{2jtab: Movie Review}

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Blu-ray Review


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3 Stars

As if G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra never happened (and that $300 million-earner was only four years ago), the franchise (too soon?) gets a swift, rebooted kick in the ass thanks to the presence of Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock and confident direction from Step Up 3D’s Jon M. Chu (who is also helming the upcoming Masters of the Universe).  Briskly paced, the film is not unlike reading the original Larry Hama comic books and soaking a bit of the mythology they spun.  It’s sprinkled with action, humor, and the tiniest bit of shallow realism and, curious enough, much less cheese even though it is more enjoyable that its predecessor.  In short, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is candy-coated escapism for twelve-year-old boys.

With its target audience in mind, Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick unfold a narrative concerning a nuclear hostage scenario in which Cobra – led by a newly freed Cobra Commander – have Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) impersonate the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) and begin to play with all the perks and toys that come with the privilege of the position.  It’s Duke (Channing Tatum) and his Joes – a non-rhyming Roadblock (Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrienne Palicki), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) – to the rescue except this time, much like The A-Team, they get burned, bruised, and disavowed by the (not) President.  The remaining soldiers – one dies effectively passing the torch to the newbies - must quickly regroup, find Snake Eyes (Ray Park), and assemble a new team of old recruits – enter General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) - before tackling Cobra and the saboteur specialist named Firefly (Ray Stevenson).

Movies based on action figures are usually forgettable.  While most of Retaliation is of the latter, there are moments sprinkled throughout with Firefly, Roadblock, Storm Shadow, and Snake Eyes that help make the junkier scenes go down easier.  This one, however, pulls out of its magic hat one high-flying spectacle of a stunt – when Snake Eyes and Jinx (Elodie Yung) are tracking down a not-so dead Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and end up in a mountainside cable-hopping fight to the death – that might leave you breathless.  It’s a wordless ten-minute sequence that has been heavily featured in the trailers but its achievement should not be understated.   It sells the picture.  You’ll want to see the movie for it.  The action is solidly executed from beginning to end – full of humor and visual grace – and completely gels inside a picture about saving the world.

The new Joes – specifically Roadblock - get a bit of the deluxe treatment with scenes of their home life.  Lady Jaye, the team’s eye candy, gets the complete once over from everybody – including the male audience – as she slips in and out of tight red dresses and tries to con some politicians.  Colton (without a beard, mind you) is easily the character that gets the least amount of polish and he really needed more to do.  Willis is in this thing for all of 15 minutes.  Of course, thirty minutes of this film is more agreeable than what he did in Die Hard 5.  Still, if you get the heavy-hitters, you need to use the heavy-hitters. Chu and the writers even manage to squeeze in the slightest of stylized backstories between a very young Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow featuring a cameo from RZA.

The busy plot leaves little time for thought and even less time for weighty issues.  Very little of this is believable.  It benefits from being completely forgettable.  Sure, it’s goofy and, at times, there’s a lot of muck to trudge through before it gets cohesive again but the nostalgic fun of seeing vehicles and characters you once played with come to life proves to not be an entirely brainless affair.  It’s not perfect (and I’m rounding up from a 2.5 here) but – without a doubt – it is a step in the right direction after what went down before.  We should expect results like this from all popcorn entertainment.

It might not be saying much to the masses but G.I. Joe: Retaliation is the best film Hasbro has put its name to yet.

{2jtab: Film Details}

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language.
110 mins.
: Jon M. Chu
: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Dwayne Johnson; Jonathan Pryce; Channing Tatum; Adrianne Palicki
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-fi
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Memorable Movie Quote: "In the immortal words of Jay-Z: "Whatever deity may guide my life, Dear Lord don't let me die tonight!"
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: March 29, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: Framed for crimes against the country, the G.I. Joe team is terminated by the President's order, and the surviving team members face off against Zartan, his accomplices, and the world leaders he has under his influence.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

No details available.

{2jtab: Trailer}