So now we see why Chris Evans, the onetime Johnny Storm of The Fantastic Four, was selected to play Captain America in the upcoming Avengers comic book epic: The Losers was his audition.
Evans steals The Losers, another comic-book adaptation about a team of "black ops" agents out for revenge on the fellow who betrayed them. As Jensen, the wise-cracking, parkour-practicing computer specialist, Evans bops and riffs in the best combat comic-book tradition.
Sent by Clay, the leader of The Losers (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to retrieve a hard drive from a villain's corporate lair, Evans dons bike- messenger gear, plugs in an iPod and bounces his way past security, singing a certain Journey hit in high falsetto.
"Juuuuust a small-town giirrrrrrllll ..."
The movie is a stupid, over-the-top comic-booky action picture with the occasional cheesy effect, oddball casting and an utterly predictable get-that-guy-before-he-gets-us plot, but Evans and a couple of his mates make it passable entertainment.
If The A-Team is half this much fun, it'll be lucky.
The mysterious Max is the guy who hangs The Losers out to dry in Bolivia. Thus, Jensen, Clay, the knife-fighter Roque (Idris Elba at his most charismatic), Cougar the super-sniper (Oscar Jaenada) and Pooch the driver (Columbus Short, funny) are stranded in South America.
Aisha (Zoe Saldana, sexy as all get out) is the lethal stranger who tracks them down and offers them the chance for revenge. But not before she brawls with Clay, roughly thrice her weight.
"I don't want to hurt you," she hisses.
"You're not going to."
"Oh, yes I am!"
And Max? He's played with a cast-against-type glee by Jason Patric, who does Slumdog Millionaire jokes (in accent) with the Indians who supply his new super-weapon and wears assorted stylish gloves over one hand, Michael Jackson-style.
The Losers is a PG-13 action film — so the blood, profanity and sex are discreet. Director Sylvain White (he did Stomp the Yard with Short) keeps it loose and jokey, referencing the comic books and skipping past the silly plot. He also has to battle Morgan's lack of charisma (Elba chews him up in their scenes together). Morgan's expected easy journey from Grey's Anatomy to the movies has been filled with flops, unreleased films and Watchmen. He seems downhearted.
But Captain America Evans fills in some of that void with a cat-got-the-canary performance that screams "Don't stop believin'."