Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Film Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...you should probably turn the brain off for two hours and enjoy the explosions and visuals."

The Joes are framed for stealing nuclear warheads by Mystique Zartan, who is impersonating the President of the United States, and subsequently killed off...

G.I. Joe: Retaliation follows the survivors of the attack, Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and two other Joes, as well as Snake Eyes, as they try to find out why they were framed and avenge their fallen comrades. They have to gather any resources available and work with anyone who will help, like General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis). As expected, it turns out Cobra Commander is behind the attacks and has this sinister plot for world domination, so they have to stop him. Oh, and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) seeks revenge for the past. It's a really predictable and cheesy story; in fact, the ending was the definition of corny -- I'm not sure if that was purposely or otherwise, but it was cooorny!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation has some great action sequences, but a lackluster story. Great shootouts, cool gadgets, booming explosions around every corner, sweet swordfights, and so on. But, the story was just mediocre. It's a very basic plot to takeover the world, and its spreads to almost two hours. Despite great charisma from leading man Dwayne Johnson, the characters aren't all that great, either. Any attempts at comedy that weren't from Colton fell flat, too. I'm not familiar with the source material, so it really doesn't have the opportunity to benefit from nostalgia. If you're not a fan of the source material or characters, you should probably turn the brain off for two hours and enjoy the explosions and visuals. At least the pacing was decent -- some spots felt a bit slow, but the action moved at a ferocious pace.

Dwayne Johnson is as charismatic as ever with a likable performance. Byung-hun Lee also stands out with the most demanding performance of them all. Bruce Willis adds some life to the movie with some actually humorous dialogue. The visual effects were great. The music was oddly fitted -- might as well have added some Linkin Park. Technically, it's a standard Hollywood blockbuster action movie. Director Jon M. Chu, who has directed TWO Justin Bieber movies (FYI), takes a page from Michael Bay's playbook -- really, this could pass for a Michael Bay film.

Overall, G.I. Joe: Retaliation has some great action sequences, but a bad story. The story is easily forgettable, the humor mostly falls flat, the characters are bland, and it has a few clich├ęs and a whole lot of corniness. The action is satisfying enough to justify at least one viewing -- rent or stream it on Netflix.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Violence and some blood.

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