G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

<strong class="MovieTitle">G.I. Joe: Retaliation</strong> (2013)

(On TV, January 2016) I wasn’t expecting this second G.I. Joe movie to be any good after the entirely dumb 2005 film, but it turns out that G.I. Joe: Retaliation definitely has its share of strong moments. A number of action scenes hold our attention, although the result ends up being limited by the silliness of its original material. Continuing where the first instalment stopped, Retaliation has the halfway-gutsy charm of starting with an impostor playing the role of US president and killing off the lead character of the previous movie within minutes, leaving Dwayne Johnson to lead the rest of the film. A few good sequences, such as the prison visit/breakout (anchored by the instantly compelling Walter Goggins) and a demented cliff-side battle, do much to remind us that we are watching a grander-than-logic action film ready to go all-out on big stunts. Unfortunately, Retaliation suffers from a much duller conclusion, blunting what could have been much more enjoyable throughout. It doesn’t help that for every time we’re shown actual combat equipment or quasi-believable refinements, the film shoots itself again in the foot by reminding us of how silly it is, with juvenile code names (Can anyone call someone else “Snake Eyes” in real life and not break out laughing?) and ridiculous plot developments. G.I. Joe: Retaliation almost tries to be more than an adaptation of a beloved but silly kid’s toy mythology. Alas, it is limited by its origins material, its willingness to please fans and its maddening lack of ambition when comes the time to commit to being more than a dumb action film.

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