I'm just going to say right off the bat that if you are looking for some sort of in depth critical analysis involving the merits, or lack thereof, of G.I. Joe: Retaliation then you have come to the wrong place. This is, after all, a film based on a Hasbro toy line of action figures and a popular series of comic books and cartoons from the 80s. I can offer you no reasonable rationale why I would enjoy a film that many would deem a vapid, soulless, noisy action extravaganza full of endless shooting and explosions, other than to say that it was fun... and cool... and entertaining... and fun... ooh, and there was that part when Snake Eyes and Jinx are scaling a mountain in the Himalayas and a whole bunch of ninjas descend upon them with cables and zip lines and start sword fighting on the sheer cliff for like 5 minutes... man that was bad-ass... oh and that part when Storm Shadow helps break out Cobra Commander from a maximum security prison (oops, spoiler alert) with the help of Firefly who's played by that dude who was the nasty Russian gangster on the last season of Dexter and the amazing Titus Pullo on Rome, oh yeah and he once played the Punisher too... yeah, that guy is awesome... oooh, and how can I forget that it starred "The Rock" who is totally the best action star now, even if he didn't raise his eyebrow and inquire if anyone could smell what he was cooking, but he got to shoot some really big guns and drive a massive tank and make some funnies too.
So, the point I'm trying to make amidst all of this incessant babble is that this film essentially transported me back to the age of 10 when I can fondly remember playing with my G.I. Joe toys and reading the comic books (by the way, I still have almost a complete run of issues 1-90 that I'm willing to sell if anyone is interested - contact me at [email protected]).
For those who actually care about the plot, the film begins with the elite military team known as the Joes, who are now led by Duke (Channing Tatum), being sent to the Middle East to recover some nuclear weapons. There, they are double-crossed by their own government, led by an impostor president, and suffer many casualties during an ambush. *Spoiler alert* The only survivors include Roadblock (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, who provides plenty of eye candy - hubba hubba!), who are now on their own to figure out their enemies evil plan. *End Spoiler Alert*
Of course anyone who saw 2009's Rise of Cobra will know who is behind the evil doings and will remember that the nasty Zartan is posing as the president while the real commander in chief is being held prisoner inside a bomb shelter. Jonathan Pryce once again reprises his dual role and he gets to ham it up a bit as the impostor.
The remaining Joes enlist the aid of the original Joe, General Colton (Bruce Willis, who once again pretty much sleepwalks through his small role just smirking and firing off a couple of one-liners) and call upon Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) to help them thwart Cobra from their master plan to rule the world. You know, that old chestnut.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a pretty silly and dumb movie if you actually stop to think about it, and it clearly wears its U.S. patriotism and love of guns proudly on its sleeve by providing a cacophony of noisy explosions and gun battles throughout. But then again, I wasn't expecting much beyond just some mindless and cartoonish fun and action. This movie plays perfectly in the wheelhouse for fans of this genre and I think that anyone who enjoyed the first movie will no doubt be satisfied by this improved sequel.
Hey, I got to reminisce a little about my childhood and enjoy some cool characters blowing stuff up plus ninjas fought on a cliff. It can't be all that bad now can it?
I give G.I. Joe: Retaliation a 6 out of 10.