Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation


G.I. Joe: Retaliation

  • Starring: Bruce Willis (R.E.D.), Dwayne Johnson (Fast Five), Adrianne Palicki (Red Dawn) and more.
  • Directed by: Jon M. Chu
  • Synopsis: “In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. The film stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. Directed Jon M. Chu, and produced by Lorenzo di Bonventura and Brian Goldner, from screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick based on Hasbro’s G.I Joe characters.”
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for stylized action, language, intense sequences of violence and sensuality.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

A different format this time around. It had been a while since I had watched the prequel to this film (G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra), so a few hours prior to my sneak peek preview of the continuation, I trudged through the first one again to refresh my memory. I even tweeted about it.followME

So, with Rise of Cobra fresh in my mind prior to seeing Retaliation, I decided to write my review in the form of sharing my thoughts before, while and after I watch this newest one. Below you will find them in that order. This is the closest to “live-blogging” as it may get for a while as theaters tend to frown upon the usage of electronics during a movie! 🙂

BTW, I like the poster I used for this review. So many of the ones for this movie were horrible, or just character posters, or contained terrible photoshopping, but I like this one because of its balanced opposites. Fire/Ice, Good/Bad, White/Black, Color/Coldness, Bald/Beautiful hair, hahaha.

Hit the jump to enjoy this different type of review for G.I. Joe: Retaliation. “Go-o-o-o, JOE!”


Pre-viewing thoughts:

Well, obviously, with knowing how the first one ended and the title of this newest one, Cobra is about to lay the smackdown on the Joes. Retaliation is the name of the game. I have a few things I am most curious about:gi-joe-retaliation-4-17-1

  1. Just exactly what will happen with Duke?
  2. Why is Storm Shadow still alive?
  3. How are they going to explain the absence of Scarlett, General Hawk, Ripcord and Heavy Duty?
  4. Will we see Paris rebuilt after the Eiffel Tower’s destruction?
  5. Jinx better tear it up…I’m just sayin.
  6. Oh, and will the White Stripes version of “Seven Nation Army” actually play in the movie like it did in the 1st trailer?
  7. Please, Bruce Willis, bring something to the table other than a copycat of John McClane (Die Hard) and Frank Moses (R.E.D.)
  8. Looking forward to how Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki and Ray Stevenson fit in here.
  9. JGL replaced by Luke Bracey? Who in the world is Luke Bracey? I guess it doesn’t really matter. Cobra Commander wears a mask!
  10. There better be much better CGI in this one. The first one was horrible.

Please, director Jon M. Chu, don’t let me down like Stephen Sommers who directed the first one. I mean, Sommers did The Mummy and Catch Me If You Can, so I had higher expectations and he failed me. Mr. Chu, you won’t, right? I mean, let’s look at what you’ve directed. It’s gotta be great, right?

…crap. Mr. Chu, YOU directed Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never??? I didn’t sign up for Dancing with the Joes…Expectations officially lowered way beneath that of G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra now. (at least he won’t let me down comparing the other stuff he did…maybe)step-up-2-the-streets_2008-1-814x500_scroller

2 hours from now the movie will begin. At least I know who is in it, what the first one was like, who’s directing and what to expect to an extent; and, as they say, “Knowing is half the battle.”

Can I retreat from this battle now?gijoe-retaliation-international-russian-banner-raw-image

Mid-viewing thoughts:

(For this portion, I merely scribbled my thoughts out on my notepad throughout the movie and edited/transcribed some of them here for you. Without spoilers, of course.)

