So I have mixed feelings for the sequel to the G.I Joe franchise. On one hand it is just the cartoon fun that you’d want from a film about a range of action figures, but the story is so unbelievably stupid that it’s too much for a film that is ment to be just dumb fun in the first place. Pressing the reset button but still sticking to the cliffhanger ending of Zartan disguised as the president of the United States, returning Joe’s Duke (Channing Tatum) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park) return with new recruits Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) replace the cast from the previous film. When Storm Shadow free’s Cobra Commander and Zartan sanktions an air strike that wipes out nearly all the Joe’s, they turn to original Joe, General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis) to help the serving few to save the world from Cobra Commanders evil plan.
Retaliation feels like a reboot as here as Duke is now the leader of the Joe’s with no mention of Dennis Quaid and this time are no more special enhancement suits, just a shed load of guns. The Joe’s in this film are more like a platton of elite military soliders rather than the hi tech, top secret unit and the film makes the point of sticking with the new batch of heros to root for. Johnson is value for money as always but most of the cast is given nothing to do while the rest are just carisma vacuum. Thank God for Jonathan Pryce who is hamming it up big style playing both roles of the president and his impostor. Ray Stevenson as fun with what I think is a southern american accent, playing villein Firefly. Cobra Commander looks the part but is don’t around to make much of an impact and while Storm Shadow returns without any explanation as to how he survived the last film is placed in what is a sincerely bad plot device that is so shoe horned in, you’d think that the writers made the script up on the day of filming. As for Willis, well he’s just picking up the pay check, in fact he sleeps walks through this film so much that you’d think he was really trying on the last Die Hard movie.
It would be a mistake to take G.I Joe Retaliation seriously. It is in fact a film based on a line of toy’s, so it is expected it (and rightly so) that this is a cartoon of a movie. In cartoon worlds, the bad guys plan to take over the world by destroying it, Bruce Willis has an arsenal in every cupboard and Cobra plan to break out their leader from a high security prison, when one of their own is already acting as the president. But there is only so much you can leave behind you so it all depends on the entertainment, which has some nice action beats to it. The Snake Eyes/Jinx mountain fight is partially fun to watch but by the time you reach the climax you just have most of the hero’s standing with guns just shooting at things. It need to give more bang for our bucks if we’re having to swallow the honking big plot contrivances.