I greatly enjoyed the first live-action film G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra in 2009, despite its messy storyline and many forgettable sequences of explosions.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation retains some of the cast – Bung-hun Lee, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Channing Tatum; whilst adding Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Adrianne Palicki to the ensemble. These inclusions bring more excitement to the franchise and propel the majority of interest in this movie.
Indeed, Dwayne Johnson is especially great in this film, he is the driving force of the story and he lights up the screen at every moment he is seen. Bung-hun Lee returns as Storm Shadow, and it is his character that has the largest character arc in these movies, thus far. Adrianne Palicki is perfectly cast as Lady Jaye, her athletic skills being well utilised in various high octane scenes.
In fact, the action scenes are quite thrilling this time around, with the top of a mountain zip-line battle being the highlight of the movie, and one of the better action sequences I’ve viewed in recent years.
The storyline itself if a bit silly, but becomes very acceptable once you acknowledge this franchise for what it is at heart … a kids cartoon show. Nonetheless, the script pulled no punches, delivering devastating violence and destruction with sweet abandon, too.
Overall, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is without doubt better than the first movie and is very enjoyable for anyone happy enough to just go along with the ride.
Score: 7.5 out of 10.
* Special note: Jonathan Pryce doesn’t get enough credit for what he does in the movie industry. We are very lucky to have such a brilliant theatre actor performing in this kind of stuff. His list of “geek” credits over the past fifteen years are outstanding, from Tomorrow Never Dies and Ronin to Pirates Of The Caribbean, as his ability to transform between good or evil and little bit both is beyond most mere mortals.