Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra", "The Expendables"
Like the Hasbro characters that the film is based on, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is an American film through and through. With Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis, guns, swords, explosions, a beautiful female, tanks, ninjas and humor in it, it is almost unfathomable that any hot-blooded male would dislike "G.I. Joe: Retaliation". However, in terms of it being a cinematic accomplishment, Jon M. Chu's film has more holes to poke at than Swiss cheese.
To clear things up, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is a sequel to 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra". There may be some confusion due to the major character overhaul, as only Channing Tatum, Ray Park, Lee Byung-hun, Arnold Vosloo and Jonathan Pryce are reprising their roles, and even so, about 15 minutes into the film, one of them leaves for good. That character's death is due to a set-up by Zartan, who is impersonating the President of the United States, leaving only three survivors. The trio then hatches a plan to stop Zartan and Cobra Commander's villainous plans for mass destruction, with the help of old allies and new ones.
For those who may not know, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" was previously set to release in June last year, but Paramount decided to delay the film's release to add 3D and a few more additional scenes for Tatum to strengthen his character's relationship with Johnson's. Although it was a good move, considering that those scenes were the most genuinely enjoyable aspects of the whole film, not to mention they testify to the producers' desire to elevate this film beyond its perceived B-grade class, the overall result was a film that feels like it was written by three different individuals who have no idea that they were writing for a whole film, like the studio execs at Paramount just advertised in the newspaper that they are accepting submissions of short stories for the fans' favorite characters, and all winning submissions are compiled into the film titled "G.I. Joe: Retaliation".
For example, there is the main narrative, which pits the Joes against Zartan and Cobra Commander. Then in between, we get a filler narrative, which sees Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow resolving their blood feud. Then there is the third act of the film. To the writers and director's credit, the three plot threads are necessary for the film as a whole, but they could have better flow. Joss Whedon manages to achieve this splendidly in "Marvel's The Avengers", but it is unfair to compare "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" to the superhero epic. That said, it gives one an idea that things could have been done better, such as having the team accompany Snake Eyes on his mission or at least taking an interest in his mission, as opposed to having the black ninja doing his own thing in the snowy mountains then bursting onto the Joes just as they are in the final stages of planning to take down Zartan.
Considering that they took the liberty to add 3D into the film, the effects do not stand out much. Aside from a few moments where bullets and shurikens fly into your face, there was hardly anything to marvel at. In fact, the 3D conversion made the camerawork and fighting choreography a little harder to take in, as the scenes were very frantic and the camera changes angles quite creatively, especially the fight between Snake Eyes and Jinx against the red ninjas.
In terms of acting, all the actors are merely rehashing their stereotypes, such as Johnson as the machismo leader type like in "Fast Five", Tatum as the nice guy and "even better friend", to quote Johnson in the film, similar to himself in "G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra". On the other hand, it is refreshing to see Johnson in another serious role after "Snitch", because "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" was a film that should not have happened. Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow is better than ever, and judging by the fact that the writers even bothered to put in a plot twist for him, they know it too.
In conclusion, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is another generic action film, but Jon M. Chu knows how to do it better than Stephen Sommers. For instance, he knows that the ninjas were fan favorites, and capitalized on this by giving Snakes Eyes and Storm Shadow their own subplot, at the cost of the overall narrative flow. They also made an effort to flesh out their characters more, such as tacking on Lady Jaye's daddy issues and Duke and Roadblock's tight friendship, and such effort should be rewarded as such with a viewing at least by females, while males should not have to look any further than "G.I. Joe: Retaliation".Cinema Online, 28 March 2013