The Losers (aka Nam's Angels) DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Dark Sky Films
Directed by Jack Starrett
Written by Alan Caillou
1970, Region 1 (NTSC), 95 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on February 28th, 2006
William Smith as Link Thomas
Bernie Hamilton as Capt. Jackson
Adam Rourke as Dirk
Houston Savage as Dirty Denny
Gene Cornelius as Speed
Paul Koslo as Limpy
Somewhere in the jungles of Cambodia, a CIA operative is held prisoner.
Because a rescue team has to be off the books, a group of mercenaries is brought to save the spook.
A motorcycle gang called "The Devil's Advocates."
Everything about The Losers says it should suck.
The writing is abysmal. Horrid dialogue is the main culprit, but there are also not one, but two love subplots that are dreadfully out of place. Throw in some gaping plot holes and you have a script that rivals 2 Fast 2 Furious for Worst. Script. Ever.
The acting is almost as bad as the script. Save for a few exceptions, I felt like I was in Home Depot watching the 2x4s.
Plus, the movie was shot on location in Manila with a modest budget. Considering the cost of flying the cast and crew to the Philippines, paying them, the cost of food, lodging, a second unit, stuntmen, film, vehicles and all of the other costs of making a movie, Losers has potential loser written all over it.
But, oh holy hell, is this movie fun.
You know it's going to be a riot when the movie opens with a seemingly pointless battle, then immediately rolls right into a scene where a military convoy is taking heavy fire and barely makes it to camp.
After arriving at the camp, the back tarp of one of the convoy vehicles rises in dramatic fashion, revealing the motorcycle gang.
Think about that scene for a second. Jungles of Cambodia. Military camp. Men running around in camouflage. Army transport vehicles. Motorcycle gang. Which does not belong?
That's right, kids, when a CIA spook gets kidnapped, the military does not use any of its special forces with their special training. It calls in the Devil's Advocates for their motorcycle skills and expendability.
And it gets better.
The military provides the gang with motorcycles and instructions to make these “broads’ bikes” (they are, after all, Yamahas) into weapons on wheels.
And modify them, they do.
Do not mistake any of the above for sarcasm, because it is not. This movie rocks.
How can you not love a movie that has motorcycles with handlebar-mounted machine guns?
Or a pre-CGI 60-foot motorcycle jump over a hut?
Or naked Asian women?
Or a man who pulls a tree out of the ground to beat some ass?
Sure, the story is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, the God-awful script hurt this film a little. Sure, it has a couple of goofy-ass love subplots that don't belong.
But it sure is a fun movie.
Video and Audio:
Losers' 16x9 presentation is not without its flaws. The flesh tones appear too orange at times, and there is occasional grain and softness. However, the blacks are consistently dark, and there are times where I was surprised how good the picture looked. All things considered, Dark Sky Films did a fantastic job restoring the over 30-year-old print.
While I would have loved to hear motorcycles zipping around in 5.1, or even stereo, the film's 2.0 mono soundtrack certainly gets the job done.
The commentary by stars William Smith and Paul Koslo is a classic case of what could have been. It's obvious both are genuinely nice guys, and both have great stories to tell about the filming of the movie, but there are two problems: The first is they don't say much and the second is, when they do talk, half of that time is back-patting. I really hate to come down on these gentlemen, because their personalities radiate out of the speakers. But some of the behind-the-scenes tales left me wanting more, because they were really good stories. The commentary frustrated me because it had the potential to be really great. Fortunately, Dark Sky was smart enough to raise the volume of the movie when there was silence — something I wish all companies did.
Also included are trailers for The Losers and Werewolves on Wheels, a still gallery and two radio spots for The Losers. The trailer for The Losers is a great watch to see how much Dark Sky cleaned up the film.
There is something bad-ass about a movie that uses a tree as a lethal weapon. That alone makes this worth a rental.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, Sony DVP-CX875P DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)