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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Channing Tatum
Ray Stevenson
Dwayne Johnson
Elodie Yung
Adrianne Palicki
Ray Park
DJ Cotrona
Bruce Willis
Jonathan Price.
Directors
Jon M. Chu.
Screenwriters
Rhett Reese
Paul Wernick.
Running Time
110 minutes

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Lights, camera, Action Man


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Plot
A Cobra member posing as the President has infiltrated the White House. When he orders the obliteration of the G.I. Joes only a few survive and it’s up to Roadblock (Johnson) and a small team to expose the Cobra conspiracy and save the world.


Review
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
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When you’re making a film based on 4”-tall bits of plastic there’s no duty to produce a piece of lasting cinema or redefine the landscape. Nobody’s comparing anything to any Oscar winners here. It just needs, in keeping with its source, a high degree of simple fun. Mindless as you like, but a feeling of being a little more uplifted on leaving than you were when you arrived. G.I. Joe: Retaliation, more so than its dead-eyed predecessor, wears the lightness of its premise like a lead vest.

It is expected that you were paying attention last time around because this sequel picks up right where the last flopped to a halt. The highest office in the world has been taken over by Cobra, a cabal of badness, with an evil doppelganger replacing the US president. In turn, the G.I. Joes have captured Cobra’s two highest-ranking members, Destro (the one with the silver face) and Cobra Commander (the one with only bits of a face, those bits no longer played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The other Joes we’d come to vaguely remember have been hastily erased, replaced with some equally forgettable sundries and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Johnson is expected to resurrect the series but it’s too much heavy lifting even for his considerable muscle.

Retaliation over-promises and under-delivers. We are introduced to Johnson’s ‘Roadblock’ as he pals around with Channing Tatum, the only major holdover from the first film. They’re given a lot of ugly dialogue to work around but they’re a fun pair; an action buddy comedy with them would pass happily. But Tatum exits quickly and then it’s Johnson alone, being morose. Johnson’s a terrific blockbuster actor, but he needs a foil and he needs laughs. So later we get Bruce Willis as the original Joe and another chance for sparky buddy comedy. And again, Willis spends barely any time on screen. It’s an odd choice to repeatedly remind the audience how much fun things could have been.

Chu’s direction is lifeless. He draws nothing from his cast and his action sequences are confused and flailing. But it’s the lack of joy that’s bizarre. The first film you could at least laugh at. This takes all its silly ingredients and smushes them down flat.


Verdict
Fast Five was a good example of how applying The Rock to a tired series could bring it back to life. G.I. Joe, by opting for self-seriousness instead of knowing daftness, has squandered its secret weapon.


Reviewed by Olly Richards

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Empire Star Rating

"My cholesterol's a little high."

It may be poor, but where G.I. Joe Retaliation fails to be a good movie it delivers on being a really fun viewing experience. Go get em Joe's. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 07:30, 06 November 2013 | Report This Post


"As your good friend, you need a new catchphrase."

Flawed, yes, but Retaliation is nevertheless an action-packed shoot 'em up that is a major improvement over its predecessor. So, while this isn't exactly a good movie, it's certainly a fun one, and that gives it points in my book. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 23:31, 04 November 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

Overall I enjoyed it, could have been so much better though. It focused a bit too much on the Rock (normally not a bad thing) instead of the overall group and thier toys. Then there is snake eyes...his role should have been a Bobba Fett type of thing, where he doesn't do much, but when he does it's cool. Instead they put him in too many scenes which made the decision to leave the mask on the whole time kinda weird. And this is let another movie that shows Bruice Willis is only cool ... More

Posted by blackduck at 16:24, 12 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs Bruce's inclusion was a very lame attempt to gain more interest from older folk, same with using Dwayne Johnson. Unfortunately many remember the first horrid film and possibly have learnt to avoid this, but possibly not. The film overall is still aimed at the younger audience, its G.I.Joe. Even though it would be ultra cool to see an adult version with bloody squibs popping here there and everywhere, it won't happen, its a young kids franchise as was the original material.ep ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 10:01, 12 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

