Tuesday 29 June 2010

Review: Dogtooth AKA Kynodontas

Year: 2009 (UK release 2010)
Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Screenplay: Efthymis Filippou, Giorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, Hristos Passalis, Anna Kalaitzidou

I'll try and set the scene quickly:

Coming out of the screen; one women stated that the film was horrific. My girlfriend didn't speak to me until we got to the car. I still found myself cackling to myself a little until I got to my laptop. Despite the films bright lighting, Dogtooth is pitch black dark, with aesthetics which could reminded one of Hanke and a morbid sense of humor that would lend itself to the more absurd aspects of author Chuck Palahniuk. Taking Larkins "This Be The Verse" most famous line to extremes, to say these parents have "fucked up" their kids isn't saying enough.

What made Dogtooth so appealing to me, is it's stance on parenting and conditioning. With it's precise play of taboos; to show this to the hilariously reactionary British tabloids would have the screaming at the top of their voice that this film would have to be banned to "save the children". They would be clearly missing the message, as Dogtooth's satirical point is to remind us that it goes both ways. The unnamed father of the piece does everything to dilute and askew his children's preception of reality...however by the time the fearful trio kill "the most dangerous animal in the world" you see that his method of safety has gone too far. What's the animal? Watch the film.

The film takes a while to get going; highlighting the altered facets of family life piece by piece, we slowly beginning to release the bizarre and perverse methods that the parents have taken to keep their kids "pure". Suddenly an outside characters almost senseless meddling slowly creeps in and infects the children's perceived "innocence". The changes become as unsettling as the over-protective parenting, because as the kids up the ante with their naive actions, the punishments become more ghoulish. While it takes a while for Dogtooth to hit the right stride, once it gets there, it becomes a fascinating feature. The more absurd the scenes get, the absorbing the film becomes.

I'm restraining from saying too much about what happens in the actual film itself, as this is a something that is more effective the less you know. Other reviews have mentioned the aspects of American culture it's taken to help push forward the film's themes of total isolation, but it's part of the fun when you find out for yourself. It's also best to keep the films most extreme moments hidden as it it's all a fanatically crafted build up to the films abrupt (and yet perfectly unsettling) ending which stuck with me on the way home.

From a technical aspect, this is a stunningly beautiful film, filled with that lovely visual symbolism that film nerds will enjoy pompously pondering over at coffee houses, while wearing black polo necks and berets. Many of the scenes filmed in clear sunny daylight to go against the utter pitch black madness we see happening infront of us. The family's pool is another wonderfully utilized element, taking a harmless moment of play and crafting it into a sly double meaning of literally still being in utero. This moment alone makes the films last shot all the more dark. Dogtooth is also fantastically performed, with the trio of kids playing up to the naivety of their situation while the father figure (Christos Stergioglou) gives a magnificent deadpan display that only enhances the abstract humor of the film.

With all this said, who could I recommend this film to? I know a few people...but it's a small few. Remember what I said before, my girlfriend didn't talk to me, the woman who stated it was horrific? To say this film isn't for everyone is stating the bleeding obvious. But to those who like their films dark, oddball and European...you shouldn't go wrong with this.

Friday 25 June 2010

Review: Get Him to the Greek

Year: 2010
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Screenplay: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Sean Combs

The synopsis is here.

Me and my girlfriend have very different opinions on movies. Her favorite movie is the Notebook/Serendipity, whereas I bum almost everything that has the name Paul Thomas Anderson on it. She will never EVER watch a zombie film while I own several in my collection. There are times where our views on movies cause clashes. I didn't want to speak to her after her analysis of Annie Hall was merely "it's ok...not that great". Now all fair in love and cinema...and I can take a differing opinion, but don't bring that to the table when I know you watch the hills... Anyway, despite our tastes we both came out of separate viewings of Get him to the Greek (I went straight out of work, she was catching up with a friend) feeling the same thing: I laughed a lot.

I enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall but a spin off of the one note Brit Rock Star character? With Jonha Hill as the straight guy? And Sean "P Diddy/Puff Daddy" Combs in a large acting role? GET OUTTA HERE! I remember hearing about the film a while back not holding out hope.

The afrofilmviewer enjoys a good shock from time to time and this hilarious (I embarrassed myself with laughter again - see Four Lions) movie was one of the biggest shocks of the year for me. It's a movie that I personally couldn't have seen work, that worked. A film I immediately wanted to own straight after watching. Yes it's as vulgar as that piece of crap MacGruber which I watched a week ago, the difference here however is simple: Character, Comic Timing and a strong grasp of the material it's drawing from.

Coming off like warped mixture of Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets Spinal Tap (with more puke), Get him to the Greek gets it's laughs with cheap pops at the music industry, vulgar man-child humor and a sticky situation that gets increasingly more bizarre and harder to manage. While that doesn't sound that interesting, it's the likability of the double act in front of me that spurred on. The worse the circumstance becomes, the more I wanted to see what these guys would do with what's handed to them. It's that element that was missing for me from recent viewings (Death at a Funeral, the aforementioned MacGruber).

Brand's Snow is an acerbic and corrosive personality with a hidden sensitivity that always plays well in these Apatow productions, while Hill's Arron is the straighter of the two but is running on the fumes of a mere mortal. He's no way use to the heights of excess on display here. It's simple, but it binds well. Brand doesn't need to stretch any complex acting muscles but he did have to win myself over as an engaging Rock Star who really believes he's worth his weight in gold as well as a man to hang out with. Extending the one note (but amusing) role that was placed in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand gives the role more than enough charm and energy to keep the film from going stale. For Hill, it's great to see him in a less combustible role (see Superbad). He does the straight role well and hints that he could probably handle something a bit more dramatic as well as his slapsthick here.

Did I say combustible? Great. It would be a good word to describe the role of Sergio Roma played by Sean "Puffy" Combs. He isn't the worlds greatest actor, however, his stilted delivery and stiff performance gives the character of Roma a life of it's own. In the world that's as aware as Strollers (Writer/Director) with amusing asides to the original film this was a spin off of, the use of P Diddy in a nutjob CEO role with most if not all the best lines/moments...it just works. The man behind shiny suit rap throwing crockery at Colm Meany while laughing manically? I can dig it.

If I were to say there's a down side to the proceedings? I'd say that the film is a bit obvious. It's clear that they didn't have mine hard for jokes. Some lines tried hard while others clearly don't . I mean the two Metallica jibes (due to a cameo) really didn't take much brain power. Get him to the Greek's timing and execution however were more than effective enough for me. I loved the cheap shots and the vulgarity because the director and actors knew how to wear them on their sleeves. I haven't mentioned too much of the films gags here. But like reading the airplane script it's best not reading them but seeing them in action. It won't gain the "classic" status of Spinal Tap...but it is because it would rather hang out with Farrellys. It's good to be wrong.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Review: Wild Target

Year: 2010
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Screenplay: Lucinda Coxon
Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman, Gregor Fisher, Rupert Everett

Remakes eh? Who'd want them? Horrible aren't they? Well to some they are god awful things that are destroying the very fabric of cinema, along with 3-D, bad CGI, and of course Brett Ratner. Some of the things I've said have placed some shit streaks on the massive trousers of the medium. Remakes however, have been with us from the very beginning and while the frequency has been ramped up to almost ludicrous amounts, they are really nothing new.

It also seems that the generic outrage that many (including myself to a degree) have over remakes depends on the success of the original feature. So while many have expressed their fury over more "known" films...other remakes such as Insomnia (a remake of a 1997 Norwegian original) and now Wild Target; a remake of a lesser known 1993 french feature, get away with being replicas. So while larger projects have to fight against fanboys before they're even released, other are allowed to slip under the radar. Case in point: This remake version of Wild Target was considered "one of a kind" by imdb user jamiemarks-1.

While not one of a kind, Wild Target is an amusing piece. Jonathan Lynn (Clue) juggles the films dark undercurrents and continental feel, with breezy performances and a light touch. The film has it's flaws, but unlike the MacGruber and Death at a Funeral, this film not only kept it's tone and sense of place but kept me entertained throughout.

What struck me first was the Ealing-esuqe quality the film had. The humor had a certain charm to it that lightly reminded me of such entries as Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Ladykillers. It's timing is no way as strong as the classics of old. Hell, the storytelling doesn't even come close to the sharpness (it takes some predictable turns), however, the film had a similar old school vibe that I just really got on with. I found it hard not to smile at a stiff lipped Bill Nighy, having a crisis of conscience. He just does it so well.

