Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: G.I Joe Retaliation (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Channing Tatum and Adrianne Palicki
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

Okay, first thing I need to admit is that I’m a fan of the original G.I Joe. Wow I feel better now, like a weight has been lifted off my chest. But yes, I liked it and was looking forward to this sequel. Even with the studio delaying the movie by a year, I was hoping for some fun times. Having now watched the movie I’m completely split in two.

Stepping up to the lead position is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Roadblock and as always he brings a great physicality, as well as a tremendous amount of charisma. His chemistry with Channing Tatum is fantastic; I loved every scene they shared. However this creates the first big problem. The relationship between the two men is so awesome that when we lose that a third of the way into the movie, you can really feel it. The Rock looses someone he can play off and things get a tad boring.

D.J Cotrona (Flint) and Adrianne Palicki (Lady Jayne) are capable but are never really given much to do. Palicki gets a small side story but it seems crammed in there and kind of hurts the character in the process. Watching this movie I can see why she got the nod to play Wonder Woman but then like that pilot the material given to her is never that great. My greatest surprise of the film was Walton Goggins taking time out from Justified and playing the part of Warden Nigel James. His characterisation was the only time the film managed to re-capture the fun of the Tatum/Rock stuff from earlier on. I salute you sir and I officially dub you one of my all time favourite actors.

Story wise we have a plot that’s ripped straight out of the G.I Joe cartoons. This is great! There’s a doomsday weapon, Cobra Commander looking like Cobra Commander and stakes that involve the entire world. However I found the overall plot was hampered by the smaller scale budget. We have this exciting prospect that is never allowed to quite reach its epic potential because we can’t afford big armies clashing. Also the Snake Eyes stuff is pretty poorly handled; it just seems to come out of nowhere. At least it leads to an impressive fight in the mountains, unlike the final set piece.

How I wish The Rock beat Cena at 2012's Wrestlemania.
Speaking of action this is where things really excel. We have a more modern cinematography style with the use of shaky cam; however Jon M Chun never looses the audience. Not once did I question what was happening and it’s refreshing to see a director use rapid cutting and shaky cam properly. The set pieces aren’t as grandiose (except maybe the ninja fight in the mountains), but this I put down due to budget and what is there is excellent.

I really did like this movie; there are some serious flaws but the fact that it still succeeds despite them goes to show the talent involved. It’s not a game changing movie and  it’s not going to be on anyone’s top ten but it entertains and considering the trouble behind the scenes that’s all I could have hoped for. With the third movie green lit, I’m hoping a bit more money can be put into production. Till then, GO JOE!

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