G.I. Joe: Retaliation is like Zero Dark Thirty written by 1st graders (and not the ones in the gifted class).
Channing Tatum is back as Duke – the leader of a badass military strike force known as the G.I. Joes. Roadblock (Dwayne “I Call Him The Rock From A Place of Respect And Love” Johnson), Jaye (Adrienne Palicki), Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) serve under his leadership, but everyone’s abilities and faith in their country are about to be challenged when it turns out the President (Jonathan Pryce) has been replaced by a look alike, Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who has ordered the elimination of the G.I. Joes (why do big nerdy movies have the same types of plot twists you find on soap operas?).
With only a few of the brave men and women left alive, they have to get to the bottom of this conspiracy which has made it look like The Cobras are the good guys, and enabled Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) to engineer a plot to take over the world.
Can the Joes save the day?
With a release delayed from last summer to add some 3D, maybe the creative team could have added a movie to the whole production. Fans who watched the TV show and played with the toys in the 1980’s might be enthralled with the inclusion of characters and portrayals the first G.I. Joe lacked, but writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick along with director Jon Chu don’t take the time and make the effort to produce a fully developed movie that can be more than a live action version of some kid’s long held, Cadbury Egg-induced fantasy.
The Cobras don’t seem to have any real plan that can captivate the audience’s imagination, unless you consider how the audience is forced to imagine what might be the motivation and ultimate plan because it never really matters and it only gets revealed when G.I. Joe: Retaliation needs abruptly to be ended.
All attempts at humor fall flatter than a Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi left in the August sun all day, and Chu sadly tries to make the film epic in scale, scope and feel, but can’t accomplish it with this script, no matter how much overblown, loud music they toss underneath the images.
The whole enterprise got so bad people sitting the theater with me, who got FREE tickets, started laughing out loud at how mediocre and ludicrous G.I. Joe: Retaliation was becoming by the moment.
The Rock classes up the place with his typical rah-rah performance full of earnestness and goodness, while fans will be disappointed with the lack of Snake Eyes scenes. The script makes many allusions to Snake Eyes as if we are going to get some amazing moments with this dude, but his presence is quite limited.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an overcrowded, melodramatic, bombastic mess of a movie that can’t reach beyond the hard core believers and the indoctrinated.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language