No Amount Of Ninjas Or Channing Tatum Could Save 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'

By Anthony Taormina
Released: March 29, 2013
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In this sequel, 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.
Film Review
Despite a generally negative reception from critics and moviegoers alike, Paramount Pictures and MGM moved ahead with a sequel to the 2009 adaptation of the Hasbro toy, cartoon, and comic, G.I. Joe. Titled G.I. Joe: Retaliation, this sequel does its best to pretend that its predecessor doesn't exist. Save for some specific plot carryovers, the return of a few iconic characters (although most are re-imagined in some way), and Channing Tatum, Retaliation is ostensibly a do-over for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

However, while Retaliation does well to distance itself from the 2009 film, it unfortunately didn't learn anything from it either. While audiences might say that Retaliation is a better film, it's only markedly so. Retaliation has a similar flare for the outrageous, and it doesn't try all that hard to be compelling, and it's certainly not the big-budget blockbuster moviegoers were hoping for.

This time around it's G.I. Joe - America's elite fighting force - on the ropes, put there by COBRA, the shady organization run by the appropriately named Cobra Commander. Without spoiling anything, let's just say that the G.I. Joe unit, which is now under the leadership of Roadblock (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), is painted as the bad guys, but of course we know better. And so, the titular retaliation begins.

What follows is a mindless trek through uninspired action scenes, which end up treading similar territory to the original G.I. Joe, and some story beats that are more general ideas than well-thought out narrative components. The film still feels like a proper sequel in a lot of ways, which will satisfy those fans that enjoyed the first film. However, the end goal of a movie like Retaliation should have been to create an exciting piece of action cinema, which this certainly is not. Granted, it has its moments, but those are few and far between.

Ultimately, G.I. Joe Retaliation is the cinematic version of trying to slam a square peg through a round hole. If it didn't work the first time, Paramount is willing to try again with some slight changes. Instead of Dennis Quad as General Hawk, we get Bruce Willis as the original Joe. In place of a sexy red head, we get...a slightly younger red head. You get the idea. There were no lessons learned from one film to the next, so rewarding this one only confuses the issue altogether. Sure, I prefer this film to the first, but neither are terribly enjoyable action films - just mindless fluff that doesn't do much to excite.
Action Sequences
For the most part G.I. Joe: Retaliation's action is fairly uninspired. It's well choreographed - likely a byproduct of Step Up 3D director Jon Chu behind the camera - but there's nothing particularly exciting about it. The Rock shoots a big gun, Bruce Willis cracks wise remarks after taking down a few thugs, and COBRA unleashes some pretty devastating destruction, but as a whole the action is nothing more than a flash in the pan.

Release Date
March 29, 2013
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