Same goes for Emily Blunt whose sass and sex appeal inject an energy sorely missing from the last endeavor I saw her in (The Wolfman). It's this energy that finds me enjoying her much more in these smaller films than the larger affair. It seems clear to me that with something like Wild Target Blunt is allowed to be more infectious with her character. Where in the wolfman, her role could have been filled by any brunette with an English accent, here she manages to slowly give an irritating character a decent amount of warmth. I'm sure the fact that she's gorgeous in this may have helped things, but in all honesty, looks aside, I did get on with her performance. I also didn't mind Rupert Grint doing his Ron Wesley thing. His turn isn't a stretch but it's one that reminded me why I considered him to be the strongest out of the Hogwarts trio.

It's the likability of the three leads that kept me going throughout Wild Target. It's their performances that allowed me to see past the frustrating editing which hack away at certain aspects of the story in exchange for quicker pacing. They also allowed me to forget the lack of a solid conclusion that really effects the last act of the film, once again down to the bloody editing effecting the narrative of the movie. But as a small British film Wild Target does what it need to do to pass away a good 90 minutes. It didn't overreach and did enough to make me grin on a sunny afternoon.

Review: MacGruber

Year: 2010
Director: Jorma Taccone
Screenplay: Will Forte & John Solomon & Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Ryan Philippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph

When it comes to Saturday Night Lives films, it's a general consensus that most favour the likes of The Blues Brothers and Waynes World while trashing most of the rest (It's Pat gets crapped on a lot). Many believe that this is down to taking a one note skit and stretching it for 90 minutes. A difficult task, but one that can succeed depending on how creative the film makers can be. The Blues Brothers is a heady mix of organized chaos, car crashes and damn fine music with a (then) dependable double act leading the mix. Wayne's World, like Dumb and Dumber or Beavis and Butthead, plays very smart with their dumb leads. Film's like MacGruber is a one trek pony of a movie about a vulgar MacGyver wannabe, with jokes as soggy as tea soaked digestives. It's a film that got one or two laughs from me but considering a ticket for the cinema can cost someone up to £10 for one ticket, £5 a laugh, isn't a good average.

A big problem is that MacGruber (A woeful Forte) is a complete dick. A man with no charm but bags of cockiness. He's stupid and ignorant, but the film doesn't have enough self awareness to truly make light of this, so what we get is naff scene after naff scene of an idiot doing stupid and/or childish things that we're not particularly interested in. The worst thing is there's things in the film and the MacGruber characters that if used more/correctly I would have been keeling over in laughter with. A running joke involves MacGruber hating on a driver who badmouths his car. When a character finds MacGruber's notebook later on and sees the hate take on a obsessive Torrance like streak, the film finds humour in that scenes abstract craziness, the same goes for an over the top sex scene that runs a couple of beats too long the first time but enters an otherworldly nuttiness that brought a juvenile smile to my face.

If MacGruber decided to head more towards that sort of territory I could see myself enjoying the film more. But the film doesn't care enough. In fact so much of what it tries is inept, but with a script that can't even dish up some creative swearing (despite that being the films primary weapon), are you surprised?

Comedies like this also need actors with comic timing, something that co-star Kristin Wiig does have but doesn't use. This isn't her fault mind has the films pitiful direction does nothing to highlight the films comic moments...when they do actually arise. Ryan Phillippe looks far too embarrassed to be of any help, while Val Kilmer doesn't even bother to make what could have been an amusing role... actually funny. The less said about Forte the better. This is nothing but a performance of forced mugging, idiotic shouting and a bad haircut.

Films like this make me sigh because unlike a film that tries to hard, MacGruber doesn't even seem to be trying. It's a film that has an opening riff on Rambo that Hot Shots Part Deux did better almost twenty years ago. It's simplistic humour wants to appeal to the youths of the audiences, but is based on 80's movies that they wouldn't give a crap about. It wants to be crass and vulgar, but can't even be bother to reach Apatow levels. In fact any teen with a youtube account and a video camera could whip up something like this and it would probably be funnier. Shorter too.

Monday 14 June 2010

Review: Death at a Funeral

Year: 2010
Director: Neil LaBute
Screenplay: Dean Craig
Starring: Chris Rock, Keith David, Loretta Devine, Peter Dinklage, Ron Glass, Danny Glover, Martin Lawrence, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Luke Wilson, Columbus Short.

