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
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The first trailer to G. I. Joe: Retaliation went live the other day, and a few people have asked what I think of it. First, here it is:
It’s difficult to discuss this without making comparisons to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a flawed and disappointing, yet enjoyable, movie. A proper review of that earlier flick is a topic for another day (um, I have 15 pages of notes, so it will be a long day), but suffice it to say Retaliation looks to ignore much of what didn’t work, accentuate what does, and still move the story ahead (it is a sequel, after all) without alienating those who missed Rise of Cobra.
Things I like:
-The White House subplot is capitalized on. (Ha!)
-Lots of action
-Dwayne Johnson’s charisma, and the fact that he’s taking taking the film seriously, but not too seriously
-The lesser actors from the first film are not present
-Machine guns rather than pulse guns
Things I like but as an over-protective fan, need to be won over on:
-Ninja cycle with guns
-Willis should have hair
-Cobra doesn’t seem to have leadership?
-But seriously, something seems familiar here…
Seriously, I can’t be the only person who immediately thought, “Wait, I’ve seen Snake-Eyes ride a dark motorcycle with guns on it right-to-left before,” can I?
Much is yet to be revealed (and they’re still making the film, so much could change), but this early out, a tip of my hat to director Jon M. Chu, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, production designer Andrew Menzies, and the folks at Hasbro for what looks like a fun and more faithful G.I. Joe movie.