Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Losers (1970)

Also known as Nam’s Angels, this bizarre biker flick imagines what might happen if an American motorcycle gang was hired by the U.S. government to conduct a covert operation in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Apparently inspired by a real-life suggestion presented to President Lyndon Johnson by the Hell’s Angels, the movie features a paper-thin story, tedious storytelling, and underwhelming action scenes. Director Jack Starrett and his collaborators also fail to justify the movie’s outlandish premise, since the bikers in the picture don’t do anything that couldn’t have been done more effectively by trained soldiers. In fact, the members of the “Devil’s Advocates” (the name of the onscreen gang) approach their mission incompetently. Tasked with rescuing some VIP who’s trapped behind enemy lines, the Devil’s Advocates spend inordinate amounts of time brawling, drinking, fixing their bikes, and screwing prostitutes. It’s difficult to generate enthusiasm for a men-on-a-mission movie that lacks urgency, and, indeed, The Losers is so leisurely that the whole picture stops dead for several minutes while Starrett’s camera ogles a topless dancer. Yawn. Biker-cinema icon William Smith brings his usual macho swagger to the party, though his animalistic appeal isn’t nearly enough to make The Losers interesting—even when he periodically spews a nugget of tasty dialogue (“You hired scooter trash for this job, that’s what you got”). Instead of using Smith or fellow B-movie vet Adam Roarke properly, Starrett burns film chronicling the unfunny antics of Houston Savage, who plays the violent slob of a biker named “Dirty Denny.” Apparently, the spectacle of Dirty Denny beating up his friends, indulging himself with whores, and staggering as people crack beer bottles over his head was envisioned as entertainment. It’s not.

The Losers: LAME

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