Movie Review: G.I. JOE: RETALIATION 2D

It's heading towards a $50M+ box office weekend but is G.I. Joe: Retaliation a good action flick or coasting on an already established brand? Continue on for my review of Jon M. Chu's first blockbuster feature. Mild Spoilers

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By Mark Julian - 3/30/2013







"The best performance in G.I. Joe: Retaliation belongs to Ray Park as Snake Eyes, a character that doesn't speak. That should tell you everything you need to know about this film."


In the fraternity of cheesy, catchphrase-driven action flicks, G.I. Joe: Retaliation appears to have all the right qualities on paper but lacks the necessary character to join Phi Betta Bay.

If you've yet to see the film, be forewarned - everything potentially interesting (i.e. the moneyshots) about G.I. Joe: Retaliation, has already been revealed in various trailers, clips and tv spots. What that leaves is a rather bland story that dutifully plods along from one scene to the next - punctuated by brief, unoriginal fight scenes and clumsy dialogue exchanges. Yes, Duke (Channing Tatum) does indeed die in the film and fairly early on but halfway into the film, the story is fully engrossed in the larger plot to save the world and the dead Joes are all but forgotten. One of the few saving graces is that the visuals look phenomenal, Paramount and Chu should bestow praise upon Costume Designer Louise Mingenbach every chance they get. Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Jinx, Cobra Commander and even the generic Joes all convincingly look the part. However, while the Joes and Cobra 'looked' great, certain members of the cast simply didn't possess the acting skills to match their visual potential. RZA was a serviceable enough protagonist in The Man With The Iron Fist but his cameo n G.I. Joe as Blind Master results in one of the worst acting performances you'll see all year. While his performance stands out, most of the cast turns in poor-to-mediocre performances except for Ray Stevenson who's clearly having a lot of fun as the villainous Firefly. Yet oddly enough, it was mentioned that Firefly is an ex-Joe in plenty of marketing material but none of the other Joes make any reference to what should be an important aspect of his character. In fact, there's a boat load of scenes and settings shown in the film's various clips and trailers that were nowhere to be found which leads me to believe that there was a hefty amount of story left on the cutting room floor. Sure, this happens a lot in film but going back through the promotional material it seems the amount of footage cut from G.I. Joe's theatrical release easily rivals that of The Amazing Spider-Man. It will be interesting to see if we get an extended cut that beefs up the paper thin plot and supporting characters or if the additional footage will simply show up as deleted scenes.

The best performance in G.I. Joe: Retaliation belongs to Ray Park as Snake Eyes, a character that doesn't speak. That should tell you everything you need to know about this film. It seems Paramount is applying a Michael Bay-Transformers school of thought to all of their Hasbro properties - paper-thin plot that at no point conveys a real sense of threat, wrapped in tons of explosions, well-executed fight choreography and VFX. However, Bay takes this approach and still manages to have at least a few scenes in the film that surprises the audiences. A profitable surely but nonetheless, it's not a flavor you're going to savor and analyze upon exiting the theater. Hopefully, Sony will not copy Paramount's strategy and allow Chu greater flexibility with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe; the 80's franchises deserve better than what they've been getting.

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Earzmundo: "The script wasn't condensed properly and the cast crumbled at key moments"

Rormachine: "If you liked the GI JOE cartoon you might enjoy this, but I think most hardcore fans will still be disappointed."

MrSundayToSunday: "...if you’re into your Battleship/Transformers/Expendables type movie then go see it, it’s entertaining enough. For everybody else maybe rent it or just don’t see it at all, I have no strong feelings either way."



