So I saw G.I. JOE: RETALIATION last night. I was planning on seeing it this weekend, but when I started to hear about screenings that were being held on March 26th, I did a little investigating and found a theater nearby that had a 7:00 show, so I said what the heck, and went.
Overall, I liked it. It wasn’t a great movie by any stretch, but it was a decent popcorn movie and Joe fans should be generally pleased with the results. I’m not going to do a straight up review of the movie, I’m instead going to run down the things I liked, the things I didn’t, and the things that were just…..meh. I will try to avoid spoilers as much as I can.
· Joes were Joes. Right away this movie had a big advantage over G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA by having a G.I. Joe team that was like the team we have known for 30+ years. Gone were the PITT in Egypt, the international members, and most thankfully, the accelerator suits. The Joes were back to being a Real American Hero in this.
· Cobra Commander looked and acted like Cobra Commander should.
· HISS Tanks! AWE Striker!
· Jonathan Pryce as the President (And as Zartan as the President). He seemed to really be having fun in the role(s) especially the scene at Fort Sumter.
· Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock. He also seemed to be having fun as Roadblock, and I hope this isn’t the last time he plays that role.
· The Mountain Ninja Battle. A very “Silent Interlude”-ish fight, and definitely the highlight of the film.
· Flint- This is nothing against D.J. Cotrona; but Flint had almost nothing to do this entire film, there was no character development with him, and he was just a generic Joe rather than the kick ass Warrant Officer we all know. Speaking of rank, that leads me to…
· It seems no one attached to the movie knew anything about the military rank structure of the chain of command. First off, the ranks of the Joes were all messed up; Flint was a Sergeant not a Chief Warrant Officer, Lady Jaye was a First Lieutenant not a Specialist, and Roadblock was a Sergeant Major. After the other Joes are betrayed and wiped out, Roadblock was in charge, even though Lady Jaye outranked him. It’s a minor quibble, but as a veteran it bugged me.
· The jumps. There are several points in the film where the characters suddenly go from one place to another instantly, even across the world. A prime example of this is when the Joes try to get out of Pakistan after the ambush. They are walking along in the middle of nowhere and suddenly discover an airfield. Roadblock tells Flint and Lady Jaye “There’s our way home” and the next thing you know they are back in the United States. I wanted to know how they got home, did they steal a plane and fly back? Who was running the airstrip, drug smugglers, the CIA, the Taliban? How tough was it to get out of there after your President told the world you were traitors? It didn’t have to be elaborate, but a little explanation would have been nice.
· So Cobra dropped a spike from space on London and destroyed it utterly, that’s kind of a bad thing, right? You’d think so, but after it happened there was almost no mention of it or the millions of casualties.
· RZA. Goofy looking and awful, luckily he’s only in it a short time.
· Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton. As great as it was having the original G.I. Joe played by Bruce Willis in the movie, he was just kind of there, if you’ve seen the trailers for the past year you’ve seen most of this screen time.
· The humor. I admit I had high hopes for some witty banter based on the fact that the screenplay was written by the guys who wrote ZOMBIELAND, but for the most part it seemed a little off. The interaction between Duke and Roadblock was good, and President Zartan had a few good one liners, but that was pretty much it.
All in all, I’m glad I went, and I will probably be seeing it again during the G.I. Joe Convention in Indianapolis. I hope it’s a hit, because they have the Joe Movie franchise heading in the right direction, and I want to see more.