Bruce's inclusion was a very lame attempt to gain more interest from older folk, same with using Dwayne Johnson. Unfortunately many remember the first horrid film and possibly have learnt to avoid this, but possibly not. The film overall is still aimed at the younger audience, its G.I.Joe. Even though it would be ultra cool to see an adult version with bloody squibs popping here there and everywhere, it won't happen, its a young kids franchise as was the original material. To be totally ho... More

Posted by Phubbs at 02:51, 12 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs In this day n age with many movies, as an adult you should know better by now. If you are expecting more with a franchise like this then you're not learning. And there are different levels of popcorn flicks, different levels of quality depending on who makes them, who backs them and of course money. The films you mention will have had much better backing than this I'm sure. G.I.Joe would come under a throw away popcorn flick for me, Star Wars and Jurassic are obviously much m... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 17:02, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

It was aimed only at kids? The trailer seemed to scream for a larger audience with "OMG HERE'S BRUCE WILLIS". It also doesn't excuse it from being poor, not when wonderful schlock like Fast Five exists. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 16:28, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

In this day n age with many movies, as an adult you should know better by now. If you are expecting more with a franchise like this then you're not learning. And there are different levels of popcorn flicks, different levels of quality depending on who makes them, who backs them and of course money. The films you mention will have had much better backing than this I'm sure. G.I.Joe would come under a throw away popcorn flick for me, Star Wars and Jurassic are obviously much more epic. s... More

Posted by Phubbs at 16:20, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs Fair enough but when you're a kid you don't look at things like that do you. If its got the characters you like, cool action and gives you some even cooler toys to ask mum n dad for then its all good. ay to underestimate kids, m8. I think they're a lot more savvy and intelligent than you're giving them credit for. Look at The Hunger Games for example - a 150 minute film which doesn't really have any action until the last 60 minutes or so and mostly concerned itself ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 16:12, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs Its aimed at a certain target audience, its a kids flick based on a kids cartoon/comics/action figures, it plays fast n loose with it content, its the pinnacle of what you may describe...a popcorn flick. An adult may think its feeble, the target audience probably won't, think about it just a little. I think the first film was garbage, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and gives exactly what you'd expect. I have - and you're being extremely disingenuous t... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 16:06, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: MonsterCat L: Phubbs Its aimed at a certain target audience, its a kids flick based on a kids cartoon/comics/action figures, it plays fast n loose with it content, its the pinnacle of what you may describe...a popcorn flick. An adult may think its feeble, the target audience probably won't, think about it just a little. I think the first film was garbage, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and gives exactly what you'd expect. t might largely appeal to you... More

Posted by Phubbs at 15:58, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs Its aimed at a certain target audience, its a kids flick based on a kids cartoon/comics/action figures, it plays fast n loose with it content, its the pinnacle of what you may describe...a popcorn flick. An adult may think its feeble, the target audience probably won't, think about it just a little. I think the first film was garbage, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and gives exactly what you'd expect. t might largely appeal to young kids but young kids ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 15:47, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

Its aimed at a certain target audience, its a kids flick based on a kids cartoon/comics/action figures, it plays fast n loose with it content, its the pinnacle of what you may describe...a popcorn flick. An adult may think its feeble, the target audience probably won't, think about it just a little. I think the first film was garbage, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and gives exactly what you'd expect. ... More

Posted by Phubbs at 15:40, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: Phubbs L: MonsterCat L: Hughezyvstheworld serious, it's called G.I JOE RETALIATION. hat's your point? Hardly an excuse for bad film-making. And you forgot to say, "IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE CITIZEN KANE/WIN OSCARS!!!11!!!" Pretty obvious what his point is, it seems your point is the one which just resorts to petty sarcasm, well an attempt at least. ot really. Like MC was pointing out, this your brain at the door, what were you expecting?"nt is a feeble excuse fo... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 15:33, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: it's a POPCORN ACTION FILM

