Movie Review

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Poster

US Release Date: 03-28-2013

Directed by: Jon M. Chu


  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Roadblock
  • Jonathan Pryce
  • the President of the United States
  • Bruce Willis
  • General Joseph Colton
  • Lee Byung-hun
  • Storm Shadow
  • Elodie Yung
  • Jinx
  • Ray Stevenson
  • Firefly
  • D.J. Cotrona
  • Flint
  • Adrianne Palicki
  • Lady Jaye
  • Channing Tatum
  • Duke
  • Ray Park
  • Snake Eyes
  • Walton Goggins
  • Warden Nigel James
  • Joseph Mazzello
  • Mouse
  • Luke Bracey
  • Cobra Commander
  • Arnold Vosloo
  • Zartan
  • RZA
  • Blind Master
  • Joe Chrest
  • Chief of Staff
  • James Carville
  • Himself
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: March 31st, 2013
Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

I didn't see 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and I never watched the cartoon. My only recollection of G.I. Joe is as an action figure from the 1970's and the original 1945 movie starring Burgess Meredith. G.I. Joe: Retaliation did absolutely nothing to make me a fan of this 21st Century incarnation of an American icon.

Channing Tatum, who reprises his role as Duke, disappears from the movie within the first 30 minutes, proving he's no fool. This movie is a perfect trifecta. It's poorly written, lazily directed and badly acted. The dialogue and plot would have been wittier and more clever if it was thought up by a 12 year old child playing with action figures in a backyard sandbox.

The ridiculous plot has arch enemy Zartan posing as the President of the United States. He has a cockamamie plot to take over the world by getting all the leaders of the nuclear armed countries together and then tricking them into destroying all of their nukes. First, though, he orders a surprise attack on the Joes to ensure they are out of his way.

The movie opens with buddy scenes between Dwayne Johnson's Roadblock and Channing Tatum's Duke. They engage in mindless banter and silly gamesmanship. You know the type of generic bonding alpha males experience in action flicks.

The script tries for some lame emotional crap at the end but it means nothing after all the silly action scenes that came before it. And the manner in which they discover the president is an imposter is laughable. Bruce Willis actually looks embarrassed to be in this movie as well he should.

I know it is still only March but G.I. Joe: Retaliation has my vote as the early favorite for worst movie of 2013.

Reviewed on: March 31st, 2013
Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

It seems to have taken forever for this movie to be released. Not because I've been anxiously awaiting it, but because the first trailer for it was released in 2011 and an expensive ad for it was played during the 2012 Super Bowl. It was originally scheduled for release in June of 2012, but Paramount pulled it from their schedule at the last minute so they could convert it to 3D. It was pulled so late from the schedules that tie-in merchandise was already in stores and had to be pulled from shelves. It's too bad that the studio didn't take that extra year to do something to actually improve the film, like rewriting it.

The general critical consensus seems to be that this sequel is in some way superior to the first G.I. Joe film, but I disagree. Rereading my review for that earlier installment, I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed it, because I don't remember all that much about it. I imagine this one will remain in my memory for even less time.

Although I was never a huge fan of the original cartoon, being just a little too old, I was familiar enough with it to know the premise and the characters. One of the best things about it was the plethora of different characters, each with their own distinct costume, accent and talents, which was the cartoon equivalent of personality. In this film though, we've only got Duke, who dies quite quickly, Roadblock, the original Joe, Lady Jaye, and Flint, all of whom have barely enough personality between them to make 2 people. Once again, it's Snake Eyes alone who stands out, in part because his muteness means that he isn't saddled with any of the horrendous dialogue that plagues the rest of the cast.

As in the original cartoon and first movie, it is Snake Eyes who gets the best scene. Although completely implausible, his flight with Jinx down sheer cliffs on the end of a rope, while being chased by an army of ninjas, is the highlight of the film and one of the few times when the 3D actually seems worth it.

The only other thing that could be said in the film's favor is that there is some eye-candy in the form of The Rock, Channing Tatum and Adrianne Palicki. Whichever sex you find attractive, there's someone for you to leer at. Palicki, who made headlines awhile back playing Wonder Woman in a pilot that never made it to air, is particularly stunning in a cleavage-baring red dress.

I was going to call this movie, mindless entertainment, but that implies there is some entertainment to be found in it. Mindless, almost, but not quite, entertaining for a few seconds here and there, would be a more accurate description.

Reviewed on: April 3rd, 2013
Adrianne Palicki, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park and D.J. Cotrona in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Adrianne Palicki, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park and D.J. Cotrona in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

I am seriously in disagreement with what my brothers wrote about this movie. Their reviews are way too harsh on G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  It is action packed and paced at break neck speed. It is comic book fantasy fun. I am at a loss as to what they disliked so much about this film.

Patrick complained that the plot of a person pretending to be the President of the United States to trick all the leaders of the nuclear armed countries into destroying all of their nukes is ridiculous. Scott called it nearly mindless. I find that interesting considering their opinions on The Beastmaster (1982). Patrick wrote of it, "If you accept it for what it is this movie is still enjoyable." Scott wrote that he rather enjoyed himself while watching it. Mind you, The Beastmaster is about a loin cloth wearing prince who was stolen from in utero and magically teleported into the fetus of a cow. He then grows up to have the ability to talk to animals.  They accept that as a legitimate fantasy plot but not one about a person pretending to be the President?

The fact that Tatum disappears early in the film is a good thing. Tatum does not have the presence to play someone with authority. Look no further than his role in The Eagle (2011) for proof.  The Rock, perhaps due to his physique or mannerisms, comes across as someone meant to lead men. He is much better in the role than Tatum as leader of the G.I. Joes.

Bruce Willis is likewise a good addition to the series. His aged charm and casual masculinity is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood and even John Wayne. His cholesterol line, although highly featured in the previews, remains a great quip.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation attempts to be one thing and one thing only, adventure/fantasy entertainment. The movie moves quickly from one action sequence to another. Each providing a surface level of tension and excitement. The best sequence being the battle in the mountains where Snake Eyes battles Storm Shadow and Jinx fights Snooki. The chase and subsequent fight along the cliffs, hanging by cables is unrealistic but still the best action sequence to be found on the big screen so far this year. It is vastly better than the pathetic glacier wind surfing scene in Die Another Day (2002), which Scott gave 3 stars.   

Movies are the best form of escapism. Some make us think, while others simply allow us to enter a world of wonder. The world of G.I. Joe is a place where men are men and women are hot. It is a place where the good guys win against insurmountable odds. It is a place that can delight the inner boy in all men, except apparently for those who have forgotten those childhood moments where action figures saved the day.    

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