The Losers – this was possibly one of the worst movies in recent memory

The same night that I went to an impromptu viewing of Iron Man 2 I ended up watching an A-Team clone called The Losers. I learned later that the movie was actually based off a series of comic books, which itself was based off an older comic series. Despite this I can’t help but think of how three movies out this summer – The Losers, The A-Team and The Expendables – are basically identical in premise.

Anyway, if it seems like I’m just content with letting you know how shitty I thought The Losers really was and then ending this article, you’re dead wrong. I am up for writing exactly what I thought was wrong with this shitty movie from start to bottom – I’ll just divide it into acting and plot – and hopefully I’ll cover all the crappy elements in both sections.

Acting
Yeah, commenting on acting in a comic book movie seems like a low blow or a waste of time, but this is the same genre that brought us Heath Ledger’s terrifying Joker and Robert Downey Jr’s smarmy and charming Tony Stark/Iron Man. The Losers is definitely not lacking in acting talent either – Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a great actor probably best known for playing the disgusting Comedian in Watchmen, Idris Elba (The Wire fanatics will know him as Stringer Bell, another fantastic actor), Chris Evans (he’s not a great actor, but he’s like a cheaper version of Ryan Reynolds, and was probably the best part of the awful Fantastic Four films), and Zoe Saldana (she’s getting overexposed, but I thought she was good in Star Trek).
In this movie, however, you could have replaced all of these people with cardboard cutouts and gotten pretty much the same reaction. Their performances are so wooden, and even Evans, who can be counted on to bring some comic relief to a film is utterly boring in this movie. Jason Patric, who plays the main villain, is just so awful in his attempt to channel both Gordon Gekko and Goldfinger. He may as well have been a cartoon character. I have never liked Jason Patric in anything before, but he seemed especially offensive here. The least annoying turd in this shit heap is probably Spanish actor Òscar Jaenada, who has maybe ten liness in the whole movie, half of them in another language. It is just a shock to me that fucking STRINGER BELL couldn’t even phone in a competent performance for this movie. All he does is stare and scowl, and try to come off as the voice of reason but just manages to sound whiny, which is just bizarre.


Plot

There really isn’t one. I mean, there’s something to do with a bomb that can dissolve islands… or something. Max (Jason Patric) sets up the Losers for the murder of 25 kids that Max ordered. Oh yeah, there was a scene before the kids getting murdered that had a fireball chasing a school bus in the jungle… so yeah. Anyway, we fast forward a few months later (or years, whatever), and we can tell that the leader of the Losers, Clay (Morgan) is wracked with guilt because he’s betting on cock fights and drinking heavily. They live in some South American country and work and try to forget about their past lives. Clay is approached by Aisha (Saldana) with a business proposition – they proceed to have a fight that’s supposed to double as symbolism for sex, but just comes off as awkward, and kinda creepy – Morgan looks like he’s in his fifties, but Saldana looks barely 18. I can’t tell what the point of this scene really was. To show that Clay is still in pretty good shape? To show that the badass chick is in actuality a badass? Maybe they just found room in the budget to set a hotel on fire.
Anyway, several Matrix kicks later, Aisha tells Morgan (and subsequently the rest of the Losers) that she knows a way to get to Max. Oh yeah, before this scene, the rest of the Losers make sure to warn Clay that he always has trouble with women in his life. What was the point of this scene, I wonder? Do you think that maybe Clay and Aisha are going to become romantically entangled? I know, it was confusing to me too, since up until the point where they have a cold and awkward sex scene, they had literally no chemistry whatsoever. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

