The sequel to the 2009 action/sci-fi film G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra stormed into Kenyan theaters this past weekend, on April 12th in IMAX. As is expected of Movie Jabber, we were there to watch and share our thoughts on the film… However before we do get into breaking down the film, one question has to be asked; What kind of film goer are you?
- TYPE A: You go in expecting a credible, intelligent to very intelligent story that enthralls you and engages you as much as the visuals do, never mind the 3D. You want your money’s worth of intelligence!
- TYPE B: You go in for the fun; mostly visuals, action, thrill and ofcourse 3D. You could care less for the story as long as they don’t mistake you for a 3 year old!
If you consider yourself as TYPE A kind of movie goer, perhaps you may not enjoy Retaliation that much, consider it a holiday from the more mentally engaging ones. If you fall under TYPE B, well, Retaliation may just be for you.
Plot Summary: “G.I. Joe has captured Cobra Commander and Destro, unaware that Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) has escaped by disguising himself as the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) and he uses his executive power to send an attack against the Joes, reducing them to the trio of Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona). They call upon the group’s founder General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) to help put a stop to Cobra’s latest plans while Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) deal with their own issues.” Comingsoon.net
To end on a positive note, this review will start with the film’s weaknesses and wrap up with the positives. Remember at the end of the day, it’s your decision and your preference 🙂
First and foremost, let’s not forget that G.I. Joe is based off a popular toy/action figure by toy company Hasbro, and knowing toy companies, the more gadgets the onscreen adaptations have the more the cash trickles in in terms of merchandise sales, variations etc Which in a shorter sentence means; it’s all about visuals people, not so much the story 😉 And that’s the MAIN problem with this sequel; the story.
The film, at roughly 1hr 50minutes, is too long for a simple plot; nuclear blackmail inorder to gain world domination. What else could they want? Pass on all overdue library books…? The unnecessary length creates more room for, again, unnecessary situations, quickly hashed over plot points/scenarios/dialogue. Fine, the attempt at exposition is noted, but the execution and covering up of subsequent plotholes is terrible.
Apart from the length, there are alot of unanswered questions or perhaps the better term would be; highlighted situations with no explanations attached at all. For example, why is The Rock’s character Roadblock a single dad? We see the really young and cute daughters and all, but who takes care of them when he is out on a mission. Why is he the only one with a visible family? Fine, the purpose was to show the bond between Duke (Channing Tatum) and him, but it only raised more questions.
In the end, a certain pivotal part of the climax is quickly swept underneath the carpet despite the; large-scale destruction witnessed, lengths taken to stress its urgency, and anxiety built. Further testimony to the fact that the story isn’t the main platform for the film, it’s simply a means or a good reason to have all the visuals popping out at us 😉
The acting. A certain prominent face on promotional materials and posters doesn’t get that much screen time as you would expect from all the ‘prominence’ witnessed. Instead, the ‘filler’ character with nothing unique or strongly convincing about him, just serves to fill the space and add his role as just another tag-team partner. How and why he didn’t get killed off in the beginning is the question. Granted, this should be more about his acting worth rather than quite possibly the unnecessary inclusion of a character, but we figure both reasons can quite closely walk the same line.
Bruce Willis plays quite the role in this film, specifically as the ‘original’ Joe. His presence felt more like a cameo and he didn’t give much to it. If a Sunday drive could be translated into a film performance, this would be his! Understandably, his main role was purely star power.
Perhaps, the worst addition; the worst acting, and delivery of dialogue in the entire film has to be Wu Tang’s RZA. The scenes he appeared in, no matter how few were simply put; painful. You can catch him in his directorial debut in The Man with the Iron Fists if you still haven’t watched it. He also stars in it and his skill then was way much better than in Retaliation.
Visually, Retaliation is pretty good. members in the audience with their 3D glasses on kept on ‘dodging’ bullets 😉 The explosions pretty much were well down. The trademark and cliche ‘awesome cool gear’ for both the the good guys and bad guys, plus the gadgets were good. Certain actors and their characters delivered and made certain scenes worthwhile. Case in point; Ray Park as Snake Eyes, Ray Stevenson as Firefly and Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow.
Lastly, Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock directly carried this installment on his shoulders. His character was the main pillar and central figure of the entire plot. Even Snake Eyes had to take a back seat! Ok maybe, the co-driver seat. He really didn’t have to throw everything in when it came to acting (and we all know The Rock has acting smarts!), given that the story demand wasn’t much. All in all, he served his purpose well:
Go for the visuals, especially in 3D. And especially when you consider a certain impressive mountain-side action piece. Watch this in Cinema, just for the 3D 😉 Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on, there most likely will be a G.I. Joe 3 given the FINANCIAL success of this sequel. The budget for Retaliation was $ 130 Million and the returns so far are double that; $ 270, 726, 000 (Wikipedia).
Movie Jabber Rating: 2/5