First, the good news--GI Joe: Retaliation had a very good first weekend at the box office, taking in over $40 million. It also has done very well internationally, as its been the biggest international release this year so far.
Overall, the movie raked in $132 million since its opening, clearing its $130 million production budget and paving the way for the movie to be profitable. So, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing another GI Joe movie in the future.
Which brings me to the bad news--GI Joe: Retaliation is not a good movie. I mean, I didn’t expect it to be a great movie, but I expected a major leap forward from the first one, and this movie is more like a few baby steps forward. It’s better than Rise of Cobra, but not by much.
The plot of Retaliation is so ludicrous that it makes the cartoon look like it was grounded in reality. The basic story is that Zartan is impersonating the President, has most of the Joes executed, frees Cobra Commander and then they try to blackmail the world. Sounds cool, right? The problem is that it feels like that sentence was the entire script the director was working from. Everything from the dialogue to the flow of the scenes is very clumsy and awkward. Even the giant ninja fight on the mountainside that you saw in the trailer is a disappointment.
The worst parts of the movie are the tacked-on extra scenes with Channing Tatum’s Duke that were likely filmed after the move had been completed and Magic Mike made him a household name. At least, I hope they were filmed after the movie, as they feel completely off from the rest of the film.
For me, the best part of the movie was Ray Stevenson’s (Punisher War Zone, Thor) portrayal of Firefly. That guy is just awesome in everything. He seems to be having the most fun of anyone in the movie, he gets the coolest toys to play with, and he ends up being much more of a villain than either Cobra Commander or Zartan, who are both underutilized throughout the movie. It’s like he was the only one outside of The Rock that knew he was in a GI Joe movie.
I know it sounds like I hated this movie--I didn’t. It was a fun action movie, that featured some moments of greatness (the final fight between Roadblock and Firefly being my favorite). But overall, Retaliation feels like a waste of potential. I’m really hoping that if we get a third film, the creators go all the way and truly embrace everything about the franchise. I want to see Trubble Bubbles. I want Tomax and Xamot, a lot more Cobra Commander, and I want Joes wearing their signature costumes, for crying out loud.
And one more thing--I want MacArthur S. Ito. Snake Eyes can sit the next one out.
2.5 out of 5 Lack of Quick Kicks