G.I. JOE: RETALIATION - Joe Colton Vignette by Movie Trailers


Running Time: 1 hr 50 minutes
Release Date: 27 March 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring:Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum, RZA, Byung-hun Lee, Elodie Yung, Bruce Willis, Ray Park and Arnold Vosloo
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Written by: Rhett Reese (screenplay), Paul Wernick (screenplay)

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gannicus - 3/30/2013, 2:30 PM
great review i figured as much the first movie sucked so i said why even make a follow up.
jazzman - 3/30/2013, 2:35 PM
@gannicus

remember the first movie made alot of money thats why they did a sequel
Gnyah123 - 3/30/2013, 2:37 PM
the first movie didnt suck...it was average....i really liked the suits though when they were running in the first movie but the first movie was pretty good...i just got back from seeing this movie...the second is def. a boost up from the first and better...
hopefully this movie will do great in the box office so we can get a 3rd movie since cobra got away!!...
BUTTPLUGG - 3/30/2013, 2:41 PM
Not going to waste the money . So many good movies coming out gotta save up.
Super12 - 3/30/2013, 2:41 PM
I saw it today. It is what it is. Anyone seeing this should go in like I did, not expecting any powerful drama or moving dialogue. Set your emotions aside and just enjoy seeing these action figures turned into real people on the big screen. It's a decent action flic and if you were a GI Joe fan as a kid it's definitely a fun romp. All in all its really not bad! acting wasnt too cheesy and the fights were good. But otherwise nothing to write home about, as expected.

Expectations = MET
MarkJulian - 3/30/2013, 2:44 PM
@earzmundo Thx! In the future guys, be sure to include your 5-star rating in your review.
OrgasmicPotatoe - 3/30/2013, 2:45 PM
Dammit, that was only the second movie ? I thought it was the third so we were done with these already...
sephiroth211 - 3/30/2013, 2:47 PM
Not knocking this till I see it, but amen on that Dredd statement.
Gnyah123 - 3/30/2013, 2:48 PM
only thing im made bout is the early death scene...
spolier...

but it wasnt bad i think it was better than the first it had its key moments ..with dialoge and the script..was average not suppose to be amazing haha lol it was good though i enjoyed it bruce willis was funny
i hope a 3rd movie will get made...its only fair to say it has to since spolier cobra got away
FightAs0ne - 3/30/2013, 2:51 PM
I really enjoyed, mostly because I went in with low expectations. It was a fun action movie.
Pathogen - 3/30/2013, 2:53 PM
The first movie was horrible (and anyone that says different is A: not a fan of GI Joe comics/cartoon or B: Just a dumb average moviegoer who swallows whatever the bland movie execs jerk off down their throats).

Of course the 2nd movie would suck.
Genaro - 3/30/2013, 2:59 PM
Yeah I saw it last night and when RZA showed up everyone was just laughing how bad he was. And was really disappointed they killed Duke. Don't go see it wait till it shows up on Netflix.
Pathogen - 3/30/2013, 3:05 PM
Why were you dissappointed they killed Duke? You should be disappointed they cast Tatum as Duke, then happy they killed that moron off.
Ocelot - 3/30/2013, 3:24 PM
sounds like the only thing that's interesting in this movie is RZA's "bad performance", it sounds so bad and comical,i've got to see it
beane2099 - 3/30/2013, 3:30 PM
Yet cool kids over at Latino Review said it was the best thing since sliced bread. I wonder why....
Darkknight23 - 3/30/2013, 3:44 PM
Lady Jaye was kinda hot
RPD - 3/30/2013, 4:18 PM
I'll give it a 3.5 to 4. It had it's good points and not-so-great points, but nothing sticks out to me as being bad. Unlike Dredd, which so many people here seem to love. That slow-mo 3D nonsense was irritating and the "villian", if you want to call her that, wasn't worth a shit...
GreenHalJordan - 3/30/2013, 4:44 PM
Id give it a 3.5 out of 5. It was pretty close to the equal balancing of camp and action as you can get. I didn't think the plot was too bad, it was engaging and the choreography was really great.
CapFan79 - 3/30/2013, 4:56 PM
The movie looked right, and by that I mean the costumes and vehicles were like the toys/show, but there are editing issues in the middle of the film. *Spoiler* First after Cobra Commander is rescued (while Snake Eyes just watches?) we're whisked away to Japan with no explanation and zero introduction to Jinx of Blind Master. I get that after the Joes were attacked SE had no where to go but some more set up would have been nice. After that Storm Shadow is captured by Snake Eyes in a cool scene, but then later when SS joins the Joes to get revenge against Zartan he's just is magically back with Cobra on a boat with no explanation. I mean, would CC not have been aware of what went down in the mountains at the temple? And then there's the Zartan issue. I mean, okay so he tricked a young SS but based on the last film it just didnt make a lot of sense as Commander is significantly younger than Zartan. So what exactly was Zartan's plan 25 yrs ago since CC was like 5?

