My Thoughts on G.I. Joe: Retaliation

GIJoeRetaliationContinuing more or less where the previous film let off, G.I. Joe: Retaliation finds the G.I. Joe team betrayed by U.S. government, which has been taken over by Cobra.  The surviving Joes, including Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (D.J. Cotrona), and Snake Eyes (Ray Park), set off to stop the world domination plan of, a freshly freed, Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) and his henchmen Firefly (Ray Stevenson), Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who is under disguise as the US President (Jonathan Pryce).  Along the way, the Joes recruit the help of the “original” G.I. Joe, in the form of retired general Joe Colton (Bruce Willis). As a film, I can say that I liked G.I. Joe: Retaliation roughly on par with the first film, in how I thought that the film was an OK, but not great, action film.  The film is the very definition of mindless popcorn entertainment and, despite some very annoyingly bad characters (i.e. a prison warden played by Walton Goggins), I had no real issues with the plot of the film.  The story on the other hand, I do have major issues with. In my opinion, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was absolutely terrible as a sequel.  The film really seems to be following two trains of thought.  On one hand, the writers set out to continue the story that was started back in 2009 with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  On the other hand, they seemed to have decided to reboot the franchise with a cast that is nearly entirely new.  Only a handful of characters return from the previous film.  Some (like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow) are major characters, while others (like Channing Tatum’s Duke) are essentially glorified cameos. I do like that Cobra Commander was given a much better portrayal in this film, though I have to nitpick the fact that he sounded too much like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget (i.e. very deep).  I didn’t want a straight imitation of Chris Latta’s signature voice from the cartoon, but I at least wanted something a little less generic.  I also wasn’t too crazy about how Destro (the other main G.I. Joe villain) was quickly written out of the story.  It just proves has respectful the writers were to the source material (i.e. not at all). It seems quite fitting that my favourite action sequence happens right in the middle of the film.  This would be the ninja zip-line sequence that was heavily featured in the trailers for the film.  The sequence was also the film’s best use of 3D, which for the most part is obviously a post-conversion job (with the exception of a few shots done in reshoots). If the film was not a sequel, I might have reacted more positively to G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  However, as it stands, I thought that it was an OK film, but a terrible follow-up.7 | FAIR