Film Review: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Almost Turns Macho Stupidity Into Art

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CHICAGO – “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is the kind of dumb summer action blockbuster that works in the season when the kids aren’t in school and the movie theater is used as an excuse to get in the air conditioning as much as see anything approaching filmmaking. It nearly works in March. Nearly. There are some great action sequences, some fun performances, and the kind of macho nonsense that appealed to the 13-year-old boy inside of me who never grew up. At the same time, there’s a plot that makes almost NO sense, clunky plotting, and horrendous 3D converting after the fact that makes the fight choreography look awful. So, it comes down to how forgiving you are of the latter and how much you’re itching to see the former. When I say, “dumb fun,” do you focus on the first word or the second one? That will determine whether or not you should see “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Stick with me here. The plot recap is gonna get a bit rocky. The Joes, led by Duke (Channing Tatum) and featuring Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Mouse (Joseph Mazello), and Flint (D.J. Cotrona), are sent to Pakistan to retrieve some nuclear weapons by the President (Jonathan Pryce). Only it turns out that the President is really Zartan (Arnold Vosloo, although he has no lines) in disguise. President Zartan frames the Joes and has most of them killed in his plan to plunge the world into Cobra chaos. At the same time, he sends Firefly (Ray Stevenson) to break Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) out of a legendary underground prison. And I can’t even get started on figuring out exactly how RZA and Bruce Willis got into the plot. Oh, and Jinx (Elodie Yung) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park) get involved at some point. Don’t ask me how.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” in our reviews section.

Don’t ask the writers either. There are chunks of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” that make absolutely no sense. And when the film doesn’t take itself seriously, this nonsensical, cartoonish plotting didn’t bother me. It is based on a toy line and cartoon series, friends. Let’s not expect “Inception.” And there are a few actors and set pieces in which this blockbuster aspect of “Retaliation” really works. For example, Jonathan Pryce is having an absolute blast as the kind of maniacal world leader who plays “Angry Birds” as World War III is starting. He’s great fun in both roles (the still-alive, “real” President and the Zartan-in-disguise one). It’s also worth noting that a few of the actors really get the charismatic action star thing, most notably Johnson, Lee, Stevenson, and Palicki. They’re more fun and well-cast than most blockbuster actors you’ll see this summer.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” review.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation” stars Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, Jonathan Pryce, Byung-hun Lee, Elodie Yung, Ray Stevenson, D.J. Cotrona, Ray Park, Bruce Willis, and Channing Tatum. It was written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and directed by Jon M. Chu. It opens on March 28, 2013.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

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