The plot is here

The fact I watched this film almost a week ago and have not been that bothered to finish the review until now (17/06/10) says quite a bit about how I feel about this film.

I have a friend who worked on the original version of the film. However, I unfortunately missed the blink and you'll miss it release of Frank Oz's 2007 Brit flick (Sorry Lisa!). The idea of it seemed very Ealing to me and the trailer didn't look too bad. Skip ahead 3 years and Hollywood have decided to remake the film. I was surprised because the original film isn't foreign (i.e non English language) and we all know how Da Wood LOVES playing around with subtitles (and other cultures).

Interestingly...this "dumbed" down version of DAAF is quite progressive. It's Obama's U.S people and LeBute's film is one where, despite having a mostly Afro-American cast with some medium profile white actors in-between, Race really isn't a big thing. LeBute's last film; Lakeview Terrace involved an angry black cop (Samuel L Jackson) very narked off at an interracial couple participating in some "jungle fever". In Death at a Funeral, the film is almost completely disinterested in race politics. While the scripts "changes" involved altering lines so that Tracy Morgan could yell "DAMN!" once or twice, it's also very refreshing to see a film in which Duncan (Glass) doesn't want his daughter Elaine (Salanda) dating a white man Oscar (Marsden), because of nothing else other than he just doesn't like him. It's a far cry from Jackson's cop character as Duncan wishes to match Elaine up with the slacker-type Derek (Wilson). It's one of the more poorly handled relationships in the film but it's still one step forward in the grand scheme of things.

But that's one of the problems I had with Death at a Funeral, I just didn't care in any real way. There's under-baked conflict between brothers (Rock and Lawrence are quite subdued), one note performances from experienced actors (Keith David and Danny Glover) and an unbalanced feel in tone and pacing that makes the the second half of the movie feel flat to me. At times the movie is funny. There's a nice line here and there and some of the physical comedy works well, with Masdern's doped up goofball garnering a few chortles. But why should we give a damn? None of these people garner any empathy or sympathy from this situation, and the film isn't really sure if it's a dark comedy or farce.

It made realize that love them or hate them, you know where you stand with characters in a Judd Apatow film. Even Funny People with it's mammoth length and dramatic second half switch, manages to draw more from it's players, despite it's lead being an absolute ass.

Death at a Funeral didn't give me what I want because I'm not sure what it wanted to give. At one point a plot moment comes out of nowhere to try and boost a response out of the audience...but it's not deserved and feels false. After the scatological jokes, and attempts at gallows humor a announcement is made to make us try and remember that these people aren't all bad. At least Observe and Report kept it's monsters as monsters. It travelled down the rabbit hole and didn't care how dirty it got. Death at a funeral hasn't got that drive and instead of being deliriously funny, ends up being DOA.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Review: The Killer Inside Me

Year: 2010
Director: Micheal Winterbottom
Screenplay: John Curran
Starring: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba

The Plot is here

I feel that The Killer Inside Me is one of the best films I've seen this year. It features an award winning performance from Casey Affleck, powerful scenes executed with meticulous craft by Micheal Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) and an absorbing story that kept me engaged for all of it's running time.With this all said, I feel I can never watch this movie again.

As a filmgoer whose DVD collection feature such disturbing watches as Irreversible, Benny's Video and Funny Games amongst others; I'm no stranger to "distressing" watches. I'm not a complete wimp and I've seen my fair share of violence on screen. Despite this, images within The Killer Inside Me have been seared into my brain. It's been two days since I watched the movie and I'm still thinking about it. I guess it's down to how unassuming the film appears to be at first. Winterbottom's film gives us a board view of small time America, a picturesque and peaceful town that could could be anywhere. A town that wouldn't know what to do with the word murder let alone an actual one. When the sparse but brutal violence takes place, it hits hard and reminds in the memory. These scenes puncture the landscape. So remorseless are the scenes and so tense the build up, we suddenly realize how we take violence for granted. Suddenly we are stained by the violence.

Much has been said about the time taken over the acts afflicted upon the women over the men. Cries of misogyny have been loud, but to me, it expertly shows how inhuman the man we are dealing with is. Your meant to be shook by what you see and I don't think you would get that if the violence towards the men was equally inflicted. By reacting so strongly, Winterbottom reminds us that we still have humanity. It reminds us where our morals lie.

