G.I. Joe: Retaliation
G.I. Joe: Retaliation opens this week to renew our love of unrealistic action adventures built around comic characters and buff heroes. “Easy”, you say as you wonder how hard I’m going to come down on this comic adventure. Well this might be a mixed review covered by a Dad and his 13 year-old son who together saw the 3D version from Step Up director Jon M. Chu. It was always going to be hard to take an ‘M’ rated movie seriously when a huge 3D Hasbro logo is thrust into view in the opening minutes but you will be quickly transported past this to actionland.
With a line-up including Channing Tatum, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Bruce Willis you have a feel that this won’t be a thriller for the mind. To his credit I think Jon M. Chu caught the essence of the G.I. Joe character as more action comic than serious drama. The costumes, explosions and gun size all contribute to a not so real ride. While most of the stunts give a sense of martial arts wow factor some of the effects were so unreal you felt back in comic book mode.
Hasbro must be over the moon with the extra publicity their plastic super doll gets out of the G.I.Joe movie franchise. Even if its not quite targeted at a 7 year-old boy’s birthday party present list, the 28 year-old fathers and 52 year-old granddads will probably be buying all the right toys for the children and grand-children.
Our story follows a betrayed G.I. Joe division trying to recover from an event that depletes its numbers of super soldiers. In the backdrop this was all part of a plan by Cobra to put the safety of the world at risk and due for annihilation unless the leader’s of the nuclear world bow their heads to the evil overlord. All of the betrayal is washed in murky waters due to an evil President in part played by Jonathan Pryce with a psychitzo performance. World Leaders are running around with their heads cut off while the boys and girl in camouflage khaki renew their armoury from the kitchen cupboards of retired General Joe Colton played by Bruce Willis. Out of the kitchen and into the fire, the G.I. Joes start the road back to freedom and save the day.
The cast is dressed up by some ‘beautiful people’ performances from D J Cotrona as Flint and Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye. Elodie Yung as Jinx and Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow give us the martial arts performance and its the reliable Ray Park as Snake Eyes who gives us the strong silent type.
Be prepared to ask ‘Why’ when lead characters don’t last the distance. It was a reminder to me of when a lead actor on the movie poster left ‘Executive Decision’ in the first 15 minutes to keep an audience going… ‘What Happened!’ Equally another supposed lead actor might have had 30 seconds of screen time and half of that was as a photo on a computer screen. I’d love to know how much their paying for appearance money these days.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a mixed bag. The 3D is well filmed and plays right into the comic book style setting. The story isn’t strong but its always hard to write a script with seven one-liners and four explosions per page. All up it was a fun night out for a 13 year-old who said it wasn’t as good as Avengers but it was good!
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford