as the woman the team turns to for help. She's no shrinking violet and holds her own in a standoff with Morgan. The whole premise for a film like this falls apart without a decent bad guy but this one gets a four star life from Jason Patric as Max. He's the reason to see this one and has a field day performing evil actions while also making the character a fussy narcissist who is absolutely in love with modern technology.
Best Line: "That was a 'punch him in the face nod' not a 'throw him off the building' nod."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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