G.I. Joe: Retaliation – It’s Like a Child at Play

by Yo Snyder

When you go to see a G.I. Joe movie, what you really want to
see is something that comes close to what you imagined as a kid when you played
with the toys. It doesn’t need to be much more than the action figures in
motion with special effects and explosions. Now, that may sound like a shallow,
pointless movie to some; but it’s all I need when it comes to something with
the name G.I. Joe on it in order for me to enjoy it. Fortunately, even more so
than its predecessor, G.I. Joe:
understands this, and in understanding it, it’s free to just
have a good time in trying to fulfill those simple expectations without trying
to do too much. Is this a great movie? No. It’s passably good, but it’s totally
G.I. Joe, and that’s what makes it fun.

So what is it about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that
everything he ends up in is just a bit cooler because of it? He’s already
revitalized Fast and the Furious with his presence, and he’s doing the same
with the Joes as well. I can’t think of anyone else who could fill the shoes of
Roadblock, or take over this franchise now that Channing Tatum is a big enough
star that he doesn’t have to do stuff like this anymore. It’s alright, The Rock
is way cooler anyway, and much better lead for a film like this. Plus, Bruce
Willis is here. He doesn’t do much, but when he does, it’