G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Cameron Hines

If Hasbro’s newest film G.I. Joe: Retaliation proves one thing, it’s that the time tested method of adding Dwayne Johnson to anything makes it better than its predecessors. The film, which was originally supposed to come out in August 2012, has finally arrived, though in some ways the wait wasn’t necessarily worth the result.

The government has grown dependent on the military group known as “The Joes,” and the Joes enjoy the love and attention of the country. However, the villains from the first film, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, are back to get revenge. Cobra Commander still craves world domination, and this time it is through nuclear warfare. The plot exists simply to carry the audience from one big action scene to another.

The film stars some of Hollywood’s biggest, including Channing Tatum, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ray Stevenson, Bruce Willis and, in an odd cameo, RZA. All of the actors do the best with what they’re given, but what they get is not much. When the film’s sets aren’t blowing up or used as arenas for ninja sword fights (as they should be), they are dominated by cliché and some very, very bland jokes.

But you go to these types of movies for the story. You go for the action. And for the most part, the film delivers. There are swordfights on mountain cliffs and giant tanks, but the film never gets over-the-top like you want it to. There is a glorious bombing scene and the swordfight on Cliffside is fantastic, but the rest of the film is never able to capture the cartoonishness that was in the movie (sometimes to a fault).

The film is not high art, and it’s not trying to be. It wants to be an action movie with big sets, and for that it succeeds. There are some great fights and gadgets, but between them the film is muddied by band screenwriting. Fans of the original will enjoy the film, as will action movie fans, but those of you looking for more words, this one isn’t for you.