  1. Picks up well enough from the first one with a cool explanatory intro that explains little to nothing.g-i-joe-retaliation-image03
  2. Duke and Roadblock’s relationship remind me of Jenko and Schmidt in 21 Jump Street. Is the spotlight of their friendship the promise of more character development in the film, or merely a setup for what I think is about to happen with Duke? I suspect a setup. (thanks, GI JOE 2 trailers)
  3. Dwayne Johnson: I like him in these type of roles. It’s too bad they are all the same.
  4. Exciting technology plays a vital role continually and it’s cool to see throughout.
  5. Okay, I expect a lot of people to die between Snake Eyes AND Storm Shadow in this film.
  6. This movie is stale. Moving at a slow pace. Where’s Joe? It’s boring me, but at least there is no real bad CGI like in the first.
  7. Okay, 2 more lame things: The bad weapon is named ZEUS? Really? and RZA (Man With The Iron Fists) is in this movie? really? why?
  8. When it comes to new characters, I like Jinx and Firefly. They’re cool. Firefly’s signature arrival is pretty neat, but Ray Stevenson is grossly underused.
  9. So is Lady Jaye, but she is mainly here for looks (not complaining)!
  10. Accelerated plot through simple uncovering of the “President” is evidence of questionable/lazy writing.snake-eyes-ray-park-in-g-i-joe-retaliation
  11. When will this movie actually start to take off? I’m bored. I know there’s more action (thanks again, GI JOE 2 trailers).
  12. Storm Shadow vs. Snake Eyes!!! YES!
  13. More lazy writing! Really? Using the “poor misunderstood lonely soul” excuse for a bad guy. YUCK.
  14. Cool to see Cobra Commander. Too bad he disappears for over 35 minutes before we see him
  15. So many characters in this movie are useless: Flint, Blind Master, Mouse, and even Joe himself…at least Lady Jaye is pretty. Again, RZA needs to go, he hurts this film even more with his misplaced presence. We know he likes Kung Fu…go like it somewhere else.
  16. After 90 mins in, here finally is more action AND Joe AND Cobra Commander (although, not all at the same time…and never in the same scene. WHY?)
  17. Don’t get used to Joe or Cobra Commander. They don’t show up much.
  18. London Bridge is falling down. (thanks again, GI JOE 2 trailers)
  19. Mix James Bond movies with Fast Five, R.E.D. and Die Hard and plenty of boring characters and scenes of non-action and we get this snorefest. Only things that make it good: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Cobra Commander, Lady Jaye and Jinx [for obvious reasons: their fighting skills ;)] and the end credits.
  20. Thanks Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson for not being any different than you have been in so many other roles. LAME-sauce.


Post-viewing thoughts:

What was the point of almost anything in that movie? Not nearly enough Cobra Commander (the film was better when he was on screen), the whole “nuke” angle was pointless and did they forget about Joe?GI-Joe-Retaliation-2012-Movie-Image-600x262

The movie took forever to get going and when it finally did with action that lead to any type of closure it was over. And, of course, common sense is a stranger to films like this. I stayed up late to watch this snorefest?? At least there was more action, better characters at the beginning and some really neat use of technology. The setup from the end of Rise of Cobra really accomplished little in the whole grand scheme of things, so it really wasn’t that grand of a scheme to begin with. (bleah)


Final thoughts:

This movie was pushed back for more reasons than just “3D enhancement.” The studios must have wanted to push it back and forget about it, but contractually couldn’t so they just delayed the inevitable for a little bit longer. That clearly must be what happened. Jon M. Chu, you let me down, and that was difficult for you to have done given I already didn’t expect much. At least there wasn’t any street dancing.gijoe2_image2

And I am very disappointed in realizing the answers to a lot of my “Pre-Viewing” questions. A few cool moments here and there to spark up some interest, yet they only serve as teases left unfulfilled by the events to follow. Bad plot that ultimately amounted to nothing at all, bad use of several characters, bad choice of which characters were highlighted, good action when it was on screen, better CGI, ultimate letdown. I’m not certain at this point which one I like less, Rise of Cobra or Retaliation. At least in Retaliation there is more Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow.G.I.JOE-RETALIATION-Storm-Shadow-VS-Snake-Eyes

When will Hollywood get it right when it comes to childhood favorites?

Transformers, The Flinstones, G.I. Joe, Smurfs, Inspector Gadget, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! ???

Hollywood, get your own ideas! Leave my childhood toys/cartoons alone! Stop ruining them. Don’t adapt anything else from the 80’s and 90’s. Why don’t you pick on Pokemon or something like that. Everything from my childhood is now off limits! That means No Voltron movie! No Thundercats movie! No He-Man movie! No Gargoyles movie! No Darkwing Duck movie! No Doug movie! No Jetsons movie! No, None of it! Put an end to the destruction now! I demand it to be so…or else Skeletor, Goliath, Lion-O, Cheetara, and even Skeeter will rain down wrath upon thee! (Consider this your official “Cease and Desist” letter.)

I’m out! (Just like “Seven Nation Army” was out of this film…and as almost everyone else from the first one was)gojoeDuke: General Hawk, you think GI Joe: Retaliation gonna be any good?

Ripcord: How you gonna ask him that, Duke? It doesn’t have most of us so…of course it will be good!

Snake Eyes: If they only knew…It’s only good when I’m onscreen!


Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars for G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. G.I. Joe.)

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 200 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday” and the “Lammys 2013”! You don’t want to miss it.


  1. Aw man, that’s so disappointing to read. The ninja scenes looks so sick from the trailers and extended clip. But I could also tell that all the other characters paled in comparison to the ninjas. I was looking forward to this. You gave this a 1.5 out of 5 stars but I’m curious, what would you give Rise of the Cobra? I actually liked part 1 and didn’t mind the CGI at all so that’s why I ask.

