Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, DJ Cotrona (Rated M – 110 mins).
The 2009 original was poor, in fact the film has all but been wiped from my movie memory bank. Wasn’t that Brendan Fraser in quite an interesting cameo and Dennis Quaid trading quips with a raw Channing Tatum whilst Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked on in bewilderment? Apologies to fanboys, it was rubbish, but still made millions of dollars so another installment was always going to happen. Luckily ‘GI JOE: Retaliation 3D’ is OK, much better if viewed as simple popcorn entertainment.
Following on from the events in Rise of the Cobra, this belated sequel was due for release last year until hauled back by Paramount Pictures ordering it into a 3D conversion and some added scenes with Channing Tatum. There are some action scenes which are undeniably well done, orchestrated to perfection by elite stunt people. It is a shame the plot suffers. Spoiler free, I will try to explain the lame scenario, a backdrop if you like, for reasons to fight.
A small team of ‘Joes’ go rogue to clear their names after a corrupt government frame them as traitors. Evil corporation Cobra are the new protectors of the nation but America are not the only target. Infiltration on a much higher level with global attacks are about to be executed. Going undercover to fight back becomes treacherous business but a great excuse for explosive situations. Dwayne The Rock Johnson leads the military wild bunch as beloved character Roadblock, his presence alone makes this a better movie.
Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) are natural in their samurai fighting skills to say the least, offering more than a few heart-stopping duels with Cobra henchmen. Essentially, a glorified cameo, Bruce Willis pops up as old school G.I Joe with plenty of amusing one-liners and a shared moment with Roadblock which will please the fans. There is a Himalaya sequence that makes best use of the 3D, smart visuals are gloriously filmed with breathtaking high-flying swordplay alone make this worth a look.
However, unless you are a collector of the Hasbro toys and know G.I Joe origins, retaliation is the reaction most audiences may feel after watching this underwhelming waste of Hollywood dollars.
© Shane A. Bassett