Cover to issue #1 of The Losers (August 2003). Art by Jock.
|Publication date||August 2003 – March 2006|
|Number of issues||32|
|Ante Up||ISBN 1-40120-198-9|
|Double Down||ISBN 1-40120-348-5|
|Close Quarters||ISBN 1-40120-719-7|
The Losers is a comic book series published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics, written by Andy Diggle and illustrated, for the most part, by Jock. It ran for 32 issues from August 2003 to March 2006. The idea was very loosely based on the original Losers for DC Comics, a group of World War II soldiers, although Andy Diggle maintains he has never read a single issue of the original series.
The Losers' reimagining was set against events surrounding and including the War on Terror. Originally a Special Forces team seconded to the Central Intelligence Agency. in the 90s, the Losers were betrayed by their handler, Max, and left for dead following the conclusion of their operation. Eager for revenge and the opportunity to remove their names from a secret CIA death list, the Losers regroup and conduct covert operations against the CIA and its interests, uncovering startling operations spearheaded by the enigmatic Max, whose influence within the CIA and U.S. government is unparalleled.
The ongoing monthly comic concluded in 2006, however the complete run of the series remains available in trade paperback. All stories are written by Andy Diggle, with Jock on the majority of art duties:
In October 2008 Variety reported that Sylvain White had now taken the director's chair, with Dark Castle Entertainment acting as the financiers.  In February 2009, it was reported that Jeffrey Dean Morgan would headline the upcoming adaptation playing Clay. In March 2009, it was confirmed that Columbus Short will play Pooch, Idris Elba will play Roque and Zoe Saldana will play Aisha. Rumored casting includes Ralph Macchio, Chris Evans playing Jensen, Óscar Jaenada playing Cougar. In August 2009, it was announced that Jason Patric will play Max. In June 2009, Warner Bros. set a tentative release date of April 9, 2010 for the film. Filming began in Puerto Rico in July.
|Directed by||Sylvain White|
|Story by||Andy Diggle (comic book)|
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Editing by||David Checel|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release date(s)||April 23, 2010|
|Running time||103 minutes|
The Losers is a 2010 American action film adaptation of Vertigo comic book series of the same name by Andy Diggle. Directed by Sylvain White, the film features an ensemble cast that includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans.
The film received mixed or average reviews from critics and drew comparisons to The A-Team, a remake of which was released shortly after The Losers premiered.
Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar are members of an elite United States Special Forces team sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search-and-destroy mission. Upon painting their target for an air strike, Cougar spots children being moved into the camp. Their attempts at aborting the strike are met with resistance, and upon destruction of the targeting equipment it's revealed that "command" is "Max," and he has no intention of aborting. Against orders, Clay moves the team into the compound (target site) to rescue the children, finding all but one. Clay finds the last child guarded by the prime target (the prime reason for the air strike), whom Clay shoots as the man attempts to reach for the knife that he had previously dropped. The team then escape the compound with the children via school bus, narrowly escaping the blast zone. Reaching the original pickup location, Clay opts to airlift the children out of the area instead of the team. But Max, believing the team to be on board the helicopter, orders it destroyed.
Presumed dead, the team is stranded in Bolivia, where they are contacted by Aisha, a woman who knows how to get to Max and who offers to help them as long as they make sure he dies. After the team agrees to what Aisha describes as a "essentially a suicide mission," Aisha smuggles them into the United States. Aisha reveals Max will travel via armored convoy in Miami, and the team hijacks a helicopter to use in kidnapping him. The mission proceeds as planned, but Pooch is made out by Wade, head of security for Max. However, it is revealed that the convoy was not carrying Max himself but contained a hard drive belonging to him. A hard drive Jensen cannot crack, as it is encrypted.
In Dubai, Max meets with clients who are having "moral issues" with Max's plans. After rough negotiating, they agree to help. Max intends to purchase an environmentally friendly bomb called a snuke, with the power equivalent to a nuclear weapon but with no fall-out, and intends to sell it to whoever plans to use them rather than simply hold them as deterrents.
Clay and the team find the encryption key to the hard drive is held by at Goliath Worldwide Headquarters (multinational "manufacturer of everything"). Jensen breaks in disguised as a courier and tech support to steal the algorithm to crack the hard drive. Barely making it out, Jensen cracks it and finds that the hard drive is a "courier drive" with information ($400 million in Max's money) that can only be extracted at certain locations. A record is found on the drive of every location it's been plugged into, the most hooked-up location being in the Port of L.A., which the team assumes is Max's home base.
Max's clients procure his weapons, but as it is a "difficult" process, they raise the price of the exchange. Max realizes he cannot get the funds, but knows he can trick Clay and the team into doing it for them.
Upon further examination of the hard drive, Jensen discovers the $400 million wasn't originally Max's but belonged to the man Clay shot in Bolivia, who originally intended the money to go to his daughter, Aisha. The team rushes to warn Clay, but Aisha escapes after shooting Jensen in the arm. Knowing Aisha could ruin them, Clay and the team decide to hit Max's building in the Port of L.A. They infiltrate the location, but as the team gets into position they are systematically captured, with Clay being knocked out by Roque.
