Film: “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”; Cast: Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, RZA, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum, Joseph Mazzello, and Elodie Yung; Director: Jon M. Chu; Rating: **
The film, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is designed for kids and for those who want to journey back into their childhood. It is a spectacular fantasy action film made of massive set pieces and big explosions. It is also just another chauvinistic film of the United States’ perception of itself as the world’s police.
For the uninitiated, “G.I. Joe” is a term used for Ground Infantry Soldier. Apparently, Vietnamese prostitutes coined the term for the American soldiers, for they seemed invincible.
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is supposed to take off from where the previous franchise “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” left in 2009. In the film, Cobra’s master of disguise Zartan (Jonathan Pryce) poses as the President of America and plans to rescue Cobra Commander from jail, integrate his troops into the US army, and convince the world leaders to agree to a nuclear disarmament plan so that the Cobras could eventually rule them.
Meanwhile, the Joes now headed by Duke (Channing Tatum) and his second-in command Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) along with the rest of the Joes are on their way to the US after a successful mission in Korea. En-route in Pakistan they are ambushed and left to die and are termed traitors by none other than their president.
The G.I. Joes swear to retaliate. Speed is the name of the game. Roadblock and his subordinates Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (D.J. Cotrona), Mouse (Joseph Mazzello) are eventually stranded on their own. They along with the help of Col. Joe Colton (Bruce Willis) track down the threat and stop Cobra Commander from completing his quest for world domination.
In totality, the action scenes in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” are fun and exciting. Director Jon Chu brings his own experience as a choreographer into the action-packed film.
The sequence that stands out is the mountainside dialogue-free fight between Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Jinx (Elodie Young), and a horde of Red Ninjas – swinging on ropes on the high Himalayan altitudes. The thrilling sequence with a very little of computer generated images surely raises the bar on outrageously daring screen fighting and feels aptly breathtaking.
The actors dish out a decent fare within their given framework. Dwayne Johnson gets more screen time compared to the rest of the cast.
The action is energetic and graceful. The production quality and cinematography is impressive. The editing is smooth and the 3D effects are electrifying.
Unfortunately, the action film is too loaded with an all-star action cast, code names and G.I. Joe and Cobra terminology thus making it difficult to follow to the story line.
New characters pop up at every given opportunity and the outcome is an irreparable mess of personalities squeezed into an already complicated story. And at times, logic takes a back seat.
Watch it if you are “G.I. Joe” fan or have nothing else better to do.