Do you remember when toys and games were just that? You know… they were just pieces of plastic that you’d play with in your room or in the bath? Oh come on, it wasn’t just me playing in the “water arena” with my pieces of plastic was it? I was about 5 or 6 okay?! Well, I remember those days… and your imagination was definitely enough to dream up all manner of scenarios and events for these toys. Sure, there might have been cartoons, but no-one wanted to make a film about plastic toys. Then the world changed. Our plastic heroes were suddenly on the screen… and before you knew it Hasbro had somehow managed to put Battleships (a game where you just shout grid co-ordinates) into your local cinema. So after the ridiculously underwhelming “success” of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2009, Hasbro has now brought you the much delayed GI Joe: Retaliation. Now with 100% more Channing Tatum. Well… sort of…
GI Joe: Retaliation follows on from the events of the first film, but decides to scrap the majority of the existing cast in favour of following our new group of “Joe’s”, Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Duke (Channing Tatum) and Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), over another bombastic set of events. I don’t feel like I’m “spoiling” anything here to say that I wouldn’t get too attached to Tatum here… his role is very similar to that of Side Effects. It’s another instance of him being billed ludicrously high as a draw card… you will be disappointed. Be warned.
Anyway, this time around the Joes find themselves “betrayed” as an act of “retaliation” from Cobra – their arch-nemeses. What follows is an attempt to restore their good name as US heroes and stop Cobra’s wicked plan from succeeding. I honestly can’t bring myself to write an engaging plot summary, as I dreamt up more thrilling scenarios in my bath
last week when I was a child. Oh, and this time around you can add in the original Joe – Bruce Willis as the GI’s attempt to restore their good name. There was a time where I’d always see Bruce Willis being in a film as a true positive… but this time around? Well, you’ve seen A Good Day To Die Hard haven’t you?
GI Joe: Retaliation isn’t the action movie you were hoping for. This should have been obvious when Paramount delayed the release from June 2012 to April 2013 to add 3D to it. Now, 3D can work – I’m not the critic to tell you that I despise it. It works sometimes, it doesn’t others. But a massive delay to ADD 3D screams cash grab. Some speculated it was to add a bit more Channing Tatum, as his star has risen dramatically following Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street. I’d fall more with the former, as opposed to the latter, that’s for sure!
What of the action? Surely there has to be some great action though right? Well… there are bangs and pops, that’s for certain. Indeed, the children in the audience were whooping and laughing at every single Cobra member that had their rappelling cord cut in a cliff scene. Oh, it’s all fun and games for them. What of the families? They were sons and daughters to people! Children nowadays have no concern for the wellbeing of a family. That’s what’s wrong with Britain! But seriously, there is enjoyment for the younger audience members. For everyone else? You’ve seen it all before.
What you might not have seen before is the size of Dwayne Johnson nowadays. This guy (aka, The Rock) has packed on an immense amount of muscle. Look at his traps! (Traps are the muscles in his neck / shoulder region that make him look so massive). That guy has been doing a hell of a lot of shrugs down the gym. I feel for Johnson, as again he’s in a meat-head role that requires very little acting ability. But he does look massive, so that’s good for him. Hopefully this year’s Pain & Gain can deliver some goods for him. He looks massive in that too! What of the others? I wouldn’t write home about them to be honest. Tatum rivals Anne Hathaway‘s performance in Les Misérables… but only insofar as time on-screen, not in acting ability! And Willis? Once again it looks like he’s wandered onto a set as if by mistake. He seems distracted and a little too laid-back. Looper stands as his only recent performance that really shines. Come on Bruce… please bring back your A-Game!
Ultimately, GI Joe: Retaliation is an underwhelming amalgamation of explosions and muscles. There’s a plot there, but it’s very thin on the ground. It tries to inject suspense and thriller-esque imagery, but fails. Having said that, the film gets an extra half-Phage purely because of Dwayne Johnson‘s traps. That guy deserves the extra half for all that gym time! If you were looking forward to seeing a solid action film, then you’ll be disappointed. Just await the next explosion-fest to hit your local screens in about 2 weeks’ time.
GI Joe should have been left in my toy chest / at the bottom of my bath. Somewhat alarmingly, it appears as though a third instalment is on its way though. Hopefully the script-writers will come and ask me for a decent plot line. I can conjure them up some fantastic ideas. They’ll be way better than the big screen adaptations of Kerplunk and Buckaroo that I’ve got brewing. I’ll go and let the bath run now…