Friday, June 10, 2016

Movie Review: "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (2013)

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Movie"G.I. Joe: Retaliation"
Director: Jon M. Chu
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

After taking out most the Joes and framing them for treason, Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), disguised as the president of the United States (Jonathan Pryce), devises a plan to free Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) and rid the world of its nuclear weapons while simultaneously holding it hostage with Cobra's new super-weapon. Now, the surviving Joes, led by Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), must find a way to stop them.

"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is the second film in the G.I. Joe live action series that capitalizes on the popularity of the toys and cartoon series from the 80's and 90's. Jon M. Chu takes over as director for this sequel. Chu is perhaps best known previously for directing films like "Step Up 2: The Streets," "Step Up 3D," and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never." Uhhh, interesting resume?? Channing Tatum returns as Duke, well, briefly, before he hands off his leadership duties to Roadblock, played by Dwayne Johnson. The Rock has a habit of being placed in sequels where he was absent from the original. Other actors making their return here are Jonathan Pryce as the President of the United States, Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow, Ray Park as the mute Snake Eyes, and Arnold Vosloo as Zartan, though Zartan spends most the movie disguised as the president, hence this character is played mostly by Jonathan Pryce. New to the cast are Luke Bracey, who takes over the role of Cobra Commander, Elodie Yung as Jynx, Ray Stevenson as Firefly, D.J. Cotrona as Flint, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, and Bruce Willis as General Colton.

"G.I. Joe Retaliation" is your pretty much your standard mindless action spectacle. It does its best to bring the characters from the cartoon we grew up with and loved as kids to life. "Retaliation" seems like it's trying really hard to keep everything as real as possible, but unfortunately, many of the unique characteristics found in the animated characters are lost in this adaptation, with the exception of the ninja characters like Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jynx. In fact, it fails on multiple levels. The film feels like it has a very 90's sensibility within the way it handles its action sequences, only with 2013's technology. Big explosions don't have much rhyme or reason behind them, plots of world domination don't ever seem that dire, it's all flimsy at best with a cheap money making feel to it in an effort by the studio to keep the rights to the franchise. The action never stops, the explosions are always coming, and our characters are always moving, but it never pays off in the end. The script of a movie like this doesn't have to be "Citizen Kane"-esque, but it should at least be better than grunting and shouting orders over and over. Besides Dwayne Johnson, the acting is pretty bad all around, and with Tatum virtually gone from this installment, it makes it even less tolerable.

Though we saw the first installment in this franchise years ago, we don't remember it, and we were assured by several people that we didn't need to watch it in order to understand "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." Now having seen this sequel, we both agree we don't need to go back and watch the first one again. This movie is pretty stupid, though someone might be able to dig a shred of entertainment value out of it so long as you ignore all of these (and many more) glaring faults.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 28%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
One year ago, we were watching: "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"

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