Monday 4 November 2013

Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Year: 2013
Director: Jon M Chu
Screenplay: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee

Synopsis is here

What do you get if you mix the Director of a couple of Step Up movies with the writers of Zombieland? You get a tonally awkward and erratically plotted sequel to a silly but entertaining franchise. It’s clear that G.I. Joe Retaliation’s issues are not the complete fault of its writers and director. The film has obviously been tinkered with. The studio had held the film back for re-shoots (involving more Channing Tatum) and there is a longer cut available. That said without Stephen Sommers; Retaliation becomes an extremely po faced exercise which lacks the knowing silliness that Rise of the Cobra featured.    

Retaliation hops from place to place with of real sense of time, while introducing us to a glut of brand new, bland characters not worth writing in depth about. Not that a G.I Joe film is looking for poignancy, however it’s troubling that an actor like Dwayne Johnson has less moments of interest than Marlon Wayans. The reshot scenes that involve Johnson and Tatum are of no real importance. Then again nor is the major city that is destroyed in an instant. Even when Paris went the way of Team America in Rise of Cobra, there was at least a reference to what had took place. Then again it’s hard to argue with a film that feels that a woman dressing down to a bra and panties produces more harm to young minds than the amount of cannon fodder which bit the dust during each limp action sequence.     

It’s bizarre to think why the studio has such disregard for its franchise and it’s fans. Why chuck away half the characters and actors we got to know for little reason? Do people really deserve such forgetful action sequences? Why was the original tone for Rise of Cobra replaced with something more gung ho and hawkish? These questions will never be truly answered and only the most militant of fans will happily paper over the cracks with their own resolutions. I'm glad for them. Others on the other hand may find themselves more than a little confused.