I thought the film was decent, but they clearly cut scenes to keep the run time low. I thought the Rock was great for Roadblock. Flint really wasn't much of a character or leader. Lady Jaye was fine. I actually liked Tatum's performance this time and would have liked him to stick around. Another Joe with more personality like Shipwreck or Gung Ho could've added a lot. I liked Cobra Commander and really would have loved another 10-15 minutes of him being diabolical instead of just walking around or letting Pryce as Zartan take over more of the villain role. I'd welcome another film with both CC and Destro together with a relationship like the show and more screen time.

Perhaps a directors cut can flesh out the movie. It appears to suffer from the same issues that Daredevil had a decade ago. Again I liked it but it still was a missed opportunity. It looked right but felt like a comic with empty panels or a few pages torn out.
SkullFace616 - 3/30/2013, 4:58 PM
GI Joe shouldn't be totally serious. It's for kids. We loved it as kids and have grown up with it but it's still for kids. Hasbro want kids to buy the toys, just like they did with us with the old cartoons. I thought it was good fun and it was great to see some of my favourite characters doing their thing on screen. If this came out when I was a 12 year old I would have been over the moon. As it was I was very happy with this. Hated the first one. I have a feeling that some people go into these things wanting Oscar winning performances, which is a little bit retarded.
xXkryptoniteXx - 3/30/2013, 5:00 PM
If you payed and watched the first one. You owe it to your self on checking this one out, it is better than the first but yet it is still a bad film. Best scene in the movie is ninja's fighting in the mountains, best action scene in some time.
xXkryptoniteXx - 3/30/2013, 5:01 PM
To all the fans saying it should be like this. Lol accept it for what it is, a kids toy movie and not to be taken serious, just enjoy and laugh on some scenes.
NostalgicYouth - 3/30/2013, 5:04 PM
I'm sorry but Transformers and transformer DOTM were 10 times better then the shit fest I just saw, called G.I Joe Retaliation.
NostalgicYouth - 3/30/2013, 5:06 PM
Also the jokes were bland, and the so called emotional moments in the film had no impact, so yeah....reboot.

NostalgicYouth - 3/30/2013, 5:07 PM
But I admit the mountain scene was badass, but that's it.
CapFan79 - 3/30/2013, 5:15 PM
The opening scene when they take the nuke was good. The CC escape scene was good. It's the connecting scenes, or lack thereof that was the issue. I saw 2 TV trailed today with scenes not in the film so it was edited (by the studio?) too much!
marvel72 - 3/30/2013, 5:25 PM
i might download it,sorry it doesn't sound like its worth spending the better part of a tenner.
Jusbez22 - 3/30/2013, 6:09 PM
This movie was an absolute train wreck! Never in my life did I ever think that Channing FN Tatum could make a movie better and the more I'm watching it the more I wish Duke didnt die.
Duke and Block had the only interactions that flowed, the dialogue was so horrible! All those dog tags poured out says the "joes" are dumb as hell for being in the same area ALL at the same time. This tells me they're not a threat, they're not elite! OMG RZA's performance literally made me feel uncomfortable! It was so horrible beyond description 'nuff said! Connections were forced: Storm shadow getting the old Sandman Spiderman 3 treatment with the "you thought I did it but I didn't so now I'm a tragic character". Don't get me wrong people I'm not a real complainer when it comes to movies but the money that made this one should have gone to AIDS research!
AdamX - 3/30/2013, 6:18 PM
The movie was bad.
Swiftsword777 - 3/30/2013, 6:20 PM
WROOOOOONG!The run time on this is 1hr 39mins mr.Mark
TheSuperguy - 3/30/2013, 6:27 PM
It looks okay, but I saw Olympus Has Fallen instead, and was glad I did. Awesome action flick. Next movie I'll see will probably be Evil Dead and then Oblivion. I'll just catch this on DVD.
souhunter - 3/30/2013, 6:27 PM
I liked it. Would have been nice to see them tell how storm shadow lived from the oast one
HRDWYR - 3/30/2013, 6:30 PM
OK: EVERYONE HOLD UP FOR A SECOND! FOR THE ONES TOTALLY TRASHING THIS FILM, GET THE F@CK OVER YOURSELVES! ITS A MOVIE ABOUT...WAIT FOR IT......TOYS!!!! WTF DID YOU EXPECT?

