Cartoonish heroes and villains, each with their own code names and costumes, hold sword fights and machine gun battles in furtherance of the world’s thinnest plot.
I wish I knew what it is that makes bad movies enjoyable… so that I could take some and give it to “G.I. Joe”.
The G.I. Joes, America’s elite fighting force, are betrayed and attacked, leaving only a handful of members alive. When those members unite and investigate what happened, they discover that the President (Jonathan Pryce) has been replaced with an imposter.
Complicating matters is the fact that Cobra Commander has been broken out of his top secret maximum security prison by Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun). Now it’s up to Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (DJ Cotrona), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) to foil Cobra’s plan, rescue the President, and ensure the safety of the world.
In order to do so, they’ll need to call on the original G.I. Joe, General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis).
I wish I could give you more plot summary than those three, thin paragraphs filled with code names and performers, but there really isn’t much else to it. “G.I Joe: Retaliation” is about as unsubstantial as movies come. There’s really very little story to be told here, and barely any characterization whatsoever. Roadblock is close to Duke (Channing Tatum) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) had Daddy issues. After that, you get all the info you need from their code names (Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and Firely, etc.) as they all do battle to save the free world.
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” features a couple of notable action sequences, primarily the sword fight on the mountainside so prominently featured in the ad campaign. The action is offered up frequently, as the film has so little to offer to fill the downtime. Even though the action was decent however, I can’t very well recommend the film on that basis alone, especially as the fighting comes across as hollow. Without fully knowing or caring who these characters are, and with a silly overall plot, it all just comes across as noise for noise’s sake. People are shooting at each other and clanging swords, but if I don’t care if any of them live or die, and I think the overall mission is a joke, all the meaning of the action gets sapped. So unless the scene is inventive and cool (and only the mountainside battle really is), it’s a waste.
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” wasn’t boring, at least, but it was so superficial and silly that I couldn’t find any enjoyment in it. I hope that it will please fans of the property, because they definitely did little to soften the mythology for the general public. I kept feeling as if they expected me to be familiar with the characters and backstories prior to going in, because scant little attention was paid to them here.
For “Joe Fans” only, I didn’t even care for it in a “So bad it’s good” way.