G.I. Joe Retaliation – Hmm… at first this film seemed like it was bordering on the verge of Capricorn One territory when, early on, almost all of the ‘Joes’ are wiped out in an attack apparently organised by the President (Jonathan Pryce), or was it really him behind it? Either way, there seems to be just Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, below).
Naturally, the three who remain are mightily p’d off about the turn of events and set about righting wrongs, looking deeply into things when they believe the President isn’t quite feeling himself. As such, they team up with a bunch of other Joes including the man who gave them their name, General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), although what you eventually realise is that not only does he not even show his face until the film is exactly halfway through, but almost every scene with Mr.Willis is in the trailer! Yes, he’s barely in it. Talk about hype!
As for the rest of the cast, Pryce has been so much better in the past, particularly as his tyrant role of Elliot Carver in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, as has Ray Stevenson – so good, recently, as Isaak Sirko in the seventh season of Dexter, while everyone else just passes in one eye and out the other, except Ms. Palicki who remained in my head for some time after the film.
I saw it in IMAX, on Thursday afternoon, and while the effects of the fireflies were good, I thought the 3D wasn’t that great a lot of the time. Too much that was right out of the screen and, as such, it got distorted. Other films have done this, so I thought that was part of the process, but (without giving spoilers) a scene involving a stick poking out of the screen in Life of Pi was perfectly done, so it’s clearly an issue with the filming process here – not least that all the 3D was applied in post-production so that clearly has had an effect on the way it’s been badly done.
Around halfway through you get the much-trumpted mountain ninja fight scene, but I’d seen most of that the night before in a preview clip before Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters , and usually, the 3D isn’t ever great in a trailer but is spot-on in the film proper (as it was in H&G) but it was just as bad in the film, so I was very disappointed in that. The only time the 3D effects were great were during the (very brief) London sequence, as well as a bit shortly afterwards, but there was so much that was off, here.
I hadn’t seen the original film, but was led to believe that they’d learned their lessons for the sequel, but so much of this film is soulless and instantly forgettable – even when it’s full of crash/bang/wallop, and I can only really echo the sentiments of Mark Kermode when he said that, during a press screening which failed to start on time due to technical issues: “At first, I never thought it was going to start. Then when it did, I never thought it was going to end.”
And I definitely wouldn’t have gone to see this if I’d spotted what the director’s previous film was… Justin Bieber: Never Say Never!
Running time: 110 minutes
Released: March 27th 2013
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Director: Jon M Chu
Producers: René Besson, Matthew Joynes and Jesse Kennedy
Screenplay: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Music: Mark Isham
Roadblock: Dwayne Johnson
Jaye: Adrianne Palicki
Flint: D.J. Cotrona
President: Jonathan Pryce
General Joe Colton: Bruce Willis
Storm Shadow: Byung-hun Lee
Jinx: Elodie Yung
Firefly: Ray Stevenson
Duke: Channing Tatum
Snake Eyes: Ray Park
Cobra Commander: Luke Bracey
Warden Nigel James: Walton Goggins
Zartan: Arnold Vosloo
Blind Master: RZA
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.