More ironic comic-book action like “Kick-Ass,” as a U.S. Special Forces squad led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) takes on Max (Jason Patric), an evil, white-suited, black-gloved CIA sociopath and mastermind. Max targets an evil Bolivian drug lord as an evil Bolivian terrorist. He uses Clay’s squad to coordinate an air strike on his jungle lair, then orders an air-to-air hit on those same operatives after they try to spare twenty-five Bolivian kids from collateral damage. This smear of the late Bolivian’s quality of evil enrages his daughter Aisha (Zoe Saldana, “Avatar,” “Star Trek”). Seeking revenge, she makes a deal with Clay and his four men to nix Max. Zoe is a freelance operative of unclear loyalty–much hated by Hamas and Sinn Fein. Clay’s men, officially declared dead and off-the-books, do not trust Zoe because of their juvenile mindset of “girls-is-trouble”co-scripted by Peter Berg (director of the ironic comic-themed “Hancock”) and James Vanderbilt (“Zodiac”), working from the DC Comics-Vertigo book by Andy Diggle. (“Making shit up for cash since 2002” states his site.) Sylvain White (“Stomp the Yard”) directs with brisk blow-up-shit style. Max schemes to defraud Dubai-based Indian engineers charging a billion bucks for their four new “sonic dematerializers,” which he plans to retail to terrorists. The resulting chaos will somehow fix the world. How mean is Max? In random location shooting at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, he belittles his aide-de-camp for his nonexistent grasp of deep space tachyons. “The Losers” is not giddy with idiocy about the genre, though it begins with a U.S. commando staging a shadowplay against a U.S. flag backdrop in which a Godzilla toy interrogates and rapes a male prisoner toy. But it’s a fun enough exercise in a self-satirizing tradition beloved by teenage boys of many ages. With Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Holt McCallany, Oscar Jaenada and Krissy Korn, debuting as a girls’ soccer referee, an upgrade from her earlier credits for craft services on second units. 98m. (Bill Stamets)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.