The Joe’s are back and are ready to kick some ass! Wait, scratch that! The Joe’s are back and are ready to have their asses handed to them in the first 20 mins of screen time. The stakes are raised in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and people are dropping like flies… fireflies (Ha! pun for the win!). So, does the movie give you the sweet sensation of a smooth body massage from Roadblock, or are you better off saving your money, staying home and watching the awesome cartoon G.I. Joe movie? Let’s get on with this review and read it like we stole it (hmm, modifying Duke’s saying doesn’t work that great in this situation).
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.
I won’t lie, this image kinda gives me a semi.
Surprisingly enough, Retaliation is in fact a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise
of Cobra, even though most of the original cast is missing (good or bad? up to you), save for a few and
beside a few story strands left up in the air, the film does a good enough job at getting you either caught up, or if you missed the first, getting you in on the necessary knowledge you need to enjoy this movie. Which is a good thing, as knowing is half the battle (come on, you had to know I was going to throw that line in this review somewhere).
I won’t lie, this image kinda gives me… haha just joking. Or am I?
After a quick intro with our new characters of the film, which consist mainly of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Roadblock, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye and D.J. Cotrona as Flint (don’t worry Channing Tatum fans, Duke does make an appearance in this movie, for how long though, that’s for you to be either happy or disappointed with), we find out that Zartan is still disguised as the President (played brilliantly by Jonathan Pryce) and Cobra Commander and Destro are still locked up in some hidden base. Storm Shadow is very much alive and working to free them, which surprise surprise, does happen. (Well, Cobra Commander is freed, Destro get’s criminally sidelined in this one, which sucks big time. In fact, even Cobra Commander takes a back seat in this movie, barely making an appearance, which is a big shame, as he looks and sounds freaking awesome this time around.)
Ray Stevenson as Firefly was also pretty awesome, especially his bike made of rockets (okay, that can qualify as outlandish).
The Joe’s get set up by the President and it comes down to the “big” three, along with a special appearance by Bruce Willis, as Joe Colton (who does an okay job, but feels like he’s phoning in his performance a little bit), to save the world and stop Cobra from destroying everything and everyone. Cobra’s plan is actually fairly interesting and not as outlandish as the first movie. It basically involves shooting big rods into Earth and decimating several countries. Sadly, outlandish seems to be mainly lacking from the entire plot, where Jon M. Chu (director) decided to make this outing a little more grounded in reality. Don’t get me wrong, we do have some pretty gnarly action scenes, with the Snake Eyes (yes, he is back!) and Jinx (Storm Shadow’s cousin! Oh the soap opera drama!) mountain ninja fight, being the biggest highlight in this movie. Even with some dodgy CGI, the action is pretty nonstop during this entire scene and always exhilarating. A quick word on the 3D needs to be made here. It’s pointless and doesn’t provide you anything, except a few quick flinches when they throw something at you (sword, ninja stars), but makes the scenes seem blurry and dark. Don’t waste your money on this unnecessary 3D experience.
I won’t lie…
My feelings are a little up in the air on this one, as it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the original and I’m having a hard time figuring out which one I like better. I think it comes down to whether or not you enjoyed Channing Tatum as Duke and whether or not the first movie’s almost over the top experience was to your liking or not. If by chance you’d rather have a more “adult” G.I. Joe experience, then Retaliation will probably be right up your alley. I personally feel like this is a worthy continuation of the series, but has a few glaring problems (lack of the silver faced Commander being the biggest problem). I hope that the eventual sequel (trust me, there will be one) provides us a little more time with Cobra Commander and a good mix of the outlandish of the first and the grittiness of the second. It might sound like an impossible mission, but I’m sure the Joe’s will make it look easy.