Movie Review – G.I. Joe: Retaliation

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Directed by John M. Chu

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jonathon Pryce, Byung-hun Lee, Elodie Yung, Ray Stevenson, DJ Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum, Ray Park, and Bruce Willis.

Backstory

We’ve reached that point where all my favourite childhood properties are coming to the big screen, such as the Real American Hero, G.I. Joe. Now, I loved the first movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It was big, it was action-packed, it was everything I remembered watching the cartoon as a kid. And, even though it was a fairly run-of-the-mill action film, my childhood nostalgia for the property blinded me to its flaws. Needless to say, I was pumped for the sequel…which was supposed to come out in the summer of last year, but got pushed back to this spring because they decided at the last minute to convert it to 3D. Was it worth the extra wait?

Plot

When last we left the Joes, they had succeeded in throwing Cobra Commander behind bars. However, Cobra’s master of disguise, Zartan, was now impersonating the President of the United States. And President Zartan’s first act? Making it appear that G.I. Joe has gone rogue, and terminating the Joes with extreme prejudice. The only surviving Joes from the attack are Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye. Now, branded rogue agents, these three quickly recruit Snake Eyes (who was off training in Japan) and recruit his apprentice Jinx to help prove that the President is an imposter, clear their names, and avenge their fellow Joes. They also enlist the founder of G.I. Joe, the retired General Joseph Colton, to assist in their campaign. Meanwhile, Snake Eyes and Jinx are on their own mission…capturing Storm Shadow and bringing him to justice for murdering their ninja master. But, with Cobra Commander fresh out of prison, Zartan in the White House, and the saboteur Firefly now aiding Cobra, are the Joes finally in over their head?

What I Liked

Compared to the first film, this is a grittier, more realistic take on G.I. Joe. The sci-fi, futuristic weapons of war are downplayed for a stronger focus on modern warfare. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is pretty good as Roadblock, as he brings all the swagger and charm that he’s known for to show his natural leadership of the Joes. I just loved the amazing ninja fight scene in Japan where Snake Eyes and Jinx are on Storm Shadow’s trail, and their chasing each other on zip lines all through the mountains. And it’s good to see Cobra Commander in his trademark silver face plate and acting more like his old self. And there were a few nice little shout-outs to fans of the franchise.

What I Didn’t Like

Jinx! Jinx was one of my favourites when I was a kid, and she totally gets the short end of the stick here. She only has, like, 6 lines and a cool fight sequence. Bruce Willis is in total “I’m just doing this for the paycheck” mode and seems half-asleep for most of his scenes. And aside from the ninja battle, there were no really big action set pieces that really stood out.

Final Assessment

Meh. My childhood nostalgia was no longer enough to blind me to the faults. This was just a run-of-the-mill action film, surprisingly short on big action scenes and fun character moments.

2 Nibs

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