    Loved your rant at the end about our childhood toys and cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s. I could not agree more! Don’t forget Battleship. What were they thinking?!?


    • it was just as disappointing to write. the ninja scenes were very cool (except the mountain side one was rather ho-hum actually).

      I saw your comment yesterday (thank you by the way) while I was at work and spent some time thinking what I would rate the first one. I think I personally would rate it a 1 out of 5 given my thoughts and my rating system (see the link on the top of the page “My System of Rating and Reviewing Movies.”

      I liked GI Joe growing up, and really was disappointed with the first one. It only served really as a stepping stone setup to Retaliation…and that disappointed too.

      just my thoughts anyways. haha

      Oh, I forgot Battleship, it’s true. But I blame my brain on it’s protection setting because it blocked that movie from my memory due to how bad it was. hahahaha! 😀


  2. Ahah, you and Ted share the same rating. Glad I did not go to the press screening, Ted and my hubby went instead and they wished they could get their two hours back 😀


  3. You and I are in total agreement here T., I kept looking at my watch since I wanted the film to end fast! Got it was awful and the 3D was even worse. When I saw RZA appeared as a blind ninja master, I was like WTF! Was that supposed to be a joke? And don’t get me start on Chu’s direction, the man doesn’t know how to stage exciting action sequences; all of them felt like they were stitched together by the editors in the last minute.


  4. Sorry T, i just do not agree, just got back and maybe its the headache 3d tends to give me thats influencing this, but i thought it was better than the first, i liked how they put that ALL the joes except for Roadblock Flint Lady Jaye and Snake were wiped out, yes T, Joe Central was destroyed. I’ll agree that a few of the characters were useless but hey, we didnt make the film. another point i’ll disagree on was lady jaye, she looked better in her fatigues and her hair up then she daid in that awful red dress that showed off her sternum… but meh, i’d say at best a 3 out of 5, not the worst but definitely not the best


  5. A director without credentials, actors that have never been in a good film and no positive reviews. It sounds like I’m gonna stay well away from this. I think I’ve outgrown the whole superhero/childhood cartoons turned to films. I’m ready for the next thing Hollywood can come up with to make bank in the box office (and they desperately need it).
    Studios should stop trying to make films like these appeal to as wider an audience as possible. At the end of the day, they just end up making pretty awful movies.
    Nice effort with the live blogging. I enjoyed it.


    • ha. thanks for the kind compliment on my attempt at “live blogging.” I hope to do it again soon.

      This one was a bad disappointment. I actually just left from seeing it again with friends that wanted to see it. (in 3d this time since). My opinion has not changed one bit. Great job staying away from this one! 🙂


  6. […] “Bad plot that ultimately amounted to nothing at all, bad use of several characters, bad choice of which characters were highlighted, good action when it was on screen, better CGI, ultimate letdown. I’m not certain at this point which one I like less, Rise of Cobra or Retaliation.” – The Focused Filmographer […]


  7. Ouch. Scathing indeed. Admittedly, I was always going to have lower expectations about this one since the first one was just a total trash-heap of ideas and creativity. I’m still keen to see this, but I think it’ll be a rental on Blu rather than a trip to the cinema. Nice work, Terrence….


  8. I actually was pretty happy with this one, even though I do completely agree with the points you make against it. My point of view is that it’s a GI Joe movie so there’s only so much intelligence that makes sense to feature, but as far as dumb fun went I thought it did a perfectly acceptible job.

    If I were to agree with any of your points more than others though it’s that RZA was TERRIBLE. His line reading was so wooden I could’ve sworn they accidentally used one of the bad takes for his readings.


  9. I enjoyed the hell out of it, was it well written? nope, but neither was Avengers, they both relied on special effects to drive a plot. The tortured bad guy that is Storm Shadow stuck with the cartoon from my youth, and if you’re going to rip on them for that jump on Loki for the same reason. Just sayin….


    • Hi Moose, welcome. Thanks for stopping in to share your thoughts. a fair point about Loki, but at least they brought that out a lot better in The Avengers…and at least it was more central to the film as a whole. In this, it served little to no purpose at all.

      Glad you enjoyed it. You are one of the few. Appreciate the comment.


  10. Ahahahahaaa! Laughing at ur views of the director and the earlier movies he has directed…hilarious. U asked alot of the questions I asked after I left the theatre…especially RZA…wth. I could not understand his purpose. And did Storm Shadow not die at the end of the first film? Bruce Willis was also a waste of time. He’s always in “Die Hard” character lately…smh.

    I didn’t like this movie half as much as I liked the first one. There were way too many new characters and none of them caught my interest. I hope this is the last we see of the Joe’s.

    Where is your review for Temptation?…lol


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