G.I. Joe Retaliation Blu-Ray Review - Mania.com

Blu-ray Review

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Rated: PG-13
  • Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum
  • Written By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
  • Directed By: Jon M. Chu
  • Original Year of Release: 2013
  • Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Special Features: See Below
  • Series:

G.I. Joe Retaliation Blu-Ray Review

Not great but better than the original

By Tim Janson     August 13, 2013
Source: Mania.com

The central problem facing the G.I. Joe franchise is that while it is based on a toyline, comic book, and cartoon, it doesn’t quite have enough fantastic elements to be viewed as a comic book film.  Yet at the same time it has too many fantastic elements to be considered a gritty, terrorist war type of film.    Incredibly G.I. Joe Retaliation is even more over-the-top than the Expendables films, and that’s quite an achievement.  Not that the film is bad…it is significantly better than its predecessor, in fact.
The Joe Team is called in to recover some nuclear warheads stolen by terrorists in Pakistan.  The team led by Duke (Tatum) is successful in their mission but while awaiting their extraction they are ambushed in military air strike, ordered by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who is impersonating the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) using nano technology.  Most of the unit is wiped out including Duke with Roadblock (Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) the only survivors.
Zartan as President announces an agreement with Cobra to replace the Joes as Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and ex-Joe Firefly (Ray Stevenson) rescue Cobra Commander from an underground maximum-security prison in Germany.  The surviving Joes return to the U.S. and seek the aid of General Colton (Willis), the man who formed the Joes.  Meanwhile Snake Eyes (Ray Park) is sent by the head of the Arashikage clan to capture Storm Shadow who is accused of killing the clan’s leader known as the “Hard Master”.  With the Zartan soon ready to meet with the other world’s super powers, the Joe team has to stop his plans before Cobra can gain control of the entire world’s nuclear arsenal.
Ok, so the plot is a grand pile of hokum and nothing but an excuse for a couple of hours of mayhem, but G.I. Joe Retaliation is still a lot of fun.  G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra made the mistake of trying to include far too many characters of the Joe mythos and while trying to throw all of these characters onscreen it lost its story in the process.   Retaliation streamlines the cast focusing primarily on Roadblock, Flint, Lady Jaye, and Snake Eyes. Director Jon Chu seems to recognize this when Storm Shadow and Firely rescue Cobra Commander but leave Destro behind.
The film features several dazzling set pieces and action sequences.  The highlight is no doubt the battle between Snake Eyes and Jinx and the Red ninjas while attached to grappling lines along the side of a cliff.  It’s a marvelous sequence that steps out of the usual martial arts type of fights for something that is fresh and inventive.  Roadblock and Firefly also square off in a couple of good, old fashioned brawls.  Ray Stevenson steals the show from the Cobra side of things as the ruthless villain with a penchant for pyrotechnics.  Since Storm Shadow basically jumps ship, Zartan is disguised as the President and Cobra Commander is, well, boring, it is Stevenson who gives Cobra its edge and identity.

Tatum and Johnson have a great rapport and some fun scenes but unfortunately Tatum’s character gets killed off far too soon leaving The Rock to have to carry the action for the rest of his uninteresting co-stars.  Even worse is adding Bruce Willis to the mix. Willis no longer plays characters but simply plays Bruce Willis, smirking his way through every scene.  I wonder if he was getting a million dollars a day for this film.  Add to that we have some of the worst depicted “world leaders” ever and this isn’t an experience driving by performances.

In the end, however, G.I. Joe Retaliation is harmless fun that made me long for the days of my G.I. Joes with the fuzzy heads and Kung-Fu grip.

Blu-Ray Extras

Commentary with Director Jon M. Chu

Deleted Scenes: (4:00) – Three short deleted scenes

G.J. Joe Declassified (1:13:00) – This is an 8 part documentary covering all aspects of the film’s production including the military training with former Navy SEAL Harry Humphries; the building of the set pieces including the dojo and monastery; a look at filming the desert attack ambush on the Joe Team; a look at the Cobra characters and the prison sequence; and the battle in the mountains between Snake Eyes, Jinx, and the Red Ninjas.  Features interviews with cast members.


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Dazzler 8/13/2013 4:22:29 AM

I got the Best buy extra footage blu ray, too bad  it was not 3d which is not avail.  

BunyonSnipe 8/13/2013 5:27:11 AM

Tragically like so many Hollwood adaptations the fan films are better!

BunyonSnipe 8/13/2013 5:28:12 AM

Not tosay fan films are bad, it's just terrible that with all that money the studios just keep churning out this crap!

slayerfaith 8/13/2013 8:23:38 AM

 This was one of the worse films I have ever seen this year. I am one of the few who throughly enjoyed part 1, this movie should of been titled "The Joe," starring  Roc. Lady J did absolutely nothing in that movie. Flint was probably in the entire film for like 30 minutes. I think this was just a wreck. How do you kill off major G.I. Joe characters and continue a franchise? I grew up watching G.I. Joe and my fave characters were Duke, Scarlette, Lady J, Jinx, Snake eyes, Lt. Falcon, Baroness, Destro, Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander, Zartan, Zarana, Zandar, Serpenter...and many other characters. I have no idea how they plan on making a third film. This film was a load of turd. I have no idea why it grossed so much. I think it came on the heel of Channing Tatums popularity. I can not foresee this film getting any better. THEY KILLED OFF THE MAIN CHARACTERS!!!!

dnbritt 8/13/2013 12:50:36 PM

I agree with killing one of the main baddies, though I'd say the other's death was ambiguous.  And this definitely was not riding on Tatum's popularity.  He was so unpopular with Joe fans in the first one that they wrote him out of this one.  A lot of rumors said the delay had to do with adding some scenes back in with him due to his rise in stardom, but the movie definitely didn't get made because of him.  This was a fun, brainless movie.  If I was 8 or 9 this (and the first one, though I didn't love it as an adult) would be my favorite movies ever.

dnbritt 8/13/2013 12:51:24 PM

By my first sentence, I meant I agree it was a mistake to kill one of the main baddies.

CaptAmerica04 8/13/2013 2:02:32 PM

Just go back, watch the old 80s cartoons, and pretend that this film never happened.  It's what we all should do.

VTGamehendge 8/14/2013 1:35:30 PM

I finally checked it out On Demand one night last week.  I liked it.  Fun movie.

samson 8/14/2013 2:22:42 PM

 Sorry, the first one was much better. Better story, better action. People just didn't like it because it wasn't as true to the cartoons. But, putting that side, the first one was a better executed film overall. 

If the same director is back for another sequel, I won't be going to see it.

hanso 8/14/2013 6:24:18 PM

 I thought this was waaaay better than part 1.  Cobra Commander alone makes it better.  Flint was wasted, they shouldve just kept Duke instead.  Dint care for Bruce Willis in this.

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