Large explosions, death-defying aerobatics, flashing gunfire, and buff people talking about stuff in dramatic fashion. G.I. Joe: Retaliation gives audiences exactly what they’re expecting—nothing more, and nothing less—which can be a good thing.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation picks up where the first movie left off, with Duke (played by Channing Tatum) leading the elite fighting force in a number of missions against their hated foe, COBRA. While celebrating some much deserved downtime, the Joes are attacked by a squadron of COBRA helicopters and ground units, and are killed almost to a man, save for a few survivors. On the verge of eradication and marked as terrorists by their government, the Joes must uncover the face of their attackers and once again save the world’s governments from being overtaken by the diabolical Cobra Commander. Hit the jump for my full review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation on Blu-ray.
With a cast that includes action icons such as Bruce Willis, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Adrianne Palicki, it doesn’t take much to figure out what kind of movie this is. The Joes hit their opponents with hardcore weaponry and insanely quick martial arts attacks, blow up everything in their general vicinity, and crack a few jokes in between battles.
It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which honestly works to its favor. After all, we’re talking about a film based off of an action figure line with such stars as Sergeant Slaughter and Firefly. There are half-hearted attempts to give some of the characters some depth—such as Roadblock and Jaye’s trips down memory road with stories of drama and sadness—but for the most part, the movie’s all about action. When General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) is brought into the fold, there’s no ceremony or needless back story, just a very quick (and somewhat cheesy) introduction, and it’s back to the action. Viewers may not get an epic war pic that brings to light the trauma of combat, but they don’t get a pretentious or outlandish film either; just pure, fun action.
The film’s straightforward direction is largely fed by the cast. The actors expertly play their roles, creating characters that are interesting enough to be interesting to audiences, but aren’t burdened with over-the-top attempts to make them something they’re not. Dwayne Johnson’s Roadblock is a beastly combatant and take-no-prisoners leader, and Adrianne Palicki’s Jaye is a balanced mix of action vixen and serious soldier. Bruce Willis is in his safe zone as Joe Colton; his speech is a bit flat, and he doesn’t add much to the conversation, but he packs a heavy punch and plenty of firepower. It’s the cast’s take on their characters that saved the film from being the cheese-fest that was The Rise of Cobra, along with Director Jon M. Chu’s more grounded storytelling.
The disc itself mirrors the film; it’s about as bare bones as can be. While the box does contain a blu-ray and DVD version of the film (as well as a digital copy), the special features are about as common as can be. The blu-ray disc contains a few deleted scenes and a one-hour behind-the-scenes featurette, along with some commentary by the director, but it’s the same kind of material one can find on just about any modern disc.
While it certainly won’t beat out any classic action flicks, G.I. Joe: Retalation can be an entertaining movie if audiences don’t expect too much out of it. The plot’s as basic as can be, the characters are one-dimensional, and the battle scenes are neither explosive nor boring, but that works to the movie’s favor. There’s no reason to overthink the scenes; just sit back and enjoy the predictable plot and safe, yet fun action sequences.
Movie: C, Disc: C