April 5, 2013
G.I. Joe: Retaliation ‚?? PG-13
By David Adams
‚??We have met the enemy and he is us,‚?Ě says U.S. President (Jonathan Pryce). ‚??The G.I. Joe‚??s have betrayed us.‚?Ě By executive order, Cobra, a secret organization, will destroy the Joe‚??s ‚??with extreme prejudice.‚?Ě What is going on here? Cobra is the Joe‚??s mortal enemy, as ‚??G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra‚?Ě (2009) informed us. That‚??s the set-up for this dim-witted sequel.
Can the Joe‚??s ‚?? Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Duke (Channing Tatum), Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) ‚?? defeat Cobra and its diabolical leader Zartan (Arnold Vosloo)? Or will Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) bring the world to its knees and demand to be acknowledged as supreme leader? Or don‚??t you care? I don‚??t.
Early on, Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum, as Roadblock and Duke, exchange good-natured, macho banter, bonding ‚?? like male action heroes do ‚?? as they play a video game. It‚??s a quick scene, smart and fun, showing what actors Johnson and Tatum can do, given a chance. But, alas, it‚??s their only chance. There are no more scenes like that one. Instead, it‚??s all action, all the time. Roadblock, Duke and the other Joe‚??s ‚?? Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow), Adrianne Palicki (Lady Jaye) and D.J. Cotrona (Flint) ‚?? are on the move through the rest of the flick, running, leaping, fighting, blowing things up, and shouting one-syllable lines like ‚??Check!‚?Ě ‚??Move!‚?Ě ‚??Go!‚?Ě with occasional longer speeches like ‚??Contact headquarters!‚?Ě ‚??I‚??m on that!‚?Ě or, even, ‚??Go! Go! Go! Go!‚?Ě Not much chance to demonstrate acting chops or character development.
Others in the cast include Jonathan Pryce in a double role (whose identities I cannot reveal), and Bruce Willis in an extended cameo as Colton, founding father of the G.I. Joe‚??s. Ray Park, Elodie Yung and Ray Stevenson are Snake Eyes, Jinx and Firefly. Arnold Vosloo is Zartan, and Luke Bracey is Cobra Commander, a low-rent Darth-Vaderesque bad guy.
‚??G.I. Joe: Retaliation‚?Ě is a non-stop, mind-numbing, noisy action flick. Jon M. Chu directs a remarkably silly script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Here, however, plot is an afterthought; sensible story not required. What we get is visually cluttered action sequences, rapid-fire editing that makes following what happens impossible, and constant noise. It‚??s something to do with North Korea, Pakistan, nuclear warheads, and a top-secret space weapon called Zeus. ‚??Soon the world will cower at the fall of Zeus,‚?Ě says Cobra Commander, ominously. Whatever.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence, martial arts, sensuality and language. Not suitable for youngsters ‚?? or anyone else.
It‚??s ‚??G.I. Joe,‚?Ě
Given a choice,
I wouldn‚??t go.