'The Losers' for mindless action fans only 

There is a moment in “The Losers” when Jason Patric, playing the flamboyant, Bond-style villain who double-crosses our heroes and leaves them for dead, shoots his pretty, umbrella-carrying assistant in the face, for no discernible reason other than to prove that he’s evil.

Does it work? I suppose so — the scene is memorable, if only for its descent into bad taste — but it is unnecessary.

The scene merely reinforces what we already know — that Patric is the bad guy, the man who’s willing to kill on a whim.

His merciless style is played for comedy, and Patric seems to relish the role: He’s never been funnier. But he is without a soul, and the same could be said for the movie around him.

The Losers are played here by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada — black-operations specialists sent on a fatal mission and framed, when all is said and done, in the murders of roughly 25 children.

Stranded in South America and desperate to regain control of their lives, they seek out the man who sent them to die, revenge foremost on their minds.

Director Sylvain White (“Stomp the Yard”) is clearly in love with slow-motion shots of his heroes sauntering into battle, following them with sped-up cuts of the actual combat.

The effect is disorienting: It takes us out of the scene before it’s even begun.

But “The Losers” is rarely boring, and its many twists and turns keep us involved until the final, inevitable showdown between Patric and his nemeses.

“The Losers” is a big, dumb popcorn movie, saturated in adrenaline and loaded with enough action to keep adolescent moviegoers satisfied until this May’s release of “Iron Man 2.”

Those in search of a probing plot or rich characterizations need not apply. But fans of rampant aggression and savage violence should find their appetites sated.

MOVIE REVIEW
The Losers

Two and a half stars

Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Jason Patric
Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt
Directed by Sylvain White
Rated PG-13
Running time 1 hour 38 minutes

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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