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
"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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