Warner Bros. | 2010 | 97 mins. | Rated PG-13

A classic action movie, The Losers is based on a comic book series of the same name. Smartly, the film pays homage to its drawn beginnings and then quickly morphs into a sleek and efficient thrill ride. There’s no doubt that non-stop actioners like this can often be far too overwrought and manic, when helmed by director’s looking to create a testosterone high. Thankfully, it seems as though director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard, I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer), attempted to create a cohesive story with a discernable plot. The Losers is straightforward; no gargoyles.

The LosersFive members of an elite United States Special Forces team are sent on a mission to target a Bolivian drug lord. They are forced to abort when a bus full of school children are seen entering the target. Their C.I.A. point man, Max (Jason Patric), orders a plane to carry out the bombing run. The team, led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) engages the enemy on the ground, rescuing the children while presumably accomplishing the mission. A helicopter lands to pick them all up. As it turns out, there’s no room for the team, just the kids. Moments later the helicopter blows up.

“That was supposed to be us,” they say, regarding the smoldering wreckage. A close-up of flames still licking at a toy bear that was established earlier as belonging to one of the kids. Ripping off their dog tags and throwing them into the still smoldering flames, the elite Special Forces team is now the Losers, wholly dedicated to bringing the mysterious Max to justice. Besides Clay, the Losers consists of four others: Roque (Idris Elba) the second in command, Jensen (Chris Evans) a hacker and a motor mouth,  Linwood ‘Pooch’ Porteous (Columbus Short) a pilot and Carlos ‘Cougar’ Alvarez (Óscar Jaenada), the sniper.

Early in the film, we meet Aisha (Zoe Saldana). Aisha is an exceptionally beautiful woman and knows how to use it to her advantage. Posing as a bar girl, she seduces her way into Clay’s room. The two then proceed to have a knockdown, drag out fight, destroy the room and burn down the hotel. Ah, but before you know it, the two are on the same side, and Clay is trying to convince his colleagues to trust her.

While there’s clearly good reason to wonder if Aisha can be trusted, turning her away really isn’t an option. She knows who Max really is, where he is, and how to get to him. She also has the money to get the team to the United States provide them with weapons, rent them helicopters etc.

As villains go, it may take a while for audiences to warm to actor Jason Patric and his mild approach. However, give it time and you’ll realize he does snarky very well. There’s a beach scene that showcases Patric’s villainous abilities perfectly: It takes place on a beach. Max’s curvaceous servant shades him with an umbrella. The wind blows the umbrella aside for a second. Max calmly shoots her. This guy doesn’t waste a lot of unnecessary energy.

At the end of the day, The Losers isn’t particularly original—and Max’s bad deeds are somewhat undermined by a particularly unconvincing weapon of mass destruction—but the constant action and jokes the audience are allowed to be a part of, help to save the day. The Losers is one of those films that could have easily been a flat out dud. Instead, if you don’t try to make total sense of it, you might just have fun enjoying the ride. I certainly did.

The VC-1 transfer delivers good clarity, detail, and definition, and very deep black levels involved in the disc production. We also find colors that look extremely bright and intense, with every hue practically glowing. The colors are, in fact, very much like a comic book, and not at all realistic. I suppose that was the director’s intent, but it’s a bit much.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is  big, bold, dynamic, and immersive. We hear excellent transient response, strong impact, deep bass, and widespread aural effects like bullets, bombs, and shattering glass in all the front, side, rear, and center speakers. A pounding, nerve-shattering musical score by composer John Ottman accompanies almost moment.

Though we get a standard DVD and Digital Copy, the Blu-ray special features are decidedly disappointing. We get a selection of featurettes, most of them promoting rather than illuminating the movie. First up is “Zoe and The Losers,” about six minutes with actress Zoe Saldana and her interactions with the rest of the cast. Then there is a three-part featurette, “Band of Buddies: Ops Training,” that includes “Walk the Ops Walk,” six minutes on the cast and characters; “Transforming Puerto Rico,” five minutes on production in that country; and “Going Deep into the Action,” six minutes on the stunts and special effects. Then we find a separate featurette, “The Losers: Action-Style Storytelling,” about ten minutes with the writers and filmmakers. After that is a Sneak Peek First Look at the animated film “Batman: Under the Red Hood,” about thirteen minutes; and a deleted scene, checking in at less than a minute.

[xrrgroup][xrr label=”Video:” rating=”3.5/5″ group=”s1″ ] [xrr label=”Audio:” rating=”4.5/5″ group=”s1″] [xrr label=”Extras:” rating=”3.0/5″ group=”s1″] [xrr label=”Film Value:” rating=”3.5/5″ group=”s1″] [/xrrgroup]