Author: JoAnne Hyde
March 28, 2013

SYNOPSIS: In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.

“Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting…”

This was the refrain that kept running through my mind during G.I. Joe: Retaliation. There is a great deal of it, as well as any other kind of fighting you can think of, in this film. But that’s what you’re there to see, right? The target audience – which I’m judging is teenage boys – will love all the action. General audiences? Not so much. If you liked the previous G.I. Joe film, you’ll most likely like this one, too. If you’re a Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, or Bruce Willis fan, you may also be entertained. If you’re looking for logic or a coherent script, you will not.

In this sequel, the evil Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) and his minion Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) have done two very bad things: They’ve kidnapped the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) and replaced him with an imposter (also Jonathan Pryce), and they’ve set up the Joes to appear as traitors and lead them into a trap. Not everyone makes it, but I’m not telling who buys the farm. The good-guy Joes in the film are Duke (Channing Tatum), Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (D. J. Cotrona), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), and Mouse (Joseph Mazzelo). They’re later joined by Jinx (Elodie Yung) whose been trained by the Blind Master (RZA).

Besides Cobra Commander and Zartan, Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) face off against the Joes. Cobra Commander and Zartan have come up with a plot – and a super weapon called ZEUS – to (what else?) take over the world. Sounds a bit trite, no? G.I. Joe: Retaliation falls somewhere between an Austin Powers and James Bond flick. It’s not camp enough to be a parody, and it’s not skillful enough to be taken seriously. The action scenes are well-done and sufficient to keep the audience on their toes – especially an aerial fight scene between Jinx, Snake Eyes and a hoard of ninjas. They’ve drugged and kidnapped Storm Shadow, and later, there will be a plot twist involving him.

When the remaining Joes set out to finish off the bad guys and save the world, they seek the help of retired General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis). Willis is entertaining, as usual, bursting out with guns blazing, so to speak. Jonathan Pryce also seems to be having a fine time portraying the good-guy President and his evil, snarky imposter. Otherwise, no acting is really required. The Joes just have to fight convincingly and look good, and the bad guys just have to jeer and bait them. I must report, however, that there were loud, feminine screams when both Tatum and Johnson first appear on screen. The banter between these two also provided a welcome sidebar from all that fighting and some real humor in the guise of a bet involving a cup cake.

So, should you spend your money to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation? That depends. If you’re a fan of the genre or of the actors in the film, go for it. In fact, I’m going to have to give the film two ratings: B if you’re a fan, and D if you’re not. Over all, I’m going to average the two. - J.A. Hyde


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