Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


London gets obliterated by Cobra Commander

G. I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013). Director: Jon M. Chu.

In this follow-up to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the president of the United States has been replaced by a double, the evil Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), a lieutenant in the Cobra organization. While the Cobra operatives who were captured and imprisoned in the last film manage to break out, an operation to wipe out the "Joes" -- a crack fighting unit whose main opponents are Cobra Commander and his gang of terrorists -- nearly succeeds in obliterating the entire team; Duke (Channing Tatum) is one of the casualties. Fortunately, the survivors -- Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D. J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) -- join forces with grizzled General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) -- to take down the "president" before he and the Cobra Commander can cause havoc and mayhem throughout the world. Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) is a Cobra agent who decides to help the Joes when he realizes how much he's been manipulated by Zartan. Unless you're a G. I. Joe fanatic, Retaliation can be confusing, but there are some genuinely impressive stunts and FX work, especially the chilling destruction of London by the Cobra Commander's special missiles. [This obliteration of a world capitol seems pretty much forgotten by the movies' end -- huh?] The acting is serviceable for this kind of stuff, nothing more, although Jonathan Pryce does manage to impress as the president and his duplicate. Like the previous film, this is sometimes too frenetic for its own good. A bit with some weird mechanical bugs is notable.

Verdict: For Joe fans mostly. **1/2.

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