GI Joe: Retaliation
The first GI Joe was kind of a mess. It featured some cool fight scenes, decent acting by Tatum and Wayans, and a weird turn by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Cobra Commander. If you asked me if I thought they’d make a sequel, I would’ve said no.
Well, here we are. There’s a few new dynamics and a lot of things removed, so it’s almost like a new franchise. Does it work?
The Rock makes any movie awesome. He steals every scene and completely sells it. Smartly, Tatum and Wayans are removed from the picture (though Tatum appears in the opening prologue as a transition). Bruce Willis is also added into the mix as the original GI Joe. Both Willis and Dwayne Johnson save this movie.
The fight scenes are pretty awesome, covering the whole spectrum of gun fights, ninja sword fights, huge tank battles, and everything in between. The CGI is better this time around than the original. The movie is kind of predictable but it’s not going to win awards for story. People want badass fight scenes and this movie delivers in spades.
There are two new Joes this time around, Flint and Jaye (DJ Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki). They both do a decent job of standing up amongst the big dogs and manage to come off as humans, while given a horribly cliche script.
What doesn’t work?
The script is predictable and pretty superficial and there’s some major gaping plot holes. But again, that’s not why you’re seeing this movie.
Hands down, the worst thing about this movie, is the strange decision to cast rapper RZA as an old martial arts master who mentors Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. RZA is horrible and his prosthetics to make him look like an old man are horrible. See my review of RZA’s Man With the Iron Fists here.
If you go into this movie with the attitude of “I want explosions and I want the Rock to be awesome,” then you won’t be disappointed. If you expect the story to make sense or for there to be exceptional acting, you’ll leave feeling let down. You know already if you’ll like a movie like this.