GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra (2009) split audiences I feel, I think though if you can take a film in the way it is meant to come across, GI Joe is a winner. It’s full of one liners, guns, explosions, cool gadgets, banter, romance, violence, Ninjas (!) cool nicknames and just loads of fun. If you take the film out of context and criticise it too heavily you take all the fun out of it. I think you can see where I am going with this.
The sequel, GI Joe: Retaliation is just the same if not BETTER. It starts by nicely wrapping up events that happened in the previous film and quickly explains what’s happening in present day. Nicely done, don’t beat around the bush! We know that Zartan is impersonating the President and along with Cobra Commander plans to take over the world. From the trailer you know that the ‘President’ tries to wipe out the Joe’s in an air strike, and so sets the story up for some explosive pay back! It’s not often that a sequel can trump its predecessor especially when new characters are introduced to a linear story, but for me casting Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Bruce Willis just tipped this film over to awesome.
Aptly named Roadblock, Johnson plays part of Duke’s (Channing Tatum) Joe team and we get a little background to make sure the audience connects the two as friends. Tatum and Johnson’s banter is really funny and I liked their relationship – it’s a shame it doesn’t last long but I guess we should have seen that coming. Johnson really kicks some serious butt in this film and is looking mighty buff. He even get’s a sneaky wrestle in there with crazy old Firefly – played by Ray Stevenson which was an odd but great choice. Roadblock gets all the good lines and the biggest guns, basically I think I developed a bit of an infatuation with the big sweaty man after this film.
You know what’s nice to see, a bit of eye candy for the ladies for a change. Yes there are some good looking women, but more on that later. Another new face is Flint played by DJ Cotrona , a Joe that starts off as a cocky character until he has the wind blown out of him by the air strike, but then doesn’t really develop into anything other than being gorgeous and fighting good. I’m not complaining. He kinda sorta has an almost love interest with Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) but it could just be a wandering eye. Lady Jaye’s character was fun, bringing some strong female energy to the boys crew, and actually less obviously sexualised than women in the previous film but still looking damn hot.
My only quibble with Lady Jaye was the five minutes spent explaining her daddy issues, not really necessary but made for a heart filled few seconds at the end of the film. There are some funny moments between her and Willis though, who plays the old school original Joe that maybe thinks combat isn’t for girls. I love Bruce (in spite of the last Die Hard catastrophe) and he didn’t let me down in GI Joe. He doesn’t steal the show and plays a small part in the story really but still a major asset to the film in my eyes. Unlike Jinx, Snake Eyes’ protégé played by Elodie Yung – she may fight like a Ninja but she acts like a child and what was that accent? I begged her to have less lines. I am sure she is wonderful in French cinema but I couldn’t take her seriously.
Moving on! Loved seeing Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow battle it out again and very much enjoyed the surprise side story there too. In fact the Ninja’s kind of stole the show, what with the big fight scene on the side of a cliff – which was even better than the trailer lead me to believe, plus the star throwing, sword slicing and bullet dodging which by the way all looked brilliant even in 2D. When Storm Shadow got out those fork sword things I thought “Oooh I hope the Ninja Turtles film is going to be good!” There is also a lovely scene where Byung-hun Lee rips his top off and fights whilst dripping wet… I kid you not girls its a must see…
GI Joe Retaliation has just enough violence, explosions, character interaction and story line to make a brilliant mind-less action film. There was some good use of the soundtrack too most memorably when Willis shows the team his weapons selection stashed around the house. As I said previously, you can’t take this film too seriously – if you do then you wont enjoy it. If like me you enjoy watching good looking men and women save the world (except London, that was an interesting choice) then GI Joe is for you!
“In the immortal words of Jay-Z: “Whatever deity may guide my life, Dear Lord don’t let me die tonight!” When The Rock quotes Jay-Z before going into battle you know what you’re letting yourself in for…
Tagged: Adrianne Palicki, blog, bruce willis, Byung-hun Lee, channing tatum, cinema, critic, DJ Cotrona, dwayne johnson, Elodie Yung, film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, gi joe, movie, new blogger, Ray Stevenson, review