G.I. Joe is a brand of dolls that evolved in the 1980’s into a line of action figures, a cartoon, and a comic book. The toys were for kids to play with or collectors to collect. The cartoon was a kid’s dream. It was the toys come to life in cartoon form every week. The comic book series was different. It was based on the same toys that were meant for kids, but had a, somehow, adult feel to it. The enemy known as COBRA was much more evil than in the cartoon series. They also weren’t afraid to sacrifice themselves when a mission failed. The comic definitely had a dark feel to it even though a lot of the characters were really corny.
In 2009, we got the first attempt at a live action G.I. Joe via the movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With a PG-13 rating it falls more inline with the comic books than the cartoon in terms of tone. However, it doesn’t quite reach the level of darkness of the original comic book series from the 80s nor its more modern counterpart. It is a fun, goofy, action tale that is satisfying enough, but not anything great.
Now, in 2013, we have the sequel to that film entitled G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This is an attempt to right any wrongs the first movie made. They do this by first getting rid of a lot of the characters. Gone are heroes such as Scarlett, Heavy Duty, and Ripcord. Also, mostly gone, is the villain Destro. The G.I. Joe leader, Duke, makes a return, but not a very big one.
All these losses don’t really improve the new movie. Instead they shift the focus onto a few new characters and a few old favorites. The highlight of the first film, Snake Eyes and, even moreso, his enemy Storm Shadow are back and in great form. Both get a good showcase of their talents in this movie. Roadblock, a character added to this movie and played by Dwayne Johnson, is an entertaining action hero though it is other addition Lady Jaye, played by Adrianne Palicki, that has the better storyline.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation, like the first movie, offers some fun action. In fact, the action here is an improvement over the first in some ways. There may be a little too much camera shaking going on during the action sometimes, but for the most part it is done well. It’s also a little less goofy than the first G.I. Joe movie and I think that works well.
Really, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is just a fun experience. There is fun action and funny dialogue throughout. The villainous Zartan, in disguise as the president, in particular gets many funny lines in the movie.
Overall, if action movies excite you then G.I. Joe: Retaliation is something worth checking out. It’s not anything deep or revolutionary, but it is a whole lot of fun which is really what G.I. Joe was about in the first place.