G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a movie that didn’t really earn a whole lot of love, if any, during its initial release. Critics and fans panned the film, and yet, it still was a financial success. A sequel was ready to be made, but there wasn’t much excitement. Director Jon M. Chu was hired instead of Stephen Sommers for the sequel named, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This didn’t do a whole lot for fans, considering his filmography consists of two of the Step Up movies and the Justin Bieber 3D documentary. Although first reactions to the trailer seemed pretty positive, lots of anticipation for Retaliation disappeared when it was announced only five weeks before the film’s premiere that it would be delayed and pushed back by almost a year. The studio claimed that it wanted to convert it into 3D to perform stronger overseas, while audiences at advance screenings were disappointed by the lack of Channing Tatum. The film lost many of its followers and faced reshoots, as a result. Still, I have been looking forward to seeing G.I. Joe: Retaliation just to find out whether the extra time they had was used wisely. So now that I have seen it, I have to say that although the extra nine-month wait didn’t seem to do much for this movie, it’s passable blockbuster fluff that’s a whole lot better than its predecessor.
In G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Team Cobra is at it again, and this time they’ve killed almost every one of the G.I. Joes, including Duke (Channing Tatum), the protagonist of the first movie. Now it’s up to the last remaining Joes to defeat Cobra and clear their tainted names. The movie follows along Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), and Flint (D.J. Cotrona). With the help of Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Jinx (Elodie Yung), and the original G.I. Joe himself (Bruce Willis)…you know where this is going. And knowing is half the battle! As you could have figured, this is a very basic plot for a very basic action flick, and you shouldn’t be asking for anything else. It’s an obvious excuse, but it’s also G.I. Joe. It knows what it is, so it doesn’t try to be anything else. Though that’s also how the movie misses out on some potential. We get some great action sequences, like the epic snowy mountains fight and the last twenty minutes of the film, but don’t be too surprised if you forget most of the movie a few days after seeing it. For example, the film didn’t need character development or anything, but the characters themselves could have been a whole lot more memorable and less generic (seriously, that Flint guy did nothing in this movie). Again, the action scenes made up for most of the story and characters, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a bit more than that.
On the other hand, it was nice to see director Jon M. Chu do a pretty decent job with the film. The guy has a knack for paying attention to frequently moving detail, especially during the most exciting parts of the movie. Makes sense, considering his experience with musical performances. Chu has come a really long way, and I would like to see what else he could do in the third movie or another blockbuster. I also want to note the movie’s screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. After seeing this film, I don’t think anyone would have guessed the guys who wrote Zombieland did this. We should have gotten a much more tongue-in-cheek G.I. Joe, which I would also like to see in the third movie. The tone here is way more consistent than the one in The Rise of Cobra, but there are many times where the film takes itself too seriously. I really would like to see a goofier G.I. Joe movie that pokes fun at itself. There are moments like that in this film, though, and I would say they are some of the best parts.
So overall…it’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The hardcore fans and the average moviegoer should be perfectly fine with it, and you should, too. Though if you really want some quality entertainment that’s worth your money, just go into it with low expectations and leave your brain at the door. Yes, it’s absolutely cliché to say that, but you know exactly what you’re getting into. In fact, if you’re so interested in seeing it, why are you still reading this review? Just go watch it. You’ll probably like it.