L: MonsterCat L: Hughezyvstheworld serious, it's called G.I JOE RETALIATION. hat's your point? Hardly an excuse for bad film-making. And you forgot to say, "IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE CITIZEN KANE/WIN OSCARS!!!11!!!" Pretty obvious what his point is, it seems your point is the one which just resorts to petty sarcasm, well an attempt at least. ... More

Posted by Phubbs at 15:24, 11 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

I thought this film was an abomination. Lousy script, absolutely silly and cringe-worthy dialogue, cheap-looking CGI, a seriously hammy Jonathan Pryce...if I gave this 1.5/5, I'd be generous. ... More

Posted by CamLiza at 20:17, 09 April 2013 | Report This Post


Somehow they managed to make an even worse movie than the first one. I wonder do the producers, actors, director care to read the script? Is it all about the money? And if it is all about the money why not spend a little more to a better story? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by smakris04 at 16:23, 06 April 2013 | Report This Post


GI Joe Retaliation: Catering to the fans

This is my first review so please give me some feedback, thanks. Gi joe retaliation is the sequel to the 2009 action flick Gi joe: the rise of cobra. This film sees the joes in another up against the wall style situation as the plot sees the cobras taking over the white house and the US president in an attempt to take over the world and terminate the joes once and for all in a typical hero vs villain style story. However even though the outline of the plot seems predictable and typical, it do... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameroncaleb at 21:56, 05 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

The stuff with Snake Eyes in the mountains felt like they had cut to another film. One minute I'm watching The Rock strutting his stuff in the hood, then suddenly I was watching The Stig in The Forbidden Kingdom! In fact, that's the best way to sum up the movie. The Rock and friends invade other people's movie. Another example being when he randomly walks in on Frank Moses from RED and borrows some grenades from his fruit bowl. The most ludicrous moments are the fights between Roadblock and Fir... More

Posted by Vadersville at 16:23, 04 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

Best part (in terms of hilarity) was when the president starts trolling everyone. The most ludicrous scene i have ever seen in a movie i think. Best scene in terms of action was the mountain part, great 3D ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 13:53, 04 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

Didn't anyone else find the scene with all the guns hidden around the home rather creepy rather than funny, especially in the wake of all the current gun control debates in the US? I mean, hand grenades in the fruit bowl? Really? It was like watching a gun nut's wet dream. Also, when COBRA's weapon system first targets London - it targets Swindon! I laughed so hard at that. Still, it was entertaining enough... though some of the dialogue - "Extraction? What are we? Teeth?" Dear me. ... More

Posted by Timon at 10:05, 04 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

Don’t shoot me, but I rather enjoyed the first movie, it was an enjoyably silly, over- the-top action movie, at least until it disappeared into CGI land for the final quarter like most Stephen Sommers film tend to do, and despite what you may have read it was not a commercial failure at all. Well, there’s less obvious CGI in this sequel, which retains a few of the first film’s characters on’t believe the Rock when he says in the trailer that they’ve raised the bar, because they definitely haven... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 22:17, 02 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

I thought it was by far better than the 1st one. At least here there's a punchy visual style, a good soundtrack and very nice action pieces (Ninja sequence in the moutain was awesome). Still, it doesn't make sense and it isn't original at all, but if you're not an action-hater there's some fun to be had, while the 1st one was a crappy action movie where even the action was poorly executed and filmed. 2.5/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dseys at 22:20, 01 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

I had fun. ... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 17:04, 01 April 2013 | Report This Post


GI Joe Retaliation captures the source material's spirit, for better and worse

In fairness it's not great but then again, anyone going to see it will not be expecting masterclass performances and tight plotting. Fans of GI Joe will be well served by a better capturing of the source material's spirit and in fairness some of the set pieces and fights are good fun. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JJB888 at 23:20, 30 March 2013 | Report This Post


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