Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Yo Joe! Or No?!

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way in the beginning of this review, I liked the first G.I. Joe. Do not get me wrong, I am not going to recommend that anyone go out and buy it on Blu-Ray instantly, but it was the definition of a popcorn flick. A dumb action flick that had its moments and some fun also. Now in 2009 we also got Transformers 2 and that was also dumb, but not for the same reasons G.I. Joe was. I know, opinions are very fu**ed up things. I did not mind the first G.I. Joe and yet Shia going to robot heaven actually made me feel stupid sitting in the theater.

Since 2009 we have already had to sit through another Transformers movie and we are just now getting a sequel to The Real American Hero. Now G.I. Joe was set for release last summer, but a mere month before release it was quickly moved almost an entire year to 2013. The studio said it was to give them time to post-convert the film into 3D since well, you know, it makes more money. Then there were rumors swirling abound that it was to go back and let Channing Tatum re-film more footage since the same rumors also said that his Duke character bites it in the movie.


It seems the studio was telling the truth because the film was indeed converted to 3D and Channing Tatum does indeed get ended by Cobra in the first fifteen minutes. And guess what? It was the smartest decision the franchise could have made, because as much as I defend the first movie as big, dumb fun, it left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. So with G.I. Joe: Retaliation we are getting a reboot of sorts that still remains in the same movie universe.

The part that works with Retaliation is that we are trading in Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans for Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Who would not want that kind of move for an action sequel?

When we left the world at the end of G.I. Joe, Cobra Commander and Destro were locked away while Zartan was still in place as the imposter President of the United States. After Zartan calls in a surprise strike against the Joe’s, in which only Roadblock (Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) are left, Storm Shadow breaks Cobra Commander out of prison and Cobra has a big bad plan for world domination.

After this, the story wisely splits in two. One path has Roadblock, Jaye and Flint trying to convince the original Joe, Joe Coulton (Willis), that the POTUS is an imposter and they need his help trying to expose him. The second path follows Snake Eyes an Jinx as they hunt down Storm Shadow to find out what information he knows about Cobra’s plans. This really helps the movie avoid any kind of slow down that you normally would feel halfway through. In one aspect you are getting a guns blazing actioneer and then you are swapping over to a martial arts film complete with the RZA as a blind sensei and ninjas sword fighting on the side of a mountain.

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Knowing Is Half The Battle

So yeah, Cobra is trying to take over the world and the what not. The plot will not exactly win any awards, but really, are you going to see this for that? Why did you watch G.I. Joe as a kid (assuming you did)? You wanted to see the cool characters, weapons and action. Luckily we get all three of those. The new characters are much more memorable than the previous entry and each is given their own opportunity at some bad ass moments. I know Channing Tatum is Hollywood’s “IT” guy right now, but Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson can carry an action flick in their sleep. Even though I did not care for A Good Day To Die Hard, I still say Willis can get it done easily when guns are involved.

I worried that director John M. Chu would be overwhelmed with a film of this size. I mean could you really blame me? He got the job after directing Step Up 2&3 and the Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never. Yeah, exactly. Chu has taken the helm and like a great Barney Stinson moment he has said, “Challenge Accepted”. Fight scenes are quick paced, but never overwhelming and there are plenty of things that go boom. There is one especially unique fight between Roadblack and Firefly (Ray Stevenson) that is an up close gun battle within arm distance that I can honestly say I have never seen before. I have to give credit where it is due.

I got exactly what I was expecting out of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I wanted a followup to the original that felt like I was watching an episode of the 80’s cartoon. Does that involve some chuckle worthy dialogue? Yep. Did it change the fact that I had fun with the characters and manly man things? Nope. If you liked the first film (even a little bit like me), this is a good improvement and shows that the franchise could have some legs if handled properly. If you did not like 2009’s film then this should be a massive improvement over what you got. Go in expecting a fun, popcorn shoot em up that replaces the weak parts of the first film with stronger anchors and have fun.

Now you know…


One response to “Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

  1. parisvega Avatar

    You had me at “…Channing Tatum dies…”

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