G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

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

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Planning an assault.

Loud, confusing, pointless and plotless are not exactly words one likes to use in a film review, but in this case, these terms are more than an apt description of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the second G.I. Joe movie (the Hasbro Studio generation, not the classic 1945 picture starring Robert Mitchum). And like the company’s last venture, “Battleship,” this does no honor to the men and women of our military armed forces.

I wish, however, that I could report that it was loud, confusing, pointless, plotless and FUN, but in fairness, I cannot even do that (although it is infinitely better than the 2008 original production, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra“). G.I. Joe: Retaliation is just a series of explosions, gun battles and sword fights briefly interspersed with a theme about nuclear disarmament and a couple of scenes with Channing Tatum (“21 Jump Street“) and Bruce Willis, who, although is ten times more entertaining than he was in “A Good Day to Die Hard,” cannot save this enterprise. Likewise, neither can the presence of a genuine actor, Jonathan Pryce (“The Brothers Grimm“), in a double role as the U.S. president and an imposter to the office.

The “plot” has the elite commando “Joe” unit preventing a nuclear meltdown after the president of Pakistan is assassinated, but find themselves betrayed and almost wiped out by their own government. It isn’t their fault, however, since the Chief Executive is an evil Cobra operative in disguise. The three survivors, Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson, formerly “The Rock” and appearing in what seems his 20th picture of 2013), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, the remake of “Red Dawn“) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona, “Dear John“), somehow make it back to the states, are hidden by an Ice-T clone, meet retired General Joe Colton (Willis) and plan their revenge. Meanwhile, something is going on in a monastery in Tibet having to do with Snake Eyes (Ray Park, “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever“) and Jinx (Elodie Yung, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“) trying to stuff Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee, “I Saw the Devil“) into a bag. These mountain conflicts with a seemingly endless stream of Ninjas were impressive, but amazingly disengaged, almost as if director Jon Chu (the last two “Step Up” movies) just pointed the camera at the cast and then went on vacation.

As this is going on, we get a few tantalizing sequences with Jonathan Pryce gloriously chewing the White House scenery, insulting North Korea (hey, who could resist?) and blowing up London on a whim. As previously alluded to, his inclusion does not salvage this effort, but does make it go down — somewhat — easier.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

“Roadblock” taking charge.

There are other elements to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but none make it any better: Firefly (Ray Stevenson, “Thor“) cracks wise and releases explosive bugs, Roadblock gets to take on the U.S. Army in a dune buggy/tank contraption, Zartan (Arnold Vosloo, “Blood Diamond“) does his best Darth Vader impersonation and Walton Goggins (“Django Unchained“) as the smug warden gets his comeuppance.

Mainly, though, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is just a 12-year-old boy’s violence fantasy adventure with enough epilepsy-producing struggles that the identification of good guys and villains is reduced to simply hazarding a guess. Those familiar with “Snake Eyes,” “Storm Shadow,” “Lady Jaye,” “Roadblock,” “Jinx,” “Zartan,” “Firefly” and others may not have such a problem due to their closeness and affection for the characters, but to others like myself who could not care less, interpreting the differences is far too much of an effort to devote.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)' have 20 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 11:10 am Knight

    And here I thought the bar couldn’t go any lower than Rise of Cobra.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 11:11 am Orchestrator

    I’m going to see this just so I can goof on it afterwards.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 9:19 pm kgereg

      The cash register records a sale whether you watch it to goof on it or because you have genuine interest in it. Stop giving them your money and they’ll eventually stop making this garbage.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 11:28 am David Garvey

    Is Bruce Willis in every movie where explosions outnumber sensible decisions 20 to 1? His inclusion in these heaps of crap hurts my brain.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 11:46 am Quaker70

    Contender for the most idiotic movie. Ever.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 12:02 pm Patriot

    What do a hundred rewrites, reshoots to get more screen time for the animatronic Tatum and lousy 3D effects spell?

    Disaster. Which is precisely what Retaliation is.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 1:34 pm Midnight_Dreamer

      That Nintendo family scene seemed out of place. I’ll bet it was one of the Channing Tatum add-ins you mention.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 5:52 pm BoxedPanda

      Yeah its a disaster but it is still better than the first Joe movie. Retaliation doesn’t rely on insane gadgetry gimmicks, it is grittier and, while it does require a healthy dose of belief suspension, it is more realistic.

      • The Critical Movie Critics

        March 30, 2013 @ 3:36 pm Jon

        That’s what you call a healthy dose? I’m scared to see what you call an overdose.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 12:22 pm DustyDude

    I didn’t need your review to know to skip this. No one should.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 12:44 pm Virginia C

    Two words: train wreck.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 1:20 pm Jestrix

    My favorite plot point is all the world leaders carry with them a black briefcase that can launch their entire nuclear arsenal. A tremendous amount of thought must have gone into dreaming that up.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 3:17 pm Tarzan

      Complete with a red Abort button!

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 8:13 pm Blumpkin

      Screenwriting 101

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 2:31 pm DoctorNaughty

    On the bright side they rid themselves of Marlon Wayans.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 3:56 pm Cedric

      Lost Sienna Miller in the cut too :(

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 6:34 pm hustler

    How did anyone expect something other than a big dumb knock ’em out action movie? It’s GI-fucking-Joe for shit’s sake.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      March 29, 2013 @ 10:50 pm Crosby

      We expect some level of effort in writing, directing and acting in our “big dumb knock ‘em out action movies.”

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 29, 2013 @ 6:48 pm Ice

    It’s bad but not bad enough that a third isn’t in the works…

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 31, 2013 @ 4:18 pm HulaGirl

    Good call adding Dwayne Johnson to the team. This hunk of a man is the new and improved Arnold and reason enough for me to want to see this movie I have no interest in seeing.

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