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Ten Word or Less Review: If knowing is half the battle know this, Retaliation sucks.

Going back and looking at my original G.I. Joe review, the first review I ever wrote for this site, I really blasted the shit out of that movie.  I clearly hated it and made no bones about it.  In the nearly 4 years that have skated by since, I’ve had a mild re-thinking of things.  G.I. Joe is terrible.  There is no way around that.  But it is really into how terrible it is.  It’s a Herculean effort of idiocy.  I don’t think I appreciated that at the time.  And now after watching the sequel, I appreciate the crass lunacy of the first movie even more.

Now to make this clear, I’m perfectly aware that a G.I. Joe movie is going to be stupid.  Mama didn’t raise no fool and I know Joe is all about selling those little plastic men to eager little boys.  But how stupid was the first movie?  It had a jet that only fired its weapons when you spoke to it in Celtic.  Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was doing Snidely Whiplash as a burn victim.  It had ice that sunk.  All wrapped around a story torn straight out of a Days of Our Lives episode.  It rarely didn’t astonish and boggle the mind with its fierce dumbness.  First movie director Stephen Sommers doesn’t set out to make just bad movies.  He tries to make the worst possible thing an audience has ever experienced.  The Mummy Returns?  Van Helsing?  He’s a sadist of a director out to test the boundaries of what a paying audience will accept.  With G.I. Joe, he tapped into the mind of an 8-year old boy suffering from an extreme case of ADHD.   He then doused that mind with cans of Coke, packages of Pop Rocks and boxes of Sugar Daddies.  Then at the height of this sugar rush induced mental delirium a line of blow got tossed onto the pile of chemical stimulation.  He then gave the blitzed out tyke a box of action figures and channeled the ensuing mayhem onto the screen.  It was atrocious but so amazing in places.  A Celtic jet!  The new Joe movie is like watching that same kid playing with some of those same toys, except this time he’s hung over, tapped out and bored with his playthings.  And his Mom took the best ones away from him for being a brat.

Instead of setting his Snake Eyes action figure on fire and jumping off the couch while screaming like a banshee escaping from Hell our little kid is repetitiously ramming Snake into the carpet head first while slightly drooling into his bowl of untouched Lucky Charms.  Last time he turned his whole room into a fortress of Joe on Cobra carnage.  Planes hung from the ceiling while booby trapped with cherry bombs.  Tanks got smashed by metal boots, laser lights flashed, heads got viciously popped off toys and dynamite eventually blew the roof off the house.  This time he sticks three Joe’s in a shoe box, pretends it’s a tank then falls asleep while making vroom, vroom noises.  That huge Return of the Jedi inspired ending from the first movie with the submarines and underwater bases and soap opera and sinking ice?  Nothing like that in these parts.  This movie ends with Rock driving around in a weird looking ATV shooting at tanks while rods fall from the sky.  Yes.  Rods.

Retaliation is an agonizing thing to sit through and rarely enthusiastic about how dumb it is.  Director Jon Chu seemed like the right kind of visual numskull to make this thing.  He’s got Step Up movies on his resume so dealing with flashy, brain dead stories is certainly in his wheelhouse.  Here the actions scenes are perfunctory and the characters have been stripped of their cartoon like idiocy.  The movie is largely made up of padded out character scenes containing numb dialogue which quickly leads to a sensation of endlessness.  It’s a fucking G.I. Joe movie.  If something isn’t thrashing around the screen that Hasbro can’t turn into a toy why the Hell is it happening to begin with?

And who knew it was possible to miss Marlon Wayans?  I’d have been positively giddy if he had parachuted in for a scene or two.  The Rock walks around being The Rock while a couple of other nobodies diligently stand behind him trying to stay in frame.  I know these two spoke but I don’t recall a single thing they said.  Bruce Willis inexplicably shows up to turn in his now standard issue lazy Bruce performance.  I.E. he stands in front of the camera, holds a gun and talks quietly in between shooting things.  So it’s like watching A Good Day to Die Hard again in that respect.  Let’s give Bruce one more fuck you for that one.  Fuck you, Bruce.  Original Joe star Channing Tatum has to the shock of many moved past crap like this and wisely has his character killed off after ten minutes.  No part three for him.  He may look like a droopy eyed, date rapist but it seems he’s got some sense knocking around in that jar head of his.

Stupidity is expected here and there’s plenty of that to go around.  A road that goes to Ft. Sumter?  But dull?  That’s an unforgivable crime with a movie like this.  Movies like G.I. Joe this need to be imbued with the spirit of a kid whose hair is not only on fire, but doesn’t care he’s being burned alive and ask for more gasoline as his skull is aflame.  The first movie went for that and damned if it didn’t succeed on those terms.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation doesn’t really go for anything.  It just goes through the motions and expects you to appreciate it.  Yo Joe.  You suck.



One Comment

  1. The scene that was shown briefly in the trailer where they’re fighting on wires on the side of a mountain was fun to watch. That scene had me entertained. The rest of the action is somewhat enjoyable, but not as awesome as that. Solid review.

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