Winterbottom then begins to complicate things even more, juxtaposing Affleck's soft spoken narration with the actual goings on within the scene. Affleck's Ford reigns emotion at every turn and with the film being told from his point of view, we can never be too sure what to believe. The camera however, never lies and Winterbottom wisely uses classical film techniques to highlight Ford guilt and true nature. Reverse shots display the distance between Ford and other characters, a trip to jail has Winterbottom frame Ford behind bars (see Psycho's mise en scene). The cinematography only help fully illustrate the portrait of the psychopath on show.

Affleck's disaffected performance builds upon the jaded jealous creature he created in The Assassination of Jesse James. His honey sweet southern drawl and baby face only hides the insanity for so long. It hurts to watch, as we see it madness seep through the cracks. His dead eyed stare sums up the complete amorality of the character. Every glance is like a calculation to a incomprehensible formula. There's no rhyme or reason to the actions we see, no emotion, the word love is mention continuous by the character but he see others only as objects. What made it so unnerving for me was watching this character perform brutal acts like a reflex, there's no difference between this men disfiguring a young women and putting his socks on. It's difficult to even describe the crawlspace that this character resides in let alone act it. Casey effortless display shows us where all the performing talent lies in the Affleck family.

I was very surprised how strong I found the main support in the film. Alba and Hudson aren't usually actresses I gravitate to, mostly because of the dreck they love to land roles in. Here however, Abla is a searing combination of sexuality and vulnerability. in a few short scenes she manages to load her character with an added layer of contradiction within the film, blurring the line between pleasure and pain, and highlighting Lou Ford's disturbing history and aggravating his murderous streak. Hudson adds a little balance to proceeds bringing warmth to the other female in Ford's life. Hudson's role is also sexual, but also provides enough care to a character to make a scene in the third act very difficult to watch. Support is neatly completed by small roles by Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas and Bill Pullman

2010 looks set to be a movie year about fractured mindscapes. Scorsese had his bombastic Shutter Island, while Christopher Nolan wishes to take over summer with Inception. Winterbottom's feature is an absorbing insight into the mind of a psychopath. Expertly showing the fragility with jump cut edits, perturbing flashbacks and laying the main characters hideous nature within techniques you'd expect to see in Hollywood's golden age. From it's unflinching and graphic portrayal of violence to it's characters of contradiction, I found The Killer Inside Me a truly engaging thriller. I liked the film...to say I enjoyed it however, may label me a sadist.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Review:The Brothers Bloom

Year: 2008 (Yeah seriously, we only get it now)
Director: Rian Johnson
Screenplay: Rian Johnson
Starring: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz

The plot is here

After two years of limbo (despite a London Film Festival showing) the brothers bloom has finally made it to cinemas. I had been waiting patiently with anticipation for Rian Johnson's second feature, as a big fan of his debut Brick. To sit down and get the chance to watch this on the big screen is much more satisfying than having to pick the film up at Asda due to a direct to DVD release which sometimes happens with those quirky little films.

Worth the wait? For the most part yes. The Brothers Bloom features great performances for it's leads, wonderful visual flourishes, some choice settings that give the film a lovely continental vibe and a score so pretty I picked it up as soon as the movie finished. But why was I not fully contented? What was missing from this film that would had me dancing in the isles? The answer for me maybe hidden deep within the story.

The first two thirds of the Brothers Bloom is a frothy romp. The lead characters and their quirks are entertaining, and the films moments of humor have more than enough sparkle. It's all very light and breezy, but unfortunately that slowly becomes an issue in terms of plot.

I enjoy the con movie, and one of the reasons is the con itself. Smug it may be but when you get told that Danny Ocean is going to rob three Vegas casino's your mind starts churning. What's going to happen? How are they going to do it? You begin to drool. When you dig the con, you dig the movie. Johnson's con for me isn't that interesting. In fact it feels too slight at times. It doesn't help that the third act begins to run out of stream and I predicted the outcome too easily before hand. It all becomes a little too cute and falls together far too easily. You don't get that rug pulled feel that a con film can give you. You always feel your too ahead of a game and that's not the best thing to feel in a confidence movie.

This doesn't destroy the whole film, as the larger then life performances of Weisz, Brody and Ruffalo kept me interested. Ruffalo in particular whose smile and knowing looks gives his character the perfect amount of control. He also provides some superb damage control at the films climax.

