Some times nostalgia will make one do bad things. I know this as I have seen many a movie purely for nostalgic reason. The first GI Joe movie is just such an act. I went to see it in the hopes of conjuring up those feeling from childhood of watching the cartoon and reading the comic books. In the end, I was disappointed. It shared very little in common with the these things other than the name the likeness of the characters.
When they announced that they would be doping a sequel, I swore that I would not be that guy. They would not be getting my money this time. As time passed and news of who would be in the movie was released, my resolve wavered. I find it difficulty to resist an action movie that features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When the trailers finally hit the interwebs, I was sold. There were tantalizing hints that the vehicles would actually resemble toys that I had as a child. Fuck Yeah!
Last night; I paid my money, bought my bag of popcorn and tub of Coke Zero, and watched a damn entertaining movie. I will be honest, this is not high cinema. You will not come away with a greater appreciation for the human condition or weeping for the fine craft that is presented on the screen. What you will get are explosions, gun battles, and ninja fights. Really, what more could you ask for a movie entitled GI Joe: Retaliation.
Unlike the first movie, Retaliation opts for a much simpler set of stories to pursue. The main plot revolves around Zartan replacing the President of the United States of America. The “B” plot follows up on the relationship between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The “C” story line deals with Lady J and her relationship with her father. Each of these was entertaining alone but were interwoven well throughout the movie making for a damn fine action adventure movie. The explosions and ninja fights were all spectacular but the part that I liked the most was the little tertiary story involving Lady J. After a tense investigative sequence, we get to learn a little back story on her character. She is from a military family, three generations deep. She was to be the fourth but had the misfortune of being born a woman and her father didn’t approve of women in the military. She joined the military and strove hard to attain the rank necessary to make him salute her. He died before she could achieve the goal. Instead of leaving this as a piece of fan service, the writer turns it into a nice bow to wrap up the ending of the movie. Not unexpected but certainly well appreciated.
All the actors, save RZA, turn in respectable performances. There are no points that stood out as stellari my mind but nothing was horrible either. The promise here was an action adventure movie with a some entertaining character interactions. On this GI Joe Retaliation delivers. To top it off, it made sure to include the things that the first movie lacked namely the vehicles and staff that one expects from GI Joe. When a random Cobra trooper was explaining the development of the HISS Tank, I sqee’d.
I really enjoyed this movie. It was the GI Joe movie that I wanted. I’m only sad that it took the sequel to deliver it though. Definitely worth a matinee viewing.