GI Joe: Retaliation

  • 2013-04-03
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Jon M Chu

Look, if it can do an adaptation of a kids’ board game (namely Battleships) then Hollywood can most definitely it with a toy line. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure (basically: you weren’t American) GI Joe was a range of soldiers all with cool names and costumes that you could play with and dream that you were blowing people up in real life. Now Hollywood relieves you of the burden of having to use your own imagination and brings all those cool explosions to the big screen. Yeah!

After being framed for being terrorists, the GI Joes find themselves on the run from the evil Zartan who is impersonating the US President. Led by the imposing Roadblock, the now outlawed Joes find themselves trying to save the world from a fiery nuclear end. But when the forces of Cobra are installed as the world’s new peacekeepers, alongside a newly freed Cobra Commander, things become a lot more complicated.

The first film in this series (a surprising hit, meaning this sequel was all but a certainty) was defined by being rubbish. This one goes further by managing to be utter rubbish. It’s all silly names and long action sequences which – while having a slight sense of fun the first time around – are now just all flashes and bangs with no real meaning. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson does his best in the lead, proving that he has a sense of style and knowingness that makes him a cut above the many meatheads that occupy action hero status, and he manages to drag the film out of the irredeemable. Bruce Willis also turns up at some point which says more about his current tax issues that it does about the inherent quality of the script (if there was a script instead of a series of lines that simply said “Then they fight and there are lots of loud bangs”).

It’s not terrible, just derivative and not at all interesting: if you really, really need something to switch your brain off to then it just might work. But why not play with your toys instead?


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