The good- GI Joe Retaliation is infinitely bigger, louder and thankfully so- better than its predecessor. Breath-taking, non stop action, great VFX, deadpan heroes and femme fatals , great soundtrack and gizmo’s that will shame 007, it ticks most of the boxes for a summer action flick. The bad- not that the leads are great actors, but back to back to back action set pieces leave little room for acting, the dialogs are as banal as they can get, and the climax is cartoonishly over the top.
Retaliation takes off from where Rise of Cobra ended, and the movie is best enjoyed by folks versed in the Joes legend - the President of the US has been replaced by Zartan aided with some cool nanomite wizardry. The time-line is a mix of alternate and real history- Pakistan is a failed state and the Joes are sent to retrieve the country’s nuclear arsenal. But it is a trap- the President is after all a Cobra operative, and he wipes out the entire GI Joe force including the hero from the previous film Duke (Channing Tatum), except for the intrepid trio of Roadblock (The Rock- Dwayne Johnson) , Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D J Cotrona). It is up to these three along with the original Joe, Bruce Willis to expose the fraud president and prevent global annihilation.
GI Joe action figures gained popularity in the mid 80s, when the world was falling at the feet of Japan- economic hatchbacks, Walkman, ninjas, VCR et all-action movies in the 80s paid homage to Japan (anyone remember Robocop 3?). The Japanese angle in GI Joe is Snake Eyes, Jinx and Storm Shadow- together they deliver one of the finest one on one sword fight in a monastery, and then director Jon Chu goes one step better to give your ticket worth price 3D action sequence in snow capped Himalayan territory when Snake Eyes and Jinyx escape from a platoon of ninjas whooshing between peaks, rappelling sheer cliffs, braving avalanches, gunfire and swords. The trailer features some of this out of the word stunt-work, but the full experience of this in the movie is amazing, so much so that after this, the other Joes do not matter anymore- its Snake Eyes that your eyes will follow, and i think it is about time he got his solo movie- he is cool enough! I was happy to see Dwayne Johnson return to his roots- the Rock always adds class to any role he takes on, he has his family audience fans, but he is first and foremost an action star, with a sweet core. Jonathan Pryce as the President is delightfully funny as a villain reveling in his new found power and Bruce Willis totes his own brand of hairless machismo.