[Retro Review] The Losers and Kick Ass

The Losers movie poster entire cast

Retro Posts come from the earlier days of blogging. This Retro Review was on a previous blog and imported over to this current one. Albeit not my writing style anymore in the slightest and quite ill-written, I could not let it just be deleted! Therefore it stays, enjoy. 

April brought on two comic book movies – each coming out within a week of each other. As a comic book fan, of course these movies were on my must-see list for 2010. However, I went into these movies “blind” having not read the comics. This was done purposefully. Not only did I want to be able to review these movies without the prior knowledge of having read their source material, but I also wanted to be able to focus clearly on the movie ITSELF without becoming emotionally attached to the stories and characters beforehand – as I often do when it comes to movie adaptations of prior work.

I went into The Losers with low expectations. Not only had I not heard of the comic before seeing movie trailers (bad comic fan), I just did not know what to expect – with the hype surround Kick Ass and not this movie. The moment the movie started, however, I was already deeply involved. It starts by introducing the central characters and their specialties in the military (and to their little team “The Losers”). There’s Jeffery Dean Morgan as Col Clay, Idris Elba as Roque, Chris Evans as Jensen, Columbus Short as Pooch, and Oscar Jaenada as Cougar. First of all, each of these actors enriches their characters with personality from the get go. I was very impressed with Jaenada, who hardly has any dialogue because of his character, who stood out even without saying much, and Short, whose prior roles have not allowed for much character personality in my opinion, who showed me that he is a versatile actor. Evans never ceases to amaze me as playing witty characters and he certainly was my favorite character – as I love characters that crack jokes in serious situations. The Roque and Clay dynamic was very well and intense…I loved it.

Playing the mysterious vixen in the movie would be the fabulous Zoe Saldana. [I’ll try to keep my bias at a minimum…but lemme just insert a fangirl squeal and an I LOVE ZOE SO MUCH right here and I’ve loved her since Center Stage!] Zoe’s roles in both Star Trek and Avatar have definitely jet setted her to stardom. Her role in Loser’s was played very well. She plays Aisha al-Fadhil. One thing that stuck out to me though was the fan service thrown in with her role as Aisha. As I have not read the comic, it seemed a little heavy handed at points – mainly when she was diving through a door in a rain of bullets in only her underwear.

One disappointment in the movie was the villain, Max. I liked his nonchalance and witty conversations with his right-hand man, Wade, but I felt that this coldness he was supposed to be portraying was not really there on screen. It appeared that he was supposed to be cold and callous, but I only felt it maybe three times – normally when he wanted someone killed. Even still, Max and Wade’s dialogue was very witty.Speaking of dialogue, the screenplay was written beautifully – as beautifully as any action centered film can be written. There were lines in there that stuck out even after the movie was over. Clearly Jensen had the best lines as he was the comic relief, but Pooch’s lines were also captivating and so were Max’s and Wade’s.

The more serious characters – Roque, Clay, Aisha to be precise – were not short of very serious, detailed lines as well. And let’s not forget the absence of lines from Cougar, who delivered his few lines well enough, but whose personality shown in other ways. I’ll conclude this review like this: if you like action movies, go see this. If you like comics, go see this. If you like bullets flying everywhere, explosions, great dialogue, wonderful actors, and having an awesome rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing playing through the credits, then this is a must see.

I went into Losers expecting little and got a lot…The opposite happened for Kick Ass, which I went in with a lot and got maybe a medium.The premise is simple enough – Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson wants to become a superhero after wondering why no one has ever tried. Only him becoming a superhero leads to bigger things and situations then he could ever have imagined. He gets caught up in Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl’s (Chole Moretz) fight and…stuff hits the fan. This movie is classified as an action-comedy and does deliver on both. There are some clearly fabulous jokes, quotes, and lines throughout the movie that will keep the audience laughing. Dave’s voiceover provided funny insights to things happening on the screen and early on viewers will note that he just is NOT suited to be a superhero. The fluke that makes his superhero persona popular lands him in hot water constantly.

Despite being the title character, Kick Ass seemed a bit underdeveloped as a character –superhero or not – and the bigger picture of the film overshadowed his lighthearted goodness. It was clear what the movie was trying to do or say about Dave/Kick Ass’ character, but I felt it was to cliché that he eventually got the girl he wanted, after pretending to be a homosexual best friend to her, and his life seemingly went back to normal with the addition of said new girlfriend. Cage and Mortez, however, were truly the stars of the film. They provided very dark elements that certainly allowed the movie to earn its R rating. Cage plays an ex-cop out for revenge who has trained his eleven-year old daughter to help him. Cage’s characters – both personas – were pretty funny to watch. His Batman like costume as Big Daddy mixed with the curt way of talking as a superhero made me chuckle [as a HUGE Batman fan….]. The revenge, however, that he sought out seemed a bit unjustified. Sure, the back story was told, but there seems to be only one scene where the emotion finally comes out about why he’s seeking revenge (when he’s in his human persona) and one scene where we can truly tell he loves his daughter (when he’s in his superhero persona). I wanted a more genuine character so that I could sympathize with.

Mortez is favorite of the entire film, as many people have commented and said, because of her use of profanity and violence. Its quite funny to look back and see the roles that Mortez has previously held and then gawk at her role as Hit Girl. The character is no stranger to violence as she kills countless people throughout with a highly skilled set of moves. Mortez ability to appeal as a sweet fragile girl, a badass superhero, and a scared child all in one film was acting genius for a young star. However, I must say that the most surprising performance in the film was that of that of Christopher Mintz-Plasse or McLovin as maybe probably know him as. Having just shocked me by doing voice work in How To Train Your Dragon, he continues to surprise by playing Chris/Red Mist in this film. The son of the villain/bad guy in this film, I thought Mintz-Plasse was just achieve another geeky role. But he proved to be able to maintain some form of geek-like behavior by being, essentially, the most developed character in the entire movie (in my opinion). I did like the film’s progression. It moved from a very light heartedness to something dark and then swung back around to the light hearted comedy. This was certainly a fun, must see film

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