G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Some movies are better off being left alone as they are. This franchise is one of those. ‘Rise of the Cobra’ was a good time and honorable to patriotism (in surprising, poignant moments), its sequel suffers and asks too much of its avid fans.
Since exposing Cobra’s evil plans, the G.I. Joes have been led by foot soldier turned elite soldier Duke Hauser (Channing Tatum) and have been on dozens of successful missions under his command. Aided by his second-in-command Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Duke and Roadblock are about to lead the Joes in a new mission to recover nuclear weapons. Under the rule of a man who is masquerading as the President (Jonathan Pryce), what they don’t know is that this mission is suicide. Ordering the Joes be destroyed, the few that survive the strike soon realize that their commander-in-chief is not who he seems to be.
With the assistance of Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Roadblock recruits the services of the original Joe, General Colton (Bruce Willis) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) to take down a nemesis and make sure that America is safe for another day – and they plan it all with retaliation on their mind.
Dudes who fight valiantly and win at the end of the day is one thing I am a sucker for in movies. In fact, it doesn’t set well with my psyche when there’s a threat left in need of being foiled by credits end. It’s no surprise then that with the cast of ‘Rise of the Cobra,’ it was a given the movie would become one of my favorite summertime flicks and I’ve since enjoyed repeat viewings. News of the sequel was met with a similar reaction yet sadly, I don’t think it has the same “it” factor of its predecessor based on characters from a Hasbro game. Amid a mainly new set of players, there is some terrific easy-going banter which helps lighten some of the darker powers of potential doom although unlike Rachel Nicholas’ Scarlett, I think Adrianne’s Jaye was ill-used. She was more of a pretty face than contributing (she knows how to handle herself, don’t get me wrong) team member in my estimation – or that is often the purpose of her character.
Making up for this error is the familiarity Johnson has in such a role; he’s epically good yet again and seems to roll with each punch without the awkwardness of some seasoned film stars. It’s important to warn those who were fond of the chemistry and characters of ‘Cobra,’ be prepared to either miss seeing them altogether or say good-bye. Shifting to the production, each action sequence was good even with that only-in-Hollywood factor and I liked that the good guys were human, not superheroes. The baddies were often part of a scientific experiment gone bad made worse by their villainous nature, yet this doesn’t diminish what the heroes step up to do. Though the ultimate end is excellent, the script is even more far-reaching than it needed to be. There are no surprises and how the Joes deduce the President was not really the President was too impossible to buy and accept their actions, that being said, given that there was a bad guy who needed to be stopped, I can forgive the oversights. Anyone who is bothered by righteous self-judgment being dished out after a threat has past may also want to steer clear of this movie. There are arguments to be made for each side, however in the realm of Hollywood movie magic, I prefer seeing the villains go down and stay down – for more reasons than one, not the least of which being it forces more creativity of the script writers in inevitable sequels and beyond two movies, it grows tiresome to watch the same people engage in a fierce battle.
Despite its mediocre story and re-booted team, ‘Retaliation’ does get a passing grade from this movie-watcher. It has some cool music, quality where it really counts and its heroes have mettle. That alone is worth applause.
(Parental review: multiple explosions rock various battles. An entire troop is wiped out by an air strike, bodies are seen being shot down [non-graphic] and soldiers run for their lives in the firefight. Machine guns and various other weapons are commonly employed – tanks are blown up, Cobra guards are shot down and there is an epic battle on the side of a mountain in which several people fall to their deaths. One country is blown to smithereens by an otherworldly satellite weapon. There’s a near miss use of “mother f –” and other minor language [sh*t, da*n]. A man sees a woman undress in a reflection [we see her from the back in her underwear] along with a minor sexual remark or two; there’s some immodest clothing. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is rated PG13.)


  1. I just got to watch this a week or two ago and I definitely don't think it lived up to the first movie. Which we own :P Having Johnson as Roadblock was a nice a plus and there were some fun fighting scenes (especially those with ninjas) but overall the plot really felt off to me. And they killed Duke :((( It kinda felt like after the attack on the Joes the story went kinda slowly then at the final battle boom! Almost everything explodes and then it's done :/ I was definitely hoping for something a bit better.

    1. Oh, me, too, Sierra! Really wanted this one to be as good as the first despite my skepticism (I was sure I *knew* what happened in regards to all the "old" characters SPOILER: and yes, it was sad to see who was killed off - it even warranted a mention while I was writing this review. END). Like you, I enjoyed the addition of Dwayne Johnson's character, but everything else was kind of... flat.

      I own both movies though suspect that the first will enjoy more rewatches than its sequel. :)

  2. I just watched this and enjoyed it, though I haven't yet seen the furst movie so I can't exactly compare the two. This was a great review though, and spot on.


    1. Glad you enjoyed 'Retaliation,' Layla. Since I've seen the first, inevitably I did compare the movies. Hope you enjoy the prequel if/when you ever see it - both are fun action flicks. :)

      Thanks for reading - sure appreciate it. :)

  3. I got so excited when I heard they were making a sequel... and then I watched the trailer. *sigh* I don't think I'm going to bother with this one, not after I enjoyed Rise of the Cobra so much. Great review, Rissi!

    1. ...I know the feeling, Rosie. Don't regret watching this one though I must say, 'Corba' is WAY better in my humble opinion. :)

      Thanks for reading, Rosie.


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