Things I Learned from Movie X:
The Losers

By Edwin Davies

March 10, 2011

The only thing separating me from her is the two minutes it's gonna take to kick your ass.

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There is a tendency, when choosing what movies to write about for this column, to focus on terrible films since they are often more fun to write about, even if they aren't terribly fun to watch. In the interests of redressing the balance, this week I will be writing about a film that I actually kinda, sorta like, The Losers. Or, as I like to think of it, The B-Team, since its plot about a team of mercenaries who are double-crossed and set out to get revenge on those who wronged them bore certain similarities to another summer 2010 release.

Released a month or so before Joe Carnahan's big-budget remake of The A-Team, it almost seemed inevitable that Sylvain White's adaptation of the cult comic series would be overshadowed by its louder, shinier contemporary, and despite a great cast, solid action and an entertaining script, it only barely managed to claw back its modest production budget of $25 million at the global box office. Its failure may still be our victory, as we try to decipher The Losers and try to take something away from it.


I'm typing this in sloooooow mooooootion and it's soooooo cooooool

As a student, I used to make short films with my friends. These were never terribly serious endeavors - for example, one was a pseudo-Western in which I played a hermit who sought vengeance against someone who stole his stuffed toy monkey - but I would try to make them with a certain degree of competence. The main problem I had was that I always struggled to come up with enough material to make the films up to a decent length. I'd come up with a certain amount, but then feel like there wasn't enough, so I would throw any old dumb idea in to make it long enough so that it felt like a "real" short film. Bear in mind that my definition of the length of a "real" short film was about 10 minutes, so this wasn't exactly Barton Fink failing to write a wrestling picture; I was just really lazy.

Whilst watching The Losers, I suddenly discovered that I needn't have stressed over those films so much, because all I needed to do to get them up to an appropriate length was just to use copious amounts of slow motion. The Losers clocks in at a slim 97 minutes, of which roughly five minutes is the end credits, and seemingly ten minutes is slow motion. White takes any opportunity he can to stretch the film out and make even the most mundane action seem achingly cool and important. And he doesn't even restrict it to the action sequences; there's one moment in which two chickens are thrown into a ring from either side of the screen which is lovingly depicted as if they were staring in an all cockerel remake of The Wild Bunch. Crucially, he spends a lot of the time depicting the lovely Zoe Saldana doing things at half speed, and I'm perfectly fine with that, because without the slow motion her screen time would be negligible, as she would flit from scene to scene like some kind of sexy Roadrunner.

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