G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Premise: The president has been kidnapped and replaced with a doppelganger. Only the JOEs have the gumption to stop him! But will Cobra Commander break out of super prison? Will Storm Shadow become the new threat to humanity? Will Lady Jaye make her dead father proud of her? Will RZA play a convincing old, blind monk? Will Snake Eyes train that other character to be, uh, something or other? Will Channing Tatum babysit The Rock's kids? Hey look, it's Bruce Willis! There's a lot going on in this movie.
-There were some action scenes that were really, really exciting. Most notably the one where all the ninjas are fighting Snake Eyes on the side of a mountain. I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that before, and it was pretty cool and very entertaining. There was some questionable logic, like how did the body bag make its way down all the ropes by itself, yet everyone else had to jump from rope to rope? Also, everyone lined up at the same position on the mountain and charged each other... So why didn't one dude just make his position 30 feet above everyone else and cut all their ropes as he ran by...? Must be an honor/respect for fighting kind of thing. WHATEVER, it was a fun scene.
-The bro friendship between C-Tates and The Rock was pretty funny, and almost cheesy enough to be hilarious. They probably could have taken it a bit further, maybe add a scene with a touch of awkward homoeroticism (like they accidentally graze hands while reaching for the same machine gun), followed by chugging some beers and blowing up some stuff to prove they're manly men. I guess that would have made the relationship a bit too confusing for the target audience. OR MAKE IT ALL TOO REAL...
-Ya know, The Rock seems like he's probably a cool guy to hang out with in real life.
-Walton Goggins has had a nice recent history in the past couple of years of showing up as a side character in random movies and being awesome for 10 minutes.
-Whoa, RZA plays a blind monk who has a garden dojo on the top floor of a skyscraper? That's pretty sweet.
-Bruce Willis was kind of legit in his role as the original "Joe." He basically played the same character as he did in Expendables 2. OK, let's be honest, it was the *exact* same character as the one from Expendables 2. But that's a character I don't mind seeing. Also, super weird fun fact: this was the best opening weekend for a Bruce Willis movie in his entire career...! That's a little hard to believe. But... here we are...
-The scene with the United Nations was pretty fun, when they were blowing things up. It reminded me of The Simpsons episode with Hank Scorpio. [Bridge collapses] "Maybe it just fell over?" "We can't take that chance" "You always say that... I want to take a chance...!"
-I joked with my girlfriend before I saw this movie that I hadn't seen the first G.I. Joe movie, so I hope I don't get confused with plot I may have missed. But then I watched the movie, and I have no idea who "Hard Master" is, and I don't know the significance of Snake Eyes' relationship to Jinx or Storm Shadow, and I don't know who the third guy frozen in the water tube is... I mean, I was able to pick up on all the major plot points, but it did feel like there were some times when they did some stuff that I was probably supposed to know from last time. I was thinking "Cool, RZA as a blind monk, what's that all about?!" And then it was just RZA as some unexplained blind monk, talking about some sword that did something or other that didn't actually have any significance in the plot of the film.
-This movie, by all means, should have been 85 minutes long. It's actually just short of two hours. I started to get fatigued after a while.
-So the government built this billion dollar super prison, hidden miles below the surface of the Earth. It's actually so hot down there that they need several industrial sized air conditioners to keep it livable. They employ probably 50 people to maintain the prison, and instead of cells they keep their prisoners in a state of paralyzed consciousness (for torture I think?) in high tech water/gel tubes. This billion dollar prison that probably costs millions of dollars a year to maintain only has the capacity to hold THREE prisoners. And the three prisoners are the world's most evil supervillians. At what point do you perhaps just make those three prisoners "disappear" forever? Maybe just pop a bullet in their heads and forget they existed? If anyone asks, tell them they are being held in stasis for the rest of their lives in a super secret underground prison, and they'll never get out. That's actually the truth. Or, ya know, let them escape or whatever... Storm Shadow was in there for an hour and he broke everyone out. They didn't even need a security code to use the elevator to get back up to the surface...
-Lady Jaye's forced storyline about how she's trying to impress her dead military father was both pointless AND cliche. I'm all for giving the female character a purpose, but if you're going to do it, don't half ass it. A lot of dumb action movies have a dilemma of either not adding in character development at all and having jerks like me go "No one has character development!", or putting in played-out, crappy character development and having jerks like me go "Why didn't they just leave the character development out?!" There's no winning with dudes like me. We're the worst... Unless you count Die Hard or something. That action movie had tons of character development. But it was also about one dude climbing a building. G.I. Joe Retaliation is about some army guys, a dozen ninjas, a monk, a shapeshifter, the president, a guy with exploding robot fireflies, an Asian lady, a retired general, and a prison warden screaming loud words at each other while trying to accomplish... something. I'd probably struggle to tell you everything significant that happened in this movie. Just didn't sink in.
-Flint was complete dead weight. What a useless character. He didn't provide a single line of insight, a single joke, or a single moment of doing something interesting.
-I saw this movie in IMAX 3D (because it was the most convenient screening in relation to when I got to the theater), and I thought the IMAX was ok, I guess. But the 3D was pretty crappy. I forgot I was even watching a 3D movie for most of it.
Final Thoughts: G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an overly complicated action movie. It's not *complex* by any means, but it's definitely overly complicated. Too much going on for its own good. If they cut out a couple of the storylines and had a bare bones kind of plot, I think it would have been an average movie. As it is now, I guess it's slightly below average. USA! USA! USA! USA!
5.5 out of 10
Duane Johnson has my enduring respect for his performance in "The Run Down".
If Rihanna isn't in it, I'm not seeing it. She adds such levity to action movies, she should be in all of them. I heard Spielberg is going to digitally add her to the next restoration of Saving Private Ryan just to take the focus away from the comedy of Tom Hanks.
Seriously, this one is at the top of my June 2013 RedBox list.
The start of the film is at night, you know, in the darkness at a guarded prison or military base. They have to cut threw a chain link fence. But that is lame, so instead the rock pulls out gloves that glow in the dark because they get super hot to melt a hole in the fence. Luckily this is North Korea so the guards are stupid and can't see glowing gloves in the darkness. The movie basically follows that logic for most of the film. Although the mountain scene makes no sense it was really cool to watch. Also, I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was only in it for like 5 minutes. This is defiantly a turn the brain off and enjoy the ride type of movie.
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