They start carrying out missions against Max, who is trying to steal CIA money (even though he works for the CIA, or some shit, I dunno) so that he can pay these smart people to make a crazy bomb for him so that he can use it against the United States so that he can reboot the War on Terror (the franchise was stagnant, I guess) and protect American interests. Or something like that. It seems doubtful that you’ll get it any better than I did. Each mission brings them closer to Max, but then they discover that Aisha has a dark secret which sends her running. Some dude that Clay kills at the start of the movie was actually Aisha’s slave driver, drug dealer dad. Awkward! But yeah, Aisha is totally in revenge mode, trying to take down the asshole who killed her dad, who was not evil enough to go along with Max’s bomb scheme, but just evil enough to use little kids as drug mules. I think she needs to get her priorities in order. Oh yeah, Roque (Idris Elba) is getting really pissed off because he wants out but he is not down with the way Clay is leading the group. He constantly undermines his leadership and attempts to get the guys to turn against their leader. Make sure you guys take notice of these details, North American audience, because apparently you really are as stupid as the writers of this movie think you are.
ANYWAY, boring action scene after boring action scene (these dudes are supposed to be the baddest of the bad, but they seem to respect the preciousness of life by using tranquilizer darts against random mooks) and they finally confront Max. UH OH, it turns out that Roque was a traitor all along, and he led the Losers into a trap. I TOTALLY DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! I get that they’re trying to stay loyal to the source material, where Roque’s whole persona, according to Wikipedia is “his ruthless thirst for money (which) motivates a majority of his actions, including the serial betrayal of the Losers and many of his underlings.” The words “serial betrayal” make me think that this guy betrays the Losers in every issue but somehow they keep letting him back in. Basically, he’s like a human Starscream.
They all fight it out, and after some really crappy CGI, the Losers emerge victorious. However, Max survives, obviously the director/writers trying to make this into a franchise – thank God that poor box office returns will probably kill that idea from coming to fruition.

Example of the crappy CGI I was talking about

In the end, The Losers really doesn’t know what it is. Is it a comic book film? If so, it ranks amongst The Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider. Is it a satire of action films? If so, it very well might be a successful one. I’ve never been so bored with action in my life. Maybe this is the kind of fim that would have benefitted from a better director, better writer and an R rating. But that film was already called Kick-Ass, and though it got positive reviews, it had the same disappointing box office return.

Since it’s nearly 3AM, and I’m dead tired, I feel like I’ve said all I needed to say about this movie. I think how much I dislike it is very much apparent, and while I wouldn’t say it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the worst in recent memory. It doesn’t even fall into the “so bad it’s good” category. I suppose the only good thing I can say about it is that it got me so riled up. Films that I love with my soul wouldn’t get the same word count that I devoted to this tripe.

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I should just rename this the Halo: Reach blog

I couldn’t really get my capture device working properly while playing actual games, but I did manage to record the pretty awesome (albeit short) intro to the beta. You can watch it below.

This is what my experience of the Halo: Reach beta has been so far

As it stands, I was able to get into a few games and get cracking, but had to cut it short for lunchtime. Foolishly, I forgot to record those few games.
I’ll try and get some footage up if the servers are back up again, and post some initial thoughts by tonight.

Birth of a Spartan (Halo: Reach)

If I haven’t made my anticipation for Halo: Reach known through past articles, then here: I AM HYPED FOR THIS GAME. Last night Bungie released a small live action teaser titled “Birth of a Spartan”, showing what it takes to make a normal kid into a supersoldier Spartan. Though definitely not as graphic as the description in the book The Fall of Reach, it’s cool nonetheless. Check it out below.

And here’s an extended, 3 minute trailer that I just found two seconds ago!

A whole mess of Halo: Reach beta footage

Bungie just had a media day, inviting members of the game press to come play the beta for their upcoming title, Halo: Reach. A few sites have posted in-depth recordings of the gameplay from the beta, which will be open to ODST owners and invitees on May 3rd. GiantBomb have around 35 minutes of footage here, and GamesRadar posted a video of Bungie’s own Luke Smith showing how much better he is than the rest of us puny mortals. You can see that video here, it’s around 12 minutes long.

My favorite video game advertisements

This seems like an entirely shallow article for me to write, but video game marketing has really evolved over the years into a highly esoteric art form, and any advertisement that can successfully convince a consumer to spend 60 dollars on a single item is aces in my book. I just decided I’d list a few of the advertisements that came out in recent years to promote games. I’ll differentiate between ads and trailers – most of the stuff posted here, you would be able to see on TV, or in a movie theater before your movie, whereas a full trailer would be around 3-4 minutes long and would only be found online.


