Subscribe to industry newsletters

Underwhelming GI Joe

Expectation and hype are killers. After approximately two years of waiting GI Joe: Retaliation hits the screens and it's underwhelming to say the least. I'm not too proud to admit that I fell headfirst into the hype machine.
It's a case of last year's Ghost Rider: Vengeance again where my faith was misplaced. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) was utter rubbish, but Hollywood's hype machine made sure that they got the marketing strategy right second time around: throw in all the best bits of the movie in the trailer, add The Rock (whom everyone and their dog loves) as Roadblock, pretend that Channing Tatum is actually in the movie for more than two minutes to draw the ladies and find a place for Bruce Willis because old-school is relevant again. This strategy worked. This movie has been on my to-watch list since last year and my ass was in that cinema seat as soon as it stared the screening.

GI Joe: Retaliation is a rubbish movie, you guys. I'm sad to say it's a fun movie too. You really can't help but like it. I see a trend here. It's as if a bunch of the top Hollywood people got together in a dark room and decided that 2013 is the year of rubbish movies that people will love and to try to sneak Bruce Willis into as many of them as possible. It's a strange tactic but it works.

Underwhelming GI JoeUnderwhelming GI Joe

Ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever

Retaliation's storyline is ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever. The world's elite covert fighting force (that everyone seems to know about so clearly that they aren't good at being covert), the GI Joes are sent on a mission to Pakistan to stop some sort of nuclear standoff and end up being framed for trying to steal the nuclear weapon they were sent in to confiscate. The President of the United States orders an airstrike to eliminate the team. This is where the filmmakers take the opportunity to kill off Channing Tatum's character, Duke, and have The Rock's character take charge of what's left of the team. By now all the women who wanted to see Channing Tatum are in their seats and can't leave.

Well played, Hollywood, well played.

It turns out that the President isn't actually the President; he's the sinister Zartan in clever disguise. The casting for Zartan is confusing because this movie's hell bent on not making sense. Zartan is played by Arnold Vosloo, but as he spends most of his time as the President he is really played by Jonathan Pryce and you only see Arnold Vosloo's face once in a flashback.

Presidential imposter

Roadblock, Flint (DJ Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) are all that's left of the Joes and they "cleverly" work out that the President is an imposter and recruit Bruce Willis' character, General Joseph Colton, to help them save the world from Zartan and Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey), who's been broken out of a German maximum security prison, which turns out not to have been so maximum security after all. Cobra Commander's only job is to walk around and look like a dork in this movie; Zartan and his sidekick Firefly (Ray Stevenson) are the real villains.

Snake Eyes (Ray Park) is also alive because he was away doing ninja stuff whilst everyone else was being killed off. He is on his own adventure entirely for the most of the movie and doesn't seem to care about his buddies. He spends 40 minutes or so on a mission to capture Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) to answer for the murder of the Hard Master when they were kids. After the best action sequence of the movie it turns out that Storm Shadow didn't kill the Hard Master and it was actually Zartan (the Arnold Vosloo version) and they decide to team up to kick his ass. Someone decided that Storm Shadow should not wear a shirt for more than two seconds at a time. I guess that's meant to make up for killing Duke.

The action all comes together with Zartan using his presidential powers to force the world's nuclear countries into very cool stand-off. This is a brilliant bit in the movie. Nuclear warheads are launched, fun is poked at North Korea and London gets blown up by Cobra Commander's Zeus satellites right after everyone's forced to disarm their nuclear weapons.

The Joes show up in time to save the rest of the world and everything goes back to normal - except that London is destroyed and no one seems to be bothered in the least that one of the world's major cities is no more. It's madness!

GI Joe: Retaliation is retarded on too many levels to count and yet somehow it works. I don't know what's happening in the world anymore. Go see this movie for The Rock and the crazy shenanigans.

About Charles Siboto

Charles Siboto is a delightful, youngish person. He firmly believes that kindness matters and cannot abide people who are asshats.

Let's do Biz