The Losers Blu-ray Review
PictureThe Losers comes to Blu-ray presented with an extremely colourful 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Like a comic book brought to life, the visual look adopted here resides somewhere between CSI: Miami and Smokin' Aces. Brighter than hell, the colours are even more over-the-top than the movie proper. But it works. And it is rendered perfectly here on Blu-ray. Detail is pretty good - perhaps not perfect but, again, following suit with the comic-book stylisation. And there's no noticeable softness, edge enhancement, or digital defects, the movie displaying a nice, semi-gritty, intentional layer of grain consistent with its over-saturated look. The colour scheme, as already mentioned, it arguably as vivid, vibrant and broad-ranging as you're going to see this side of something like Transformers, and blacks are perfectly solid and deep, again due to the intentionally tipped contrast. Stylistically, directors (and their cinematographers) can often create visuals that are really hard to interpret when assessing the quality of the video. The Losers' style is not only the perfect medium for in-your-face, vivid-as-hell, explosive images, but it is also perfectly rendered here, and makes for a fantastic video presentation that's a hair's breadth away from being demo-quality material.
SoundAs eye-popping as the colourful comic-book visuals are, the audio certainly knows how to keep up, the bombastic DTS-HD Master Audio mix bringing the action right into your living room. Dialogue is only occasionally the focal point, but get the requisite amount of respect, given dominance over the centre and fronts whenever necessary. The effects and score really bring down the house, the former offering up some superb directionality (bullets rattling out all around: in themselves ranging from silenced slugs to 50-Cal cannon-fire, and powerful, attention-grabbing explosions going off left, right and centre) and the latter helping the movie retain its frantic pace (with a rocking score and some cleverly-placed song tracks to keep things fresh) through clever use of the fronts and rears. Bass gets a hefty workout and remains brooding consistently, ready to go berserk wherever appropriate. This is a thumping mix - and one which also does not completely lack refinement - and it really energises the proceedings, presented perfectly by this storming mix.
ExtrasArguably the most disappointing aspect of this disc is the Extra Features section. Not only do we not get an Unrated branched version of the film, but we also get a bunch of extras that surely smack of a potential future double-dip. Sure, there are 5 Featurettes, but they are all short, fluffy, promotionally-based pieces, with simply no meat to them. And where are the Audio Commentaries from the all-star Cast, the Picture-in-Picture Trivia Track (detailing all the locations, guns etc. used), and the Maximum Movie Mode options? Disappointing.
Zoe and The Losers takes 6 minutes to explain how Ms Saldana became 'one of the boys', and the Band of Buddies: Ops Training section totals 16 minutes of Behind the Scenes footage and cast and crew interview snippets, split into Walk the Walk: Intensive Training by Military Advisor and Ex-Navy Seal Harry Humphries, Transforming Puerto Rico, and Going Deep into the Action, which takes a closer look at the key action set-pieces.
The Losers: Action-Style Storytelling is the only semi-substantial piece, taking 10 minutes to look at the creative talent behind the original graphic novels. Writer Andy Diggle and Artist 'Jock' discuss how they helped develop their stories into the basis for the movie, talking about how the original material was very filmic in nature, and how even the flashy film version was not as over-the-top (or as violent) as the books.
Aside from that you might want to check out the Deleted Scene, a potential end-of-credits twist which would have only further accentuated the already too-obvious set-up for a sequel. It's a nice touch, but Chris North's cameo is totally out-of-place, the Sex and the City star looking wrong for the part.
Apart from the movie-related Extras we also get two Previews: the disappointing (but again, fairly big, dumb and fun) Clash of the Titans and the new PG-13 DC animated offering, Batman: Under the Red Hood, which looks quite interesting (and also gets its own little 'First Look' Featurette here).
VerdictThe Losers was a surprising winner for me, a true rollercoaster-ride action film with a great ensemble cast of great characters, snappy dialogue, and plenty of explosive confrontations. And the Director mixes all of this up with colourful locations, effective (for its modest budget) effects, a rocking soundtrack and just the right amount of comic-book-friendly slow-mo to produce a flashy, fun and frivolous flick that simply oozes style. Check your brain at the door and sit back for an absolute blast.
On Blu-ray we get superior video and ground-pounding audio (supporting a rousing soundtrack), although the extras are slightly thin, and the lack of an unrated version is also disappointing (one can only hope that they will double-dip somewhere down the line). Fans should consider it a decent rendition of the flick, newcomers who like a good action movie should give it a shot: the film offers up a solid, entertaining alternative to the disappointing A-Team effort. And whilst waiting for the likes of The Expendables, Machete (marking a brief return to the Big Screen for Seagal) and Wanted 2, action-aficionados could do far worse than checking out this flashy, fun and explosive ride. Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.31
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