This would probably be up there as one of the most successful game advertisements in recent years. A marketing blitz by Microsoft made sure that this ended up on TV and in movie theaters right before Gears of War dropped. The haunting cover of the Tears for Fears song “Mad World” (by Gary Jules) made people think that there was something more to this standard looking shooter from Epic, fitting in with the “destroyed beauty” theme that Cliffy B had been hocking. While the game didn’t end up being as emotionally resonant as the advertisement let on, both the game and the ad were a resounding success, and Gary Jules’ cover shot to #1 on the iTunes charts.


A straight up spoof of the Gears of War “Mad World” commercial, this TV spot really tried its best to show that DICE was making a game that was openly mocking its contemporaries, and cribbing from them at the same time. It starts off the same, but ends rather humorously, giving an indication of how funny the game really was. Bad Company was DICE’s first foray into making a single player campaign experience for the consoles, and it worked well enough to spawn a hugely successful sequel which came out this year. The commercial’s point is to show off the humor aspects of the Bad Company series, and I think it succeeds. While there were several commercials in the same vein as this one, parodying other games like Rainbow Six: Vegas and Metal Gear Solid, I think this is definitely the best.


Continuing the tradition of melding live action shots with CGI effects, Bungie put out this commercial for ODST, a little while before the game itself released. While the game received a somewhat tepid critical reception, it did sell huge numbers, mostly because it had the Halo name attached to it, but I’d like to think partly because of this amazing trailer. Seriously, the marketing company that did this deserves some kind of award. Who watched that trailer and didn’t immediately want to sign up to be some kind of space marine?

Review: Kasumi’s Stolen Memory

I decided to pick up the Mass Effect 2 DLC mostly because I wanted to extend the experience of an already amazing game. So after picking up some points and purchasing it (560 Microsoft Points), I took my first character and dived right in. The DLC begins with you recruiting a woman named Kasumi from the Citadel, who contacts you through an interactive advertisement. After you bring her aboard your ship, you get briefed on the mission that’ll get her on your side – retrieving a lockbox from some super-rich, super-slimy arms dealer. You go to his gigantic mansion and that’s where the real mission begins.

Your Shepard is supposed to pose as another arms dealer, and infiltrate the party with Kasumi by your side (she slips in and out of her invisibility mode whenever you need her). Once inside, you get to work on disabling the super-rich guy’s security measures so that you can get inside his vault. Once inside, you get a good look at the galaxy’s greatest treasures, including the head of the Statue of Liberty (you get a pretty detailed Codex entry explaining exactly what that’s doing there).

After that, it’s the standard firefight stuff. You get a new submachine gun (it was used to assassinate two presidents, says Kasumi) which was more powerful than any other SMG that I owned. You start killing a lot of guards and mercs and it all ends with a climactic battle against a gunship.

Overall, I had fun, and it was just something new in the Mass Effect universe, however, for the price it was really minimal. It took me around an hour to finish, if that, and the character of Kasumi isn’t really well integrated in the game afterwards. Like Zaeed, Kasumi is just tacked on to the game and the ship. They don’t have actual dialog, just the occasional story to tell if you walk past them. Kasumi herself is merely OK- she’s an Infiltrator who I constantly had to revive during the combat in the loyalty mission. She has a power where she goes invisible and backstabs an enemy to do critical damage, however the AI wasn’t smart enough to realize that using that power in a group of enemies is a stupid idea.

The Good: Beautiful environments in the new mission, a cool villain (that we’ll probably never see again), just gives you an excuse to go back to the awesome universe that is Mass Effect.

The Bad: It’s really short, and at 7 dollars, kinda pricy because of that. After-DLC integration of the new character is non-existent, and I would have liked more than a submachine gun as a reward.
Final Word: It’s a worth-it buy for hardcore fans of Mass Effect, but I think if they want to start moving from free to paid DLC they need to add something more substantive.

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