Posted April 2, 2013 by Nicolo Parungo in Movies/TV

Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

If anyone remembers G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and it’s MANY problems that mostly include bad acting, the lack of star power and Joseph Gordon Levitz trying to be an evil bad-ass than G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a fitting title for a sequel as it tries to retaliate (HA HA!) for the failures of its predecessor. Most of the actors from the previous film are gone except for Channing Tatum and whoever plays as the good and bad ninjas while current WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Die Hard veteran Bruce Willis are added for more appeal. You can easily watch this without knowing anything about G.I. Joe so it feels more like a reboot than a sequel and that’s all fine and dandy. With all the problems of the previous film seemingly solved what could possibly go wrong? The short answer is A LOT OF THINGS. The long answer is the rest of this review.

G.I. JOE Poster

Minor spoilers below:

I will admit that looking for ANYTHING remotely complex or deep in a summer blockbuster is like ordering a Bacon Cheeseburger in a vegetarian restaurant and in my defense I wasn’t looking for any of that. I just wanted some ninjas, a straight forward plot and more ninjas. Obviously no one is going to watch this movie for a coherent plot we are here for the action which is good, because most of the action is pretty kick-ass. The opening raid where all the Joes get a chance to shine is nice and there is also an epic fight scene with hundreds of bad ninjas versus two good ninjas, but the true highlight of the film is the battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it’s full of awesome and win. There are also plenty of crazy weapons which are always a plus in my book; you’ll see dragonfly bombs and guns that shoot homing bullets which are pretty cool. Plus SHURIKENS!

Cobra Commander

I also enjoy how the movie embraces the campy nature of its source material; the villains in particular ARE A RIOT. They’re cheesy and over the top and they make it seem fun to be on the dark side. At one point you find out that they don’t pay taxes, simply because they are EVIL! No questions asked. The good guys on the other hand are BORE. The Rock and Willis are fine, but their buddies suck the fun out of the movie. One of them is a bland dude (D.J. Cotrona) who does parqour like once and never does it again, while the other is a chick (Adrianne Palicki) who manages to be both a tech-geek and an army brat with daddy issues which is two clichés in one, three if you count the fact that she’s hot. Both “characters” if you can call them that, could have been replaced by a bouncer and a hooker respectively and no one would notice the difference, they are a waste of space and add NOTHING to the story. Would it have killed the writers to give them ANY kind of personality no matter how simple? They’re so thin and empty that they make WWE superstars look three dimensional in comparison.

The film takes a turn for the worse during the middle, because it slows down considerably to the point that it forces me to realize how dumb the movie really is and nitpick it to death! There are plot-holes that involve characters in point A immediately being in point C without explaining whatever happened in point B because LOGIC IS FOR NERDS! And then there are just really stupid moments like how the aforementioned bland girl reveals her baggage with her dad in one of the stupidest scenes I have ever seen! However it’s not as stupid as a certain character switching alliances because he—I WISH I WERE KIDDING—thinks really hard about a flashback. Also whoever decided to get RZA as the blind master needs to have their head examined then RIPPED OFF.


Despite my completely accurate musings, the movie is technically fine if you’re just looking to kill 2 hours and want to have some thoughtless entertainment. I don’t recommend it, but knowing that most of you don’t pick apart movies like I do, you’ll probably enjoy the explosions and the ninjas.

Special thanks to Solar Entertainment for the IMAX experience!

Nicolo Parungo