G.I. Joe: Retaliation – Film Review
At least the sequel got rid of that shit.
It also got rid of the 3 main characters, so there’s that.
TL;DR Channing is around just long enough to die unceremoniously, which is utter bullshit. The Rock’s lack of charisma can’t fill the hole he leaves, and he doesn’t get any help from a needlessly convoluted, humourless plot. The first one was fun, this one’s just acting out the motions of what it thinks a $130ish million CGI blowout action movie should be. At least there’s plenty of pyrotechnics. 2 out of 5 stars.
Though, disappointingly few abs. Should have hung onto Channing for longer.
I’m gonna make an attempt at summarising this plot. So first off, Rachel Nichols and Whichever Wayons have evaporated for no reason, so Channing is now joined by Adrianne Palicki and The Rock to fill his “girl” and “black-ish” quotas. Sienna Miller’s also MIA because even she had something better to do than this. So something something the US President has been kidnapped and a supervillain is masquerading as him. He says the Joes are totes evil, you guise, and almost kills them all. Snake Eyes survives because he gets sent to prison instead (sort of), and The Rock, Adrianne and Someone Else survive the attack. They then struggle to put a stop to the Fake Prez and save the world, which includes recruiting Bruce Willis because he just loves to be in action movies these days. A fatally enormous subplot evolves with Snake Eyes, which has something to do with him battling/allying with his arch nemesis, the equally moodily titled Storm Shadow.
Fake Prez also frees the villain from the last movie that Joseph Gordon-Levitt played, but JGL is obviously too legit and serious these days to show up. The character permanently wears a mask, so recasting was easy.
My main irk about G.I. Joe: Retaliation is how stupidly involved the plot is. This is a fucking movie based on toys. At best, all we need is some excuse plot that leads to them fighting each other. Slap on a shallow romance, make sure your action scenes are on the entertaining side of retarded, and call it a day.
The sad thing is, Hasbro already nailed it with Battleship.
When I’m preferring a movie led by Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker, there is something horribly wrong.
Why I hate this movie:
The movie suffers immensely from the plot split between the actual plot with The Rock and co, and the meaningless melodrama with Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx (Storm Shadow’s cousin, Snake Eyes’ protegé). It feels like their entire half of the plot was only included so they could shove in that mountainclimbing fight sequence. Which is itself a tired clusterfuck of CGI Spider-Men, devoid of any tension.
Jinx gets no development, either. Her situation of being torn between family and her mentor is set up, then never comes to fruition. Because Storm Shadow immediately allies with Snake Eyes.
Speaking of embarrassing female characters, Adrianne seems to be there only for her body. On two separate missions she has to use her womanliness to fulfil her role (baiting the Fake Prez’s colleague, and getting into the ball). Now I’m no Anita Sarkeesian fan, but I think she might have a point on this one.
The dumb gadgets don’t wait around to surface. The opening scene has The Rock using some super special gloves to melt a wire fence. This is apparently their only use, because we never see them again.
It gets worse. One of the Joes has pilotable bullets in his rifle. Because curving bullets in Wanted wasn’t stupid enough.
The nanomites are back, but are only used for Fake Prez’s face. The Eiffel Tower consuming bombs have been replaced with evil satellites that shoot big metal rods really fast.
In fact, we get to see one of them in action. When it utterly obliterates the shit out of London. Which nobody seems to care about 2 seconds after it happens.
The whole nuclear standoff sequence is uncomfortably slapstick. Everyone launches nukes at everyone just because.
Storm Shadow cuts a bullet in half when he’s shot at point blank range. It transcends coolness and ends up as purely silly.
There’s annoying action scene slo-mo and wub wub like in Oblivion.
Ryan Hansen is a nameless Joe grunt who gets killed without barely even a line. Why bother casting him?
Oh, and yeah, Channing gets fucking killed. The Rock and Adrianne are then joined by some nobody who means nothing to anyone.
Reasons to watch:
All the explosions are nice and showy and full of fireworks. Which is exactly what I wanted. Give me flashy, not gritty.
The destruction of London is particularly amazing.
Even despite their lack of shirtlessness, The Rock and Channing are super ripped. It’s, like, scary how built The Rock is. Crazy-tight shirts are about the best we get, but it’ll do.
Someone who does take it off is Storm Shadow. He’s a bit skinny, but fuck that boy is cut. Like, fuck. Like, holy fuck. It almost makes up for Adrianne’s boobing.
The real face of Fake Prez is Imhotep from The Mummy. Ah, good times.
During a pre-ally clash, Storm Shadow throws ninja stars at Snake Eyes, who shoots them down with his machine gun. Unlike the bullet slicing, it’s pretty cool.
As tonally distracting as it is, the nuclear standoff was a solid plan. Fake Prez goaded all the nuclear nations into launching all their nukes by launching America’s. He then terminated America’s, and everyone followed suit. Which left everyone with zero nukes, and Fake Prez with zero nukes plus an array of more-powerful-than-nukes supervillain toys. Touché.
The two villains from the first movie appear in the superjail that Storm Shadow infiltrates by pretending to be Snake Eyes. Cobra Commander even gets freed. Continuity matters. Even if casting doesn’t.
Best line of the movie goes to Cobra Commander. He’s lording his power over the nuclear leader meeting, and has a very fabulous response to a simple request:
Random: “What is it you want?”
Cobra Commander: “I want it all.”
Imagine having everything we ever dreamed.
In her defence, Adrianne’s boobs do look fantastic.
Cobra Commander gets away, so maybe the next sequel will fix things. Fingers crossed for a retcon of Channing’s death.
Oh, and for once in a movie we’ve got competent door guards. Fake Prez’s men initially allow Adrianne into the party as she’s posing as someone else. But they actually, you know, follow up and figure her out. Snaps for them.
You’d be better off watching the first one and just trying to block out that awful CGI car chase. And Rachel Nichols shits on Adrianne Palicki any day. 2 out of 5 stars.