Ror Reviews: G.I. JOE: RETALIATION 3D
I wasn't a big fan of G.I. JOE: Rise Of Cobra, to put it kindly. But with this sequel we had some new blood in the form of The Rock, and a new director in Jon Chu so I went in with an open mind, and left..well you'll have to read on to find out!
Sometimes a movie can overcome its shortcomings by really excelling in some particular way. It happens a lot with certain types of action flicks - you just get hammered into submission with the sheer level of inventive carnage on display that you find yourself having fun despite stifling a laugh every time anyone opens their mouth. GI JOE: Retaliation is not one of those movies.
I didn't expect much - I mean let's be honest, the first movie was pretty much an abomination - but I thought that maybe with a new director, the addition of The Rock, and less of Channing Tatum's block-of-wood Duke that maybe this would be an improvement, and to be fair, it is...just!
The film has its moments. A very well executed ninja smackdown on a cliff-side is easily the highlight, and involves the most interesting characters: Storm Shadow (an impressive Byung Hun Lee) and Snake Eyes (a masked, mute Ray Park). Former Wonder Woman Adrianne Palicki - despite being used shamelessly on THREE separate occasions purely as eye candy - also gives a pretty good performance as Lady Jaye, but doesn't have a lot to work with beyond a "I wanna make my dead daddy proud" thing. Unfortunately that's pretty much the story all around cast wise. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can be a genuinely engaging screen presence, not here. There is some mildly amusing banter between he and Tatum early on but after that he's reduced to cheesy machismo while holding large guns. DJ Cotrona is also in it ..as ..is it Flint? I actually can't remember if he even does anything except perv on Palicki. Oh and RZA gives quite possibly the worst performance by anyone, in the history of cinema..ever! (I'm only slightly exaggerating)
In the bad guy camp we have a new COBRA Commander, who wears a shiny mask and walks around with his hands behind his back a bit, Ray Stevenson pops up as a ridiculously accented Firely, and Zartan does his master of disguise thing as The President - leaving Jonathan Pryce to pretty much walk away with the movie. His lines are just as awful as everyone else's, but he knows how to make you laugh with him, not at him.
But nobody goes to see these type of movies for the Oscar worthy performances do they? They want big, exciting, explosive action and special effects! Thing is, with GI JOE: Retaliation you don't even get THAT! The action is bland, predictable and - most surprisingly given the movie's budget - cheap looking, and the hand-to-hand battles are kiddie-proofed to the point of having zero impact. Although, one aspect that does work pretty well is the 3D. It still has that same dull look that all post conversions have of course, but at least director Jon Chu makes use of the gimmick with a few nice shots here and there.
If you liked the GI JOE cartoon you might enjoy this, but I think most hardcore fans will still be disappointed. By the time the ending rolls around and The Rock fires a gun into the air for no [frick]ing reason whatsoever, it's become painfully obvious that we'll be getting a third movie. But if you take my advice you'll skip it. Demand more - even from "big dumb popcorn" flicks - and spend your money on something like Danny Boyle's Trance instead.
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