However, I think The Brothers Bloom is a second watch movie. A second viewing will probably have me avoiding the superficial and tapping into the pathos tender moments the film holds. The rapport that the larger than life characters have with each other, is worth the price of the ticket alone. There's also a brief shot of Weisz' pert ass for those inclined.

The Brothers Bloom isn't as assured and complete as Brick, it does however hold the same amount of ambition. It is of course the difficult second feature, but is bubbly enough for an arse like me to forgive it's flaws.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Review: The Losers

Year: 2010
Director: Sylvain White
Screenplay: Peter Berg, James Vanderbilt
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Edris Elba, Chris Evans, Jason Patric, Zoe Salanda

The Plot is here.

Coming out in a year where the A Team, The Expendables and are throwing their A listed weight around like nobodies business, The Losers bunch of "lesser knowns" almost looks like it will come up short. However due to the hype and the pressure between the bigger films to bring about the spirit of the 80's action; The Losers may be able to score some formidable points if not win the whole things hands down for simple being a thick slice of fun.

While the other retro actioners will spend a lot of their time winking at the audience, with their pop-culture nods to their original shows or their creators; (case in point B.A Baracus whistling HIS OWN THEME SONG DURING THE A-TEAM TRAILER), The Losers has a small advantage in the fact that not that many people would have read the graphic novel it originally stems from. This is a good thing, because The Losers now has to stand up without the need for rose tinted nostalgia, and to be fair, I feel it does quite well.

The Losers is the kind of film that you could have easily imagined Sly or Arnie having a part in back in the day. It's a lean adventure without fills, but with enough thrills to remain entertaining. It's narrative may be simple, however it's a refreshing change from the overcomplicated plotting of recent summer blockbusters. It's an old dog and therefore has no new tricks, but the direction had enough of a division tactic that made sure I missed a plot twist I could have sniffed out in many other films of it's type. Cliche at times isn't that bad a thing if fun can be found.

A bright film (nice to see such a bold colour scheme as opposed to murky and/or bleached out) The Losers, interestingly enough feels like a video game. But unlike using this statement as a tired critical negative, Sylvain Whites use of over the shoulder visuals, point of view fight shots and one on one combat moments to his advantage trying to coax life out of a genre that sees it all. It doesn't all work but it does have an interesting feel to proceedings. The same goes for some of the more obvious scenes. We see the romantic leads fighting in a blazing hotel room, the music is sexy and many of the shots are slow....yes we're clearly looking at foreplay. But the films back to basics outlook reminds you it's not pretending to be something it's not. No morality issues, no gray areas, just stripped down nonsense. It's simple intentions serve it well. So much so that when the film reaches it's most outrageous moment, it almost feels taken from another film. Despite this it STILL works, and credit is deserved for it's most straight shooting style.

The films cast are also clearly under the films chilled influence. Funny when they want to be (most jokes stemming from the very game Chris Evans), cool when they need to be (with maybe a little too much help from the slow motion); the performances work mostly because there's no preconceptions of the actors. These are the faces of the D-list and character actors, chosen due to their screen presence and not star power, it shows. The interplay between Morgan and Elba is solid, Evans once again shows why he enjoys supporting roles and while Zoe Saldana is little more than eye candy, she is an actress that can do enough with a small amount and infuses the film with more than enough sex appeal. A nod of approval must also go to Columbus Short (Pooch) and Oscar Jaenada who get a lot of fun out of their admittedly one note characters. In an ensemble piece like this, they do well to not feel like also rans. However the best praise is saved for the highly amusing Jason Patric. An actor whose career has never really gone the way many thought it would, his villainous performance is one of old school Saturday morning cartoons. Gleefully evil and hilariously overconfident, it's not a display of mugging, but a performance of oil slick megalomania that had me grinning more than once. It's silly but not over done.

But that's what I enjoyed about The Losers, it knows where it stands. It's a well done genre flick done well. Eschewing anything too over the top for simple pleasures. At first I was weary of where the film was going with the first act bringing up memories of Tony Scott's 00's over-stylised visuals/editing, however the film takes a step back and then goes at it's own pace. It doesn't want to bother anyone, it just wants to have a little fun. Can't argue with that.

*Note: It's clearly obvious that the casting for the up coming Kane and Lynch film is wrong and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the right man to play Kane. Sorry Mr Willis!