G.I. Joe: Retaliation


No, Joe...

Harder. Faster. Um, realer. That’s the PR spiel supporting this delayed big screen follow-up.

It’s a sequel few were demanding, but fewer still can ignore, especially with The Rock plastered all over the posters, dangling there like a dumbbell-loving carrot for fanboys who scoffed at Stephen Sommers’ ludicrous G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.

You don’t cast The Rock for his sentimentality, and sure enough Retaliation has all the emotional range of a lobotomized goldfish. Sweating and straining his way through a dizzying number of scuffles, The Rock mainlines adrenaline for Retaliation’s rat-a-tat set-pieces, all of them as absurd as those of its predecessor - and, in one city-levelling jaw-dropper, even more so.

Can’t remember much about the 2009 original? No worries; an opening set of Top Trumps deals out the heroes and villains for you. Because, yes, everything in Retaliation is calibrated to snare a 13-year-old’s attention span and the story, such as it is, acts as little more than a limp washing line on which to peg those incendiary set-pieces.

The basics: Channing Tatum-led super-soldiers the G.I. Joes are framed for the assassination of the Pakistani President and outlawed. While evil outfit Cobra is put in its place, the Joes - among them Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) - attempt to put the world to rights.

Naturally, that involves ridiculously-stylish undercover clobber, fist-fights with B-villains Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), and Lady Jaye going for the jug-ular with a cleavage that could cause a serious injury. Oh, and in a second act upswing, recruiting original G.I. Joe Colton, played by a Bruce Willis…

is an apt subtitle for a franchise fighting to stay afloat despite overwhelming bad will. To his credit, director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets) turns in a 3D post-conversion (the official reason for his film’s nine month release bump) that genuinely elevates the material, not least during a heart-in-throat Himalaya scrap that steals the show.

Otherwise, the film’s flatter than a nuked London. The banter lands awkwardly and the action’s all blaze, no bruise. Back-stories are reduced to hurried back-sentences.

And The Rock? He’s easily outshone by this actioner’s surprise golden goose: Jonathan Pryce. As the compromised US President, he’s catty and compelling, playing Angry Birds during a nuclear strike and boasting about hanging out with Bono...


“Rock solid,” is Bruce Willis’ nod-wink appraisal of an attack strategy in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The film’s nowhere near as sturdy, trundling out middling action and nonsensical plotting.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • DeanBeirne

      Mar 25th 2013, 15:09

      why am i not surprised. The first one was utter garbage, not even Bruce Willis could save this, and The Rock is the same character in everything he is in...

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    • moviemind91

      Mar 25th 2013, 16:15

      The first film was just an entertaining and dumb popcorn film. It's one of those rare films where the studio says "This film is based on toys...let's have some fun with this!". I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the first GI Joe because I really do. It wasn't perfect but it was fun. If this film tries to be more mature and realistic then I know I won't enjoy it. I can't tell by this review whether I'll enjoy it or not...we'll have to see...

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    • thedanieljson

      Mar 25th 2013, 19:30

      @moviemind91 the first is one of my greatest guilty pleasures too. Then again, so is every Stephen Sommer's film that I've seen. He has a real eye for silly, boyish fun (and always seems aware thats thats what he's delivering). Not so sure about the look of this one.

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    • jaykays hat

      Mar 26th 2013, 9:17

      Loved the first one and like thedanieljson, this is also one of my guilty pleasures. I shall go and see the sequel and yet again I shall leave my brain at home and enjoy the sheer nonsense of it.

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    • Ali1748

      Mar 29th 2013, 18:20


      Harsh very harsh indeed. Retaliation is far more enjoyable than the first G.I Joe and it's way more entertaining than Die Hard 5.

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    • thejonner

      Mar 30th 2013, 10:41

      I took my boys to see it yesterday at their insistence. I thought it was mindlessly dreadful. I've also gone off the kids a bit, too...

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    • rohitkelkar1

      Apr 16th 2013, 12:39

      I am an Indian and huge fan of ROCK, About Movie : Unbelievable stunts,every thing explodes, totally action packed 2 hours of pure violence. But needed some more refinement as first part. The new technology like that “fly” bombs. They were a serious delight for the action watching eyes.A very good action movie after a very long time. But “first part is always the best” is the law i will apply to this one. Acting was superb by Dwayne and the all and all starcast did a very fine job. pls visit sociosquare com for digital media services India

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    • amolshinde

      Apr 18th 2013, 8:32

      I love this movie, i have seen every movie of ROCK, he is the best. watch indian comedy show Tarak Mehta episodes on dittotv

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    • Filmigos

      Apr 18th 2013, 17:39

      I have to agree. Great popcorn movie. Just check your brain at the door. for those who grew up with the toys, they'll really enjoy it. The only scene that is Theater worthy, I guess, is the SnakeEyes mountain scene. Overall, I give it a RENT rating over at my site. Feel free to go over there and rate it as well.

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    • rmcmillen01

      Apr 19th 2013, 16:21

      After seeing the trailers for this movie I was actually pleased......... I actually had hope! Hope that this movie may be better than the first. Boy was I let down! This movie did nothing more than join the first in the horrible movies I had in mind when writing "A Call To Arms...Sort of" on Hub Pages . A sad state of affairs..... that's all I gotta say.

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