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DC Showcase (Part 12): The Losers

Hello, my friends.  Our world is full of exciting discoveries and harrowing secrets that’re waiting for all of us to check out.  For our featured group of soldiers, the otherworldly things that await them will be beyond what anyone of them could’ve possibly imagined.  On that note, it’s time that we once again venture into another entry of my signature side-series called…

In my ever-continuing quest to talk about the many mini-movies that allows the lesser-known cast of DC characters to get the momentary spotlight for themselves, it’s time that I talk about a small group of war-trained individuals coming together on a journey unlike anything they would ever expect.  Not to be confused with the similarly-named group of ex-Special Forces agents looking to get back against the CIA for doing them wrong, let’s join up with this rag-tag bunch for their tale known as…

Originally released on June 22, 2021, this entry saw Milo Neuman taking the director’s chair, while Tim Sheridan ended up writing this venture.  Not only that, but this was also a Blu-Ray bonus feature for the first part of “Batman: The Long Halloween”.  If you’re interested in knowing what I thought about the overall story, you can click the link to find out.  For everyone else who’s staying put, it’s time to load up, fall in and head out.

We open on the high seas during a raging storm as a sinister creature is swiftly evading gunfire.  As Capt. William Storm (voiced by Dean Winters) does his best to keep his ship sailing through the turbulent tides, our main group consisting of Henry “Miles A Minute” Jones (voiced by Eugune Byrd), Gunner and Sarge (both voiced by Dave B. Mitchell) attempt to fire at it, while their team dog named Pooch constantly barks at it.

Not only that, but Johnny Cloud (voiced by Martin Sensmeier) is also amongst the fiercely determined soldiers firing away at the unknown adversary.  They even have some help from a Chinese woman named Special Agent Fan Long (voiced by Chun-Li, Mulan, Dr. Aki Ross, Melinda May & Fennac Shand herself, Ming-Na Wen) who’s also trying to fend off the mysterious being.  Even though she manages to hit the creature and make it bleed, it’s still able to ram into the ship as Johnny falls overboard as a result of the impact.

Later, the whole team has washed up on an island.  However, Cloud is still unconscious as Fan attempts to resuscitate him with CPR.  Shortly after he ultimately wakes up, she meets up with William who proceeds to ask her why they’re running a mission for Chinese Intelligence, what kind of creature did they just encounter that was also powerful enough to sink his boat and how are they on a spit of land that’s not on any known “chart ever drawn”.  However, she refuses to answer any of his questions.  Not only that, he learns that their radio is busted, they’re low on munitions and their rations ended up lost at sea.  As such, she says that the only way that they’ll survive is if they complete their mission by reaching the Chinese science base that’s on the island and getting their research.  After Storm correctly guesses that it contains top secret information that can help bring World War II to a close, Long says that a transport airplane is also at the station and that they can use it to return to the American fleet.  However, a lengthy trek through the island’s dense jungle is the only thing separating them from reaching their destination, to which she also says that they have to immediately head out in order to avoid any nighttime perils.  From there, they proceed with their journey.

During their trek, Johnny attempts to thank Fan for saving his life.  However, she silently walks on as some of his comrades have a chuckle over it.  Suddenly, Pooch notices something and proceeds to bark at it.

Long tells the group to get their dog under control, as Gunner heads over to investigate.  He suddenly discovers a dinosaur’s eye as the creature leaps up and attempts to maul him.  Thankfully, Pooch manages to bite the beast’s tail and distract it long enough for Cloud to gun it down.

They soon find themselves surrounded by several more similar dinosaurs, but they’re able to shoot the majority of those beings.  However, one of them is able to evade their bullets before it leaps onto William and rips his prosthetic leg off.  Just as it’s about to finish him off for good, Sarge is able to ram his machete through the beast’s head and save his comrade.

Due to the overwhelming number of dinosaurs, the group proceeds to retreat.  However, Johnny and Fan get separated before they’re chased by a trio of carnivorous beings.  Eventually, Cloud trips over a tree root and loses his main firearm, forcing him to take out his handgun and prepare for their arrival.  However, they end up retreating.  Afterwards, he meets up with Long and demands to know why they’re here, assuming that they’re supposed to capture some dinosaurs and use them against the Axis forces.  However, she explains that “the incalculable power” that’s brought these prehistoric creatures to their time period is what’s actually going to be weaponized.

