Sunday, March 31, 2013

G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D Review

I hated the first G.I. Joe movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. (2009) It was loud, shallow and stupid. So I wasn't looking forward to seeing the sequel. After all, this movie is based on the 3 3/4 inch action figures. And we've seen the junk movies based on toys before. (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Battleship) But the introduction of the smaller action figures from the orginal twelve inch doll in 1982 also came a comic book and cartoon series featuring the villainous Cobra organization. So at least, there's some semblance of a story line.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation picks up where G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra left off. Queen and King Birthers Orly Taitz and Donald Trump plan to expose President Barack Obama's insidious plan to make America into a socialist paradise. They must expose the plot to plant a foreign born president and the way his mother planted Obama's birth announcements in the Hawaiian newspapers in 1961. Um.... okay, that's not the plot to G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

The real plot to the movie is that it does pick up where The Rise of Cobra left off. There's a fake President of the United States installed in the person of Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) of Cobra. The real President (Jonathan Pryce) has been captured. Zartan uses Cobra as his security and army. In case you didn't know, the G.I. Joes are an elite fighting force. The Joes are dispatched to Pakistan to secure a nuclear warhead after the country's leader is assassinated. Led by Duke (Channing Tatum), they include Roadblock (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cortrana) and Lady Jaye. (Adrianne Palicki) Zartan as the President orders his forces to attack the Joes. Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye are theonly survivors. Zartan blames the Joes and they are framed for the theft of the warhead.

Meanwhile, Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) breaks out Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) from a secret American prison facility. Blind Master (RZA) convenes Joe's Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) for a mission. Blind Master asks the two to seize Storm Shadow alive and bring him to justice. The surviving Joes go undercover and get the help of G.I. Joe founder, General Joe Colton, (Bruce Willis) They intend to clear their names, expose Cobra's plans and stop them.

Everything about this movie is competent. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have written an adequate screenplay that at least raises problems with real world countries. The plot points regarding North Korea and Pakistan have a basis in reality. I mean it's an actual fear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. You don't see that covered in Bond movies. Director Jon Chu is adept at staging the action scenes. They make sense and don't overwhelm you with loud explosions. Of note, is the impressive ninja fight on the Himalaya mountains. But competent doesn't equate to good. The movie can't escape its shallow cartoon origins. It's a movie built around the action set pieces. There's a lack of exposition. I mean Storm Shadow was killed in The Rise of Cobra. Yet, there's no explanation of how he comes back to life. And who is Blind Master and what's his relation to the Joes? It's these kinds of plot holes that bring down a movie. And if they can ignore plot holes, at least for the third G.I. Joe movie they can bring back Duke (Channing Tatum) since Tatum is now a burgeoning movie star and sex symbol. See his Magic Mike. (2012)

The acting performances are like the rest of the movie. Dwayne Johnson is just competent. I can't buy his anguish at the loss of the Joes because that's not in his acting range. Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce and the rest of the cast take the movie seriously so there's no camp in their performances that could sink a cartoon movie like this. Willis' home arsenal would make a NRA member envious. Adrianne Palicki deserves a special mention. She's the type of eye candy for teenage males that could rocket her to stardom. Whether she's wielding an assault rifle, scantily clad or wearing a stunning red evening dress, Palicki's sexual magnetism easily bests the actions sequences of this movie.

As whether you should pay the extra bucks for 3D, you must first realize that G.I. Joe: Retailiation is a conversion from 2D to 3D. And I agree with Roger Ebert. You cannot turn a 2D movie into a 3D movie. The best you can do is have a cinematic pop up book. That being said, it's not bad for a conversion. Occasionally, there's some pop in the scenes. And the movie was well lit. However, it's clear there was little thought put into shooting the movie as a 3D feature. So, there's nothing special in watching it in 3D. If you are going to see this film, choose the 2D version.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a better movie than its predecessor. That's not saying much. But you could do worse. You could be in a CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) breakout session on race. The grade is C +.

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1 comment:

Thomas Watson said...

Great GI Joe movie, very faithful to the comics and the old cartoon. And yes, epic battle between Storm and Snake.