Cobra has infiltrated the White House and replaced the President with an imposter intent on starting a nuclear war amongst the worlds’ superpowers. Turning the special forces military unit known as the ‘Joes’ into outlaws, by publicly blaming them for an erroneous attack. The surviving three members of the unit Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jane (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) are forced to recruit a veteran unit leader, Joe (Bruce Willis). Meanwhile an uninvolving redemption saga plays out between one-time brothers Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. The focus on this aspect of the story is at first a welcomed distraction from the shoot-em’ up stuff, but ultimately turns as redundant as the rest of the film. It makes me wonder if the decision to include this subplot was in an effort to raise appeal abroad, particularly in foreign asian territories.
Months of retooling and speculated reshoots are evident in the choppy opening twenty minutes that make little sense, other than the addition and prolonging of scenes involving original star Channing Tatum and new franchise kick-starter Dwayne Johnson. That Tatum’s Duke is the superior officer to Johnson’s Roadblock is a hard bit to buy and their relationship feels forced and unconvincing. Two of today’s most charismatic actors are rendered dull by the ridiculous screenplay in this overlong and desperate attempt to wring dollars from moviegoers with a fond memory of the toys and cartoon.
I was one of the few critics to give G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra a positive review. It wasn’t a cinematic classic by any stretch, but I ranked it a notch below the original Transformers and much higher than parent company Hasbro’s Battleship film. That bomb ended up on my Worst of 2012 list and even though we are only four months into the new year. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is assured a spot on this year’s list, if not the champ.
Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis