Jon Chu's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

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Jon Chu's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

Post by Deviss on Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:30 pm

I'm back baby!

"I want it all."

  • Story: Three and a half Stars
  • Acting: Three and a half Stars
  • Directing: Three and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Three and a half Stars
  • Overall: Three and a half Stars

Unfortunately for you Cobra Commander... your reach has exceeded your grasp.

Man… I can't believe how long it's been since I last typed one of these up! Even though it's only been at a month, it feels like it's been two or three and while this isn't exactly the movie I would have preferred to "make my return" with, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" was an adequate improvement over the poor experience its predecessor turned out to be.

---

After an unspecified amount of time, we rejoin Captain Duke Hauser (Channing Tatum), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Marvin Hinton/Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Dashiell Faireborn/Flint (D.J. Cotrona), and Allison Hart-Burnett/Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) as they complete an extraction mission of a group of nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, Cobra operative Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), still under the guise of the current president of the Unites States (Jonathan Pryce), orders the elimination of the G.I. Joe team as part of Cobra Commander's plan to rule the world. With only Roadblock, Lady Jaye, and Flint surviving, it's up to them to find out why their comrades were killed and put a stop Cobra's dangerous ambitions.

Let me say right now that I am by no means a G.I. Joe fan. I vaguely remember the cartoon back when I was in the single digits age-wise, but I rarely watched it. I knew of the characters, to an extent, but the only real exposure I had to anything G.I. Joe-related was the less-than-stellar first installment in this series. Back then I had a fun enough time with it; the action scenes were enjoyable; the characters were fun and humorous to an extent; and the story was... adequate. Only in recent years did I come to see the holes and flaws in that movie that I'd previously ignored. One rule I've come to establish, and should have a while ago, is that just because Channing Tatum is in the movie it does not mean that movie will be good. I'm sure that's something many of you have already known, but I was biased from the first Step Up movie.

So after taking in all of the criticisms and flaws, I was cautiously optimistic when I first sat down to watch the first/reveal trailer for the apparent sequel "G.I. Joe: Retaliation". One thing that caught my attention right out of the gate was the music used: "Seven Nation Army (Remix) by The White Stripes feat. The Glitch Mob" is a good, energetic song (if you're any sort of fan of the Electronic genre) and it definitely won some points for "Retaliation" early on. And before any of you say it, I know that a song is no guarantee for the movie-in-question's quality (just look at Transformers: Rise of the Fallen), but I'm a sucker for a good song. That and the trailers' visuals; cliff-side ninja fights; a Cobra-assisted jail break; female combatants not dressed like they should be standing on street corners.

All of that and Dwayne Johnson's casting. I know he's not the best actor in the business, but of all his past movies that I've seen I have had a fun, enjoyable time watching each and every one. Yes, even "Doom" even though it was a horrible deviation from what the game was. Then again… I wanted to see that more for Karl Urban than Dwayne Johnson. Based on that, I assumed that "Retaliation" would be better than "Rise of Cobra". I mean... the sequel wouldn't be as horrid as the first movie would it? The characters in the sequel wouldn't be as ridiculous as the ones in the first right? The story in the second couldn't be as disjointed as the story in the first right? Right?!

Thankfully all of those worries proved to be for naught. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" did the one thing right that "Rise of Cobra" couldn't: It chose what it wanted to be and stuck with it. Never did the events of "Retaliation" flip-flop between serious and cheesy, something "Rise of Cobra" did much too often. Evidently director Jon Chu knew what he wanted to do with this movie before things got rolling. And I would say that "Retaliation" has raised the bar... but "Rise of Cobra" didn't leave it at a very lofty spot. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed "Retaliation", I had a good time, but it's hard to have as good of a time as one would like when the memories of a hover plane/chopper and absurd sonic-based weaponry still lurk in the recesses of my subconscious.

That reminds me... as I walked out of the theater after the movie had concluded I noticed that there wasn't a single appearance of any of the surviving characters from "Rise of Cobra". Not even a brief cameo. Hell, they didn't even get a mention in passing. Also, the word "nanomite" was said maybe once in this movie, whereas in "Rise of Cobra" it was said so much you could make a drinking game out of it. Now I'm not complaining about that, but there were a couple of instances where a throwaway line regarding the little machines would've been useful. I know it says "sequel" but in more than one spot, in more than one way, "Retaliation" felt more like a reboot than a true sequel. Hm… Or maybe a cross of the two… A "requel" or "seboot"…

Anyway, I can't say I'm necessarily surprised barely anything of "Rise of Cobra" was brought over to its sequel. Only Cobra Commander (who needs two different, less-than-known actors to portray him apparently), Storm Shadow, "President" Zartan, Duke, and Storm Shadow. Everyone else was completely new. As for the new characters... I found most of them to be enjoyable in their own ways. I enjoyed Dwayne Johnson's Roadblock; he was a fitting replacement leader since, apparently, Duke was blown out of the picture. (For movies like this, I operate under the unspoken rule of "No Body, No Death". Being a fan of Supernatural, I was pleasantly surprised to see Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, even moreso when she shoots and fights in clothes that are actually appropriate. As for the recasting/dual-casting of the character of Cobra Commander… I actually really liked that choice. Another choice I really, really liked: Cobra Commander having a proper mask! I mean really, the thing they had him wearing at the end of "Rise of Cobra" looked utterly ridiculous.

Speaking of utterly ridiculous, I am SO glad the costume design department changed Snake Eyes' costume. As cool as he was in "Rise of Cobra" that molded mouth looked f---ing stupid. It was almost as bad as the nipples on the bat suit in that one Schumacher Batman movie. (I refuse to ever name that abomination.) The updated costume looked so much better and while there could have been a skosh or two more of actual swordplay, the action scenes involving Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, or the both of them were plenty of fun. But the whole choice of Storm Shadow's character was just… random. It wasn't overly bad so much as it was just really odd.

As for Bruce Willis popping up… there really isn't much more to say aside from he was there, he had some decent moments, and that was that. I did find the sequence where he is revealing more and more and more guns and weaponry a bit, "Really? He's got all THAT in his house?" But it's a G.I. Joe movie so, I gave it that. The only person I will admittedly say should not have been in this movie was RZA. Aside from something related to "Blade: Trinity" and "The Man With the Iron Fists" I know nothing about that man. That's not true. I know that he needs serious acting training. All of his lines came off as stilted and unbelievable. I've nothing against the character, just the actor they chose to portray him.

Now the way "Retaliation" was left there could be a sequel, depending on, obviously, the success of this movie. I'll be honest, after seeing what was (and honestly should have been from the start) I'd be on board for another G.I. Joe movie so long as it maintained the continuity and either kept the bar where it was or, if they can, raise it. I'm not saying they can, but I'd welcome the attempt.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for reading... and not blowing everything up while you were here.

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Re: Jon Chu's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

Post by Tempest on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:39 pm

They killed Duke. That is all I can say bout it
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Re: Jon Chu's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

Post by Denjie on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:45 pm

Tempest wrote:They killed Duke. That is all I can say bout it
Being a G.I. Joe fan with the toys/comics before the recent movie came out this made me just about cry when I saw they did that. G.I. Joe with out Duke? NOOOOOOOO!!!! That's... that's just... so wrong... AHHHHHH.

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Re: Jon Chu's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

Post by Deviss on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:30 pm

Tempest wrote:They killed Duke. That is all I can say bout it
This.

Deviss wrote:
since, apparently, Duke was blown out of the picture. (For movies like this, I operate under the unspoken rule of "No Body, No Death").

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