Movie Review: G.I. JOE: Retaliation (2013)

".....(head nod)....."
“…..(head nod)…..”

No, Joe……Just….just no.

They did it to me again.  I swore after sitting through the first GI Joe, which was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, they’d never get me into the second film.  Then they went and showed that ninja fight on the cliffside and my inner 8-year old (who makes most of my decisions) decided I had to go.

Let’s start with what was good because it’s not going to take very long.  Unlike last time, everyone looks true to their characters.  There’s no lips on Snake Eyes’ mask.  Cobra Commander does not look like a corpse in a diving helmet.  Storm Shadow looks great.  Firefly looks great.  The only design and casting complaints I have are Zartan (so cool in the comics and series and yet so so so not here) and RZA some how heading the Arishnikage Ninja Clan.  Whatever, we got Jinx and she was awesome too.  In fact, I have no complaints about the F/X, costumes or cast (aside from effing Zartan).

None of those things earned this movie it’s 3.5 points (which is generous).  The entirety of that is for the flat out 10 that is the sequence in the mountains where Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes have a fantastic duel that segues into a mind-bending cliffside chase/fight with Cobra ninjas.  It is AWESOME!  I’m sure when it’s out on blu ray, you can find it on You Tube.  Do that.  Because the rest of the movie is a 0.0.

The problem is simple and two-fold.  John Chu is a horrible director and they spent absolutely no time on scripting a good film.  The dialogue is just painful and awkward.  The camera bounces so much all over the place that most of the time you don’t have any idea what’s going on and the first 25 minutes of the movie are spent trying to explain away or attempt to fix what the last movie screwed up.

This should have been a total reboot.  Forget the last film.  Start over.  I’m not expecting an Oscar winning movie, but there’s a reason this franchise and these characters are still stuck firmly in the mind of a generation.  They’re awesome.  Snake Eyes is in the KT dictionary next to the definition of “motherfreaking awesome”.  It’s a franchise that’s lasted 30 years now through several animated series, hundreds of comic books and three godawful movies.  It deserves the kind of treatment that millions of kids gave it in their imaginations when it first came out.  We’ve never let it go.  Next time, get someone with that passion and spend a couple million on the script instead of an explosion and make a movie worth making.
3.5/10.0

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