Saturday, August 21, 2010

DVDebuts: Sylvain White's swift THE LOSERS; Kevin Smith's funny COP OUT

Two mainstream movies from Warner Brothers, the company that's never had a clue what to do with anything a little different, debut this week on DVD. Each surprises because it manages to stand out a bit from the pack -- which undoubtedly accounts for neither's ringing the bell at the box-office.  Cop Out, Kevin Smith's nod/ode to buddy cop movies, garnered but 19 per cent positive on RottenTomatoes, while Sylvain White's The Losers managed a middling 47.  Both are better than you might think.

With COP OUT, popular indie filmmaker Kevin Smith goes mainstream -- but in his own pervy manner. Instead of giving us "bromance buddies" who hate-each-other initially only so they can love-each-other eventually, Smith has his stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in love from the get-go. Sure, they squabble, but what couple doesn't? Both actors are surprisingly relaxed, especially Willis, and for every joke or scene that doesn't work, there's another that does. While this is not an ideal comedy ratio (it ought to be at least two to one), the scenes that work, work beautifully.  This is often due to a still-far-too-unsung hero named Seann William Scott, who has maybe his best-ever role here, as a yappy, scrappy practitioner of paltry parkour who entertains his captors (and us) royally. His scene in the jail cell approaches the classic. Smith and his writers Robb and Mark Cullen achieve a loosey-goosey, silly but often satisfying tone
and a movie filled with odd, sometimes endearing (and, yeah, occasionally stupid) events.

THE LOSERS -- fast-paced, stylish and relatively intelligent (for the action genre) -- on the other hand, offers comic book style guns and fun, some major explosions, and a particularly nasty villain in Jason Patric (just wondering: was it Mr. Patrick's inability to project warmth that has kept his career in check? No matter: He's fine in this role). The crew of mostly good guys, joined by one maybe-good woman are made up of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, the very hot Óscar Jaenada and Zoe Saldana. The film moves quickly, gathering little moss; the dialog is passable and sometimes clever; and the PG-13 rating in this case guarantees that, despite a contin-
ually rising body-count, there's barely a trace of blood, not to men-
tion guts 'n gore. In the mood for action? You could do a lot worse.

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