When we last saw the G.I. Joe team they had scored a major victory over the evil organization called Cobra. Cobra’s Arctic base was destroyed, their plan to use nanomites as weapon was thwarted and Cobra Commander and Destro were behind bars. Good had triumphed over evil as it should. But there was a major loose end that the Joes knew nothing about; Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) had assumed the identity of the President of the United States.
Now the G.I. Joes have returned to the big screen with G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This sequel brings back only 2 of the original Joes from the first movie, Duke played by Channing Tatum and Snake Eyes played by Ray Parks. We are introduced to some of the new Joes including Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki).
G.I. Joe: Retaliation begins in a way most sequels never do, with the killing of a main character. As well as the slaughter of all of the Joes. While waiting for extraction following a mission the Joes are set upon by a squadron of Apache helicopters. Lady Jaye, Flint and Roadblock barely escaped the attack, finding sanctuary in the bottom of a well. When they get back to the surface they are greeted by the smoldering remains of their equipment and the bodies of their friends. The survivors come to the conclusion the termination order had to have come from the highest position, the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). Not knowing who they can trust the trio makes their way back to the United States and plot their next move.
Meanwhile at the secret prison that houses Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) and Destro, Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) shows up to break his leader out. With the help of Firefly (Rav Stevenson) Storm Shadow is able to get Cobra Commander out. During the escape Storm Shadow is wounded.
Cobra’s master plan is world domination starting with the United States. During a nuclear disarmament meeting Zartan and Cobra Commander demonstrate Cobra’s ultimate weapon, code name Zeus. Zeus has all of the boom and none of the fallout of an atomic bomb. The demonstration levels London with one shot. The Joes have to stop the other Zeus satellites before Cobra destroys all of the world capitals.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation seems to have a lot of build up for very little pay off. I was not a fan of the first movie but The Rise of Cobra was actually more enjoyable to watch. Bruce Willis’ talents seemed wasted in this movie. The one shining star of G.I. Joe: Retaliation was Adrianne Palicki. Whether she was in a slinky dress or BDUs she was a joy to behold.
One of the bigger problems I had with the plot was the fact they listed Storm Shadow as missing but Snake Eyes killed him at the end of the last movie. There is no explanation on how and why he is back. Does this mean if they make another movie they will bring back all the Joes that died in the desert including Duke?
The movie did have some great action sequences as well as some really cool equipment but it didn’t make up for what I found lacking in the plot. If you remember this movie was supposed to come out last August but was pulled at the last minute to be converted to 3-D. The 3-D adds nothing to this movie, in fact, for a process that is supposed to make things 3 dimensional the movie turned out kind of flat. It makes me wonder just how many re-shoots were done. I would like to see the movie as it was originally shot.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation was directed by Jon M. Chu. Chu’s previous work had been the “Step Up” series of dance movies; based on G.I. Joe: Retaliation it doesn’t appear that he should be directing action movies. Chu didn’t seem to have a grasp on finding a balance between the action and the rest of the movie.
G.I. Joe Retaliation is not the worst movie I have seen but it could have been better. Visually there were some stunning moments but those moments were not enough to save the film. This film may very well do to the Joes what Cobra could never do, send them into retirement. I would say that if you are a fan of any of the stars of the movie or just a fan of G.I. Joe see this one at a matinee. This is not worth a full price ticket.