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G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Genre Action
 
Review:

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was a cheesy all-out action CGI overload that borrowed from a number of better movies and embarrassed a number of actors in the process. Yet, that didn't stop them from making a sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. HOO-HA!

The G.I. Joe movie franchise has had a complete overhaul. The focus is still on gung-ho action, gun-slinging, bad attitudes, combat vehicles and advanced technology, but they've dropped the tongue-in-cheek tone for serious kick-ass action, beefed up the cast and evened out the CGI.

Only a handful of actors survived the scourge with Channing Tatum reprising his role as Duke, Jonathan Pryce returning as The President and Arnold Vosloo making yet another cameo as Zartan to name a few. They've super-sized the lead by casting Dwayne Johnson, adding Ray "The Punisher" Stevenson and thrown Bruce Willis in for good measure, while padding the rest of the cast with a handsome selection of new talents in Byung-hun Lee, Elodie Yung, D.J. Controna and Adrianne Palicki.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is not about characters or acting, it's about the good guys, doing good while looking good. So apart from a convincing doppelganger appearance from Jonathan Pryce as President, there's not much to write home about. Dwayne Johnson does his usual "don't mess with The Rock, especially when he's got his mean face on" role. Bruce Willis cashes another cheque and other than a well-toned Byung-hun Lee and slinky Palicki, there's not much more to say.

They're not pretending that this toy line adaptation is anything more than that, and it'd be a little ambitious to think that they'd "Wolverine" each character. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is all about looking cool and kicking ass in style, why else would they hire Jon M. Chu, the guy that directed Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D? It's certainly not to siphon award-winning performances from the cast.

As one person said, there's enough gun-fetishism to warrant an NRA advert after the credits. They've really gone over the top with production design, creating lavish spy, military and villain sets with a wardrobe to match this onslaught of commando fashion. Chu knows what pops in 3D and threads action sequences together like a series of futuristic special ops recruitment music videos.

There's enough going on in the comic book storyline to sustain your attention, but G. I. Joe: Retaliation is by no means a thinking man's film. Nuclear threats, terrorists, imposters, corruption... the script packs a whole bunch of 007 mayhem into the nearly 2-hour run time as an excuse to generate some mild peril, only to restore order. Isn't that the plot for just about every episode of G.I. Joe?

If you had to compare G.I. Joe: Retaliation to other films, there are strong aspects from Die Another Day, X-Men: The Last Stand with one foot in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. These films all put eye candy and entertainment ahead of getting to grips with the internal workings of the characters and there are some definite parallels in terms of theme, design and plot.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is better than it's predecessor, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. It may be a little too serious for its own good and lightweight in terms of substance, but it's also seriously cool eye candy - adding slick visual effects, a good-looking cast, machismo and plenty of firepower to a spectacularly entertaining popcorn blockbuster.

The bottom line: Gung-ho

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