G.I. Joe: Retaliation (3D) (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner29/03/2013

One out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Disappointing sequel that falls down thanks to an incoherent script, lazy dialogue, a surfeit of characters, a phoned-in performance by Bruce Willis and an insultingly callous attitude towards its onscreen destruction.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jon M. Chu, GI JOE: Retaliation is a sequel to 2009's GI JOE: Rise of Cobra and begins where the cliff-hanger of that film left off, with master-of-disguise Cobra agent Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) having assumed the identity of the US President (Jonathan Pryce), who he's keeping locked up underground. In short order, ‘President’ Zartan frames the GI Joes - led by Duke (Channing Tatum) - for murder and orders a strike that leaves their ranks decimated before instigating a plan involving all the world's leaders and a newly-freed Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey).

However, a small rag-tag team of Joes (Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye and DJ Cotrona as Flint) survive and regroup, reuniting with super-ninja Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his sexy sidekick Jinx (Elodie Yung), who appear to have recruited previous baddie Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Min) to their cause. With the extra addition of original Joe General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) and some weaponry he just happens to have lying around the house, the Joes stage a fightback against both deadly Cobra agents (Ray Stevenson as Firefly) and President Zartan's government forces.

The Good
The performances are something of a mixed bag: Johnson is rock-solid as always and carries the film with a typically likeable performance, while there's strong support from Adrianne Palicki (possibly playing it a little too straight) and Byung-hun Min, though the whole thing is roundly stolen by Pryce, who's probably the only person actually enjoying himself in his dual roles. On the other hand, Stevenson plays Firefly with a distractingly terrible accent, Willis phones in one of his laziest ever performances (with some sexism thrown in for good measure) and D.J. Cotrona is essentially a block of wood that has learned to frown.

The Bad
To be fair, there is at least one decent set-piece (a 3D-enhanced ninja scrap that takes place on the Himalayas) but the rest of the action is bewilderingly incoherent, largely because the script neglects to include any scenes of the Joes actually laying out their plans. In addition, the dialogue is appallingly lazy and the plot is nonsensical even by cheese-fest action standards.

On top of that, Tatum is completely wasted as Duke (anyone coming to see the film for Tatum will be bitterly disappointed) and the film also displays a shockingly callous attitude to its onscreen carnage; at one point an entire city is levelled to the ground and no-one even bats an eyelash.

Worth seeing?
Despite the combined best efforts of Dwyane Johnson and Jonathan Pryce, GI JOE: Retaliation (3D) is just no fun at all, thanks to poor direction, a shoddy script and a general lack of cohesion. GI Woeful.

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Content updated: 20/01/2020 10:11

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