Just then, their argument gets interrupted by the arrival of a massive dinosaur.  Fan tells him to remain as still as possible, yet Johnny begins to calmly win the creature over to his side.  However, Long decides to intervene as she uses a grenade to slay the being.  Johnny manages to survive the blast before he notices that Fan has left as he proceeds to head towards the vast energy in the distance.

Later, Cloud catches up to Long over at the station as it’s transmitting the transportive power.  She then explains that this is a “laceration” upon the space-time continuum and that it’s “emitting energy 100 times greater” than America’s in-development atomic bomb.  Once they harness it, then they can bring an end to their current war, as well as all future wars.  Cloud questions her notion by saying that a weapon that powerful would wipe all of humanity out of existence, but she says that it’s only true for those who don’t have their hands on it.  With its destructive potential looming over the world, Johnny says that it must be destroyed.  However, Fan explains that it can’t be fired upon, since their projectiles would end up in a different place and time.  Not only that, but she’s under strict orders from her government to ensure its safety.

Suddenly, they hear their comrades in trouble as Cloud heads out to investigate.  He meets up with Sarge, Henry and Capt. Storm as Johnny learns that their remaining party got separated.  Just then, they hear some painful screams as our main soldiers ultimately discover that not only was Pooch killed off, but so was Gunner as they discover the prehistoric culprit: a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  It soon notices them as Sarge opens fire on it, but it’s able to withstand the bullet barrage.

From there, Jones decides to lure the carnivorous creature away from the camp as he discards his heavy gear, gets the being’s attention and uses him human speed to dash off.  While the T-Rex chases after their comrade, Johnny tells Sarge to head to the armory and locate the heaviest weapon that he can find.  Just as he reaches a particular tent, he manages to open up a locked crate and gets shocked by what’s inside.

Over at the airplane, Cloud begins to start it up.  Just then, he’s met upon by William who realizes that Johnny intends to either use the aircraft’s bombs or perform a kamikaze plunge to take the Tyrannosaurus Rex out.  However, Capt. Storm says that he intends on taking that suicidal mission, since Johnny’s unit is depending on him for leadership.  William even says that he was “born a Loser” and that he intends to “die a Loser” for the right cause.

Back with Sarge, he soon discovers what was being held within the numerous crates, which turned out to be the Chinese scientists that wound up murdered.  Just then, he’s held up at gunpoint by Long.

Back with Henry, he continues to outpace the pursuing T-Rex as best as he can before he makes it back to the main camp.  While Capt. Storm prepares to drop some bombs upon the dinosaur, Cloud manages to get Jones over to him as they take cover between a pair of buildings.  With the carnivorous beast struggling to squeeze through, William misses his initial chance due to the faulty mechanism that prevents the bombs from dispersing.  As such, he decides to circle back and fly right towards the T-Rex.

Thankfully, Johnny’s constant gunfire forces the creature out at the right time as its face gets slammed into one of the plane’s propellers, effectively killing it.  From there, Capt. Storm ends up flying the damaged plane into the energetic portal before the bombs finally disperse.

The shockwave from the explosion is able to disorient Fan as Sarge takes advantage by pinning her to the wall before he disarms her.  From there, he rejoins his remaining teammates as he informs them that she was the one who murdered her fellow researchers.  She explains that she was ordered to “contain all knowledge” of this anomaly, which would’ve included slaying our main soldiers as well.  From there, the Chinese Government would’ve solely used the energy’s unfathomable power to obliterate their enemies en route to “everlasting glory”.  Thankfully, Cloud says that he and his men are going to destroy this energy “from the inside”.

Sarge then gives his fellow squad mates some bombs as they prepare to embark on their suicide mission.  Long warns them that they’ll “lose everything” if they proceed, to which Johnny tells her that it’s what they do.  From there, they make their way through the portal.

And so, the film ends with Fan attempting to flee.  However, she’s soon met upon by a pack of hungry dinosaurs before our titular group carries out their mission and destroys the energetic anomaly, wiping the whole island off the face of the South Pacific.

