I’ll start with a short review. Please note, this is for the theatrical cut, 110 minutes. For the Best Buy Blu-ray Extended Action Cut, check back in a week.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a fun movie and a good adaptation of the Hasbro brand, capturing both the spirit of the Sunbow cartoons and the Marvel comic book. It has solid performances, convincing visual effects, and manages to both act as a sequel to Paramount’s hugely flawed 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, while also somewhat ignoring that and rebooting the franchise as a new first installment. Much credit goes to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s great as Roadblock, the film’s heart, and director Jon M. Chu, for exciting action sequences and properly mining G.I. Joe for many of the things we’ve always wanted to see onscreen. I certainly raised my eyebrow when Chu was announced for the director’s chair based on his previous filmography, but I recognize that professionals have skills that don’t always correspond to past work. The man who directed one of my favorite commercials went on to direct three of my least favorite films, so it can easily go the other way. (That would be Michael Bay, the Aaron Burr/Got Milk? spot, and Transformers.) Don Jurwich, who directed the animated G.I. Joe, had previously worked on Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. If there had been an internet in 1983, would we have reacted poorly after seeing Jurwich’s name in the Joe TV credits reel? Some additional credit goes to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (both of Zombieland), who turned in a decent action script that needed to serve several masters. There are story problems, but the bar was set low by The Rise of Cobra. Continue reading