For all the bashers: what are your movie credits?....waiting.....waiting....thought so.

For all the "Hardcore Fans"(thats a joke if youre an adult): go back and watch the old series, then come back and honestly tell us that they werent bad, corny toy ads. I love GIJOE, but I can also say watching those episodes make me chuckle a lil. They were bad. i also ran home everyday after school to wath the show and then play in my room with the Joes I just saw. I grew up playing with GIJOEs. Hell, I used to steal as many as i could from the local Walmart. I'm also 37 yrs old and I know what GIOJE was and still IS....a toyline.

Lastly, you haters act as if someone OWES you something. This sense of entitlement is staggering. If you want a better quality of product, then, as Ive said a number of times, STFU and do something about it. Wow. At least you got a sequel. At least someone actually stepped away from their computers and said, "I wanna make Joe movie" and then did it. All you do is trash someone else's hard work beacuse you read a comic book or watched a cartoon or played with a piece of plastic as a kid. I think you should just say thank you and carry on on your way.

I saw the movie today in IMAX/3D. I went in knowing that a GIJOE movie was NOT gonna have oscar-caliber acting, or a Shakespearan(sp?) story. I knew its was a movie about action figures coming life on screen. I also knew it was gonna fail to meet some of my boyhood expectations, but it was still fun to watch. For the folks who haven't seen it, leave your adulthood at the door, the kid in ya will thank you and you'll enjoy yourself. YO JOE!

-just my two cents-

HRDWYR - 3/30/2013, 6:32 PM
apologies for the typos
AdamX - 3/30/2013, 6:38 PM
The acting reminds me of every movie Uwe Boll has made thus far.
NeoBaggins - 3/30/2013, 6:41 PM
WOW! Someone is really, really upset about these reviews lol. There's a few movie I like that people generally say suck, none of which I'd defend by calling people names and crying like a punk bitch.

29% on RT. YIKES!
SymbioteJoker - 3/30/2013, 6:55 PM
It's the equivalent of watching a child playing with gi joes for an hour and 40 minutes
LOL - 3/30/2013, 7:04 PM
I never put much stock on Rotten Tomatoes as they've obviously been effing wrong before. This movie is a live action cartoon FROM a cartoon series that pretty much is a vehicle to SELL toys. People who expect more from this and are taking it WAY too seriously are deluding themselves and will be easily disappointed. The movie is OK if you want mindless entertainment. I could tell from some of the scenes that it is in a way poking fun of itself. The plot/story/sanity or lack thereof is just like the cartoons. That in itself, should make some higher than thou critics realize that films like that aren't going to go well with their slider "scale" in critiquing it.
MarkJulian - 3/30/2013, 7:08 PM
That argument is invalid on a site called comicbookmovie.com. That's like saying we shouldn't expect much from the next Batman or Avengers movie because they're based on comic books aimed at kids.
RorMachine - 3/30/2013, 7:09 PM
Weneed wins most laughable comment of the..well, ever! Where's the cockass award?
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