PictureThe Losers comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p resolution encoded with the AVC codec and framed within a theatrically correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
The style employed by Cinematographer Scott Kevan to bring the film in line with the comic book is decidedly unsubtle. The blown image is full of oversaturated colours akin to hitting the “vivid” mode on your display – fear not, that’s how it was intended to look. Primaries are less colours and more visual weapons designed to blind as they sear the screen with their intensity. Unfortunately a few shades don’t cope with this palette so well on this transfer and the complexity of certain foliage-rich scenes proves somewhat taxing. Skin tones can also waver with the white pair of Morgan and Evans coming off the worse for this wobble as their lips take on a decidedly pinkish hue at times. The upside to this bold and brash approach to all things colourful is an image that can give that deceptive 3D quality that high def fans so crave.
Delineation is pretty good, but suffers in the middle distance, be it under bright or low lighting. This slight haziness extends to the detail as well, with fine textures largely indistinguishable when not in close focus. From scene to scene there is little in the way of true consistency in the many aspects of the visuals except for their lack of finesse and emphasis on impact. At times razor sharp and rich and at others slightly muddy and soft – it has the ability to pop from the screen, but just doesn’t show it quite enough.
SoundThe two options available are; English LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. I opted for the latter as you can’t watch an action film without a sub can you?
Like the image, the audio aims squarely for the stylish at the expense of finesse. It won’t take long for your rears to spring to life with activity, with flashy pans and all manner of whizzy techniques. This helps create an atmosphere of mayhem, and the bass lends more than a hand to that end. The fronts too are surprisingly forceful but, coupled with the LFE, can find integration a little off in terms of depicting gunfire. With the amount of bullets flying it was to be expected and it definitely doesn’t mar the experience. This is bold, brash audio designed to shake and cover over any cracks with a constant barrage of noises. The surprising element is just how much directionality has been brought to the fore, with pans showing signs of delicacy at times in amongst the constant flurry of shell casing and ricochets..
The centre generally manages to keep up with the action, remaining at a good volume but occasionally the husky, whispered voices dip beneath the music. Speaking of which, the score is brought to life nicely, with a sound that is rich but not warm, staying tight and filling the room – Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing is almost good enough to make you forget the kids from Glee covered it. The track may be a bit gimmicky with regards the surround speakers and lack the kind of LFE integration that would have made it perfect, but there is enough activity and good presentation of speech and music to make it worthwhile.
ExtrasAudio Commentary with Andy Diggle and Jock
This UK exclusive commentary track features both the original writer and artist of the comic book, who speak well about the imagery used, the new artwork inserted, the characters and much else besides. They prove knowledgeable about the shoot but mainly stick to the plot, their inspirations and the differences made in the adaptation, as well as having a bit of a laugh between themselves.
Zoe and The Losers – 1080p – 5:42
Various cast and crew discuss the character of Aisha and the actress who played her. There are some nice bits of on-set footage as well as the usual back slapping.
Action Style Story Telling – 1080p – 10:09
A brief glimpse into the creation of the comic, from its cinematic inspirations to finally gracing the silver screen. Diggle, Jock and some faces behind the film all give their views about what makes the comic, but obviously it is the former pair who prove to be more insightful given it is their creation.
Band of Buddies: Ops Training – 1080p – 5:41
How the cast were kitted out with authentic military equipment and drilled to look like a true Special Forces team - lots of good shooting footage.
Band of Buddies: Transforming Puerto Rico – 1080p – 5:21
How the island was made to look like many different globe-trotting locations. Also mentioned is the decision to put in new locales such as the Arcebo observatory.
Band of Buddies: Going Deep Into the Action – 1080p – 5:50
How the action sequences were created - White explains his approach to depicting such scenes, with regards videogames as an inspiration. Brief but at least the stunt crew are on hand and there are some nice shots of the process.
Deleted Scene – 1080p – 0:40
Singular, just the one epilogue scene that, if included, would have set up a sequel perfectly.
Trailer – 1080p – 2:27
For those not in the high definition era.
VerdictThe Losers got caught in the tailwind of a bigger budget buddie action flick - The A-Team. It may have made it to the big screen first but the hype of its rival and the familiarity of the story elements were always likely to work against it at the time. The themes utilised by Diggle and Jock in the comic were inspired by cinema but fail to make the transition back having been watered down to a different medium solely for visual flair. Patric and Morgan make good pillars upon which the adaptation is built, but are surrounded by too much fluff in a script that keeps iconic lines but has stripped away much of the complexity of the graphic novel, and as such they cannot truly impose themselves on the film.
The disc is unsubtle but does a good enough job of bringing the vibrancy of the comic panels to life in terms of both picture and sound. The image is hit-and-miss, but the audio works to its strengths, even if some may prefer more finesse from an action movie. The extras have a good amount of shooting footage which makes the mini featurettes actually worth a look for once and the deleted scene should definitely have made the final cut.
It isn’t all that it should have been, being rated 12 rather than 18 obviously holds it back, but fans of the comics may enjoy the key scenes making it to the big screen, even if they’re not “outstanding”.
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