In past entries, I’ve given brief character analysis for either the main hero or our central cast of characters.  However, there’s not much to infer here regarding our five main soldiers.  Instead, they mainly come off as good-natured men who initially believe that they’re on a top secret mission that will finally cripple the Axis powers for good.  Throughout the twists & turns that they go through during the journey, our surviving members ultimately discover that their Chinese agent actually had a hidden agenda and either willingly or loyally tries to ensure that her home country’s government becomes the world’s biggest & power-lording superpower with the otherworldly energy that her fellow scientists discovered.  Of course, that difference stems from the ethics that they’ve developed while living within their native lands.  While we never delve too far into anyone’s backstories here (especially given the short runtime of this piece), it’s safe to assume that the core members of our titular team joined the U.S. military for noble reasons.  With Henry using his track speed during the climax and Capt. Storm putting his vehicular driving skills to multiple uses, the closest one who gets any kind of character arc is Johnny Cloud.  After all, he interacts with Fan Long the most out of the whole group.  By the end, he gets motivated to become the team leader that he’ll need to be in order for their noble sacrificial traits to shine and power them into wiping out this otherworldly threat towards the planet’s populace.  Because this is a relatively-obscure team of human soldiers, I’m not expecting deep dive levels of development for all of our main heroes.  However, I think that fleshing Johnny out a bit more would’ve sufficed, especially since he seemed to be our central protagonist for this tale.  On that note, it would’ve also been nice if Fan Long had gotten some further development in order to better contrast her with Johnny.  Maybe her reasons for siding with her Communist government’s plans could’ve had some details here, as she either had no choice but to follow her leaders’ orders or she truly believes in the party’s ultimate goals.  If that burgeoning connection was present and hinted at, then it would’ve made her twist even more impactful and allowed the narrative to have a tighter feel overall.  As far as the story is concerned, it definitely hits the ground running right out of the gate.  Following the initial encounter on the high seas, it balances its exposition with some dino-sized action before we ultimately get to the main thrilling event.  As if the cannibalistic dinosaurs weren’t enough of a primal force for someone to potentially control, the otherworldly energy that’s brought these creatures to their time could’ve been used for massively destructive purposes.  As our main soldiers find out, it would’ve brought America to its knees before they realize that it’s too much power for anyone to wield without the potential of letting it consume them.  By the end, it becomes a suicide mission due to outside circumstances, ranging from a T-Rex mauling their dog and their youthful Gunner to William dealing with a faulty airplane that could’ve served as the group’s lone escape vehicle, but wound up taking out the vicious beast at the cost of one of its propellers before going out in a delayed bomb-filled fest.  From there, our remaining soldiers are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to save the whole world from this powerful energy and the dinosaurs that emerged from it, not to mention the whole island as well.  By the end, their noble deeds may not get recognized by their own government, but at least the viewing audience (and by extension, their in-universe higher gods) can appreciate their acts as wonderfully righteous.  Finally, the action is furious and fluent throughout, backed by some nice animation to boot.  There was never an egregious-looking movement at any point, the motions of both the characters & the in-universe shots felt very natural and it helps to pace this story at a consistent rate.  It’s also backed by a good color palette that never gets too dreary for this situation or too overly-colorful to not match the adult tone of this tale.  In the end, these elements come together to make this period piece nearly on the same level as Sgt. Rock’s story, despite not necessarily reaching those same heights.  Despite that, this still makes a good companion piece.

Overall, this venture into the unknown is confident and thrilling.  With likable characters, gripping action and a story that unfolds at a satisfying clip, it presents these ragtag military figures with likable charm, reasonable concern & finds themselves placed within a situation that’s crazy, yet never gets too ridiculous for its intended audience.  If you’re up for a nice blend of wartime perils and lavishly ludicrous situations, then this would make for a pleasant viewing experience.  Give it a watch, should you accept this mission.

Next Time:  While we wait for Jaime Reyes to make his jump to the big screen, we’ll instead focus on his predecessor as he leads a group of notable Charlton heroes against a formidable foe.  On that note, we’ll be delving into a familiar legacy figure known as “Blue Beetle”.

The Losers (created by Robert Kanigher) is owned by DC Comics.

By coolcomix0221

Love Comics, Video Games, and Sports. Aim To Become a Sports Writer.

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