Good, Bad & Ugly Review: G.I. Joe – Retaliation

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30% (Critics) / 76% (Audience)
Directed By: Jon M. Chu
Written By: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki and Bruce Willis
Studio: Paramount Pictures

Synopsis: In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. (Source)

The Good:
Swapping out the (woefully) miscast Joes from the first film (except for Channing Tatum who wasn’t that bad as Duke) and returning The Joes to being a U.S. organization instead of some U.N. backed world police force was a good movie too. Just getting the thrust of the movie back to its roots was a very welcome aspect of this movie.
I also thought the mountain side ninja fight was exceptionally well done and a pretty original idea for where to stage an action fight piece.
And the Cobra villains used this time around were cool with a personal favorite of mine in Ray Stevens playing explosives expert Firefly and a bumped up role for Stormshadow (my favorite G.I. Joe ninja, sorry Snake-Eyes).

The Bad:
This franchise still doesn’t have a good handle on Cobra Commander. While he isn’t as bad in this movie as he was in the first, the character really had no true presence in the film and seemed almost like a bit of an afterthought. At least he wasn’t just Doctor Mindbender with a different name but he still wasn’t my idea of what Cobra Commander should be. Plus the voice (like an auto-tuned Darth Vader) really did nothing for me. I’d have just gotten Scott McNeil (the second voice from the old cartoon) to do the voice since the actor who played the role in the movie didn’t speak at all.
And no Destro or Baroness is a major faux pas.

The Ugly
Yet another film has given The RZA a part that requires him to say a lot of lines and just like in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS the dude is comically bad. Whoever thought that he was the perfect person to play the role of a blind ninja master needs to be checked for blunt force trauma to the head.

Final Verdict: After the disappointment of the first G.I. Joe film I had very low expectations for this one but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. G.I. JOE: RESOLUTION is big, loud and dumb but in a good way, not in a way that makes you feel like your childhood memories have been trampled over. Sure it has huge plot holes and multiple flaws but in the end it is as close to the old cartoon as one can get without being a total mess.

Grade: C+

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