Roque, being dismayed with not capturing Max in Miami, had contacted Wade to make a deal: he turns over the team and gets to walk. While Clay is loaded into a van, he reveals that Roque betrayed them to the rest of the team, and the team is lined up to be executed, and Pooch is shot in both legs for his defiance. Moments before being shot, Cougar spots Aisha upon a rooftop with an rocket launcher. Aisha fires the weapon and distracts the guards, allowing Cougar and Jensen to disable them, and move Pooch to a safe location to be bandaged. Meeting up with Aisha, Clay is forced to reveal that he shot her father. She states that after they kill Max, they're going to finish their business.
Roque sees the team has escaped and attempts to hijack Max's plane full of money. Clay catches and fights Roque while the team chases Max. Wade sees Roque attempting escape and chases after him on a Ducati motorcycle, but Cougar shoots out the engine, launching Wade into the plane's engine and the bike into the cockpit, apparently killing Roque. Clay corners Max on top of a crane only to see that Max is holding a "dead man's switch" for an onsite activated Snuke. Max throws the switch off the crane into the water, forcing Clay to choose between killing Max and catching the switch. Clay dives into the water for the switch and manages to deactivate it. Max escapes and later calls Clay to gloat, but Clay points out that now he knows what Max looks like, and they'll be seeing him again.
In 2007 it was announced that a movie adaptation is in development with a screenplay by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, to be directed by Tim Story for Warner Bros. In October 2008 Variety reported that Sylvain White had now taken the director's chair, with Dark Castle Entertainment acting as the financiers.
In February 2009, it was reported that Jeffrey Dean Morgan would headline the upcoming adaptation playing Clay. In March 2009, it was confirmed that Columbus Short will play Pooch, Idris Elba will play Roque and Zoe Saldana will play Aisha, Chris Evans playing Jensen, and Óscar Jaenada playing Cougar. In August 2009, it was announced that Jason Patric will play Max.
White explained how he worked closely with the creators of the comic book to recreate the visual tone of the story. The film adapts the first two volumes of the comic book, "Ante Up" and "Double Down" and tells the story in a more linear way than in the comic books. Elements of the story have been left out instead of trying to squeeze the whole story into one film and the director would like to tell the rest of the story if the film does well at the box office.
Filming for The Losers began in Miami, Florida and Puerto Rico in July 2009. Many of the movie's scenes were filmed in many of Miami's neighborhoods such as Brickell, Downtown Miami, Midtown Miami and South Beach. City scenes were shot in the Downtown Miami area, with driving scenes in the city filmed along Brickell Avenue and near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Promotional artwork for the film was released at Comic Con, the poster was drawn in the style of the comic book by series artist Jock, and was later recreated photographically with the cast from the film and used as the theatrical release poster.
A special "double volume" collected edition graphic novel was released to tie in with the film adaptation collecting including the volumes Ante Up and Double Down. A second book to collect the rest of the series was also released.
In June 2009, Warner Bros. set a tentative release date of April 9, 2010 for the film. The release date was subsequently pushed back to June 4, 2010, to avoid going up against Clash of the Titans also from Warner Bros. The trailer for the film was released online January 29, 2010, and was shown in theaters with Edge of Darkness. An official photo for the film was released online. The release date was subsequently moved up to April 23, 2010.
The film has received mixed reviews. It holds an approval rating of 47% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 146 reviews, with a consensus stating The Losers is loud, fast, and unrelentingly violent, but it's also funny and well-acted, which will make all the difference for some action fans." Review aggregation website Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 44% based on 32 reviews from selected critics.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars, writing "The Losers knows what it's doing and how to do it. Sylvain White doesn't have a lot of credits but he knows how to direct and not trip over his own feet. The movie gets the job done, and the actors show a lot of confidence in occupying that tricky middle ground between controlled satire and comic overkill. It's fun." Cindy White of IGN gave the film 4/5
Michael Phillips writes "The movie is all revenge, all the time" but complains that the film is a lesser version of "The A-Team". Phillips gave the film 2 and 1/2 stars. Peter Debruge of Variety criticized the film as "the sort of the sort of pyro-heavy exercise parodied in Tropic Thunder. He notes that casting against type helps make the team more memorable but complains that despite the polished production the film offers only a hollow junk-food high. John Anderson describes the film as a good idea pushed to excess, and with all the freshness of last week's salad bar. Scott Tobias of The AV Club complains about the lack of humility or self-deprecation in the heroes despite their title. He notes how the film tries so strenuously to be cool and describes the film as nothing more than style for its own sake. Kyle Smith of the New York Post lambasts the film giving it half a star out of 4. He describes Zoe Saldana as a femme banale, saying actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, deserved better and Chris Evans deserved worse. He dismisses the film as G.I. Joke, The D-Team, and says that even though the film tries to do so little, it still falls so short.
Phelim O'Neill of The Guardian newspaper gave the film 3 stars out of 5. He notes similarities to the A-Team and criticises the film for being full of action movie cliches. He praises the film for the lighter comedic touches, and overall describes it as big dumb fun. His colleague Philip French of The Observer described the film as being in "A-Team territory" with the action sequences being well enough put together but that it was all done far better in Walter Hill's Extreme Prejudice.
The film played in 2,936 theaters and earned $9,406,348 on its opening weekend at the box office at #4. The film went on to earn $23.5 million in the United States and more than $5 million internationally for a worldwide total of over $28 million.
In the United States, the DVD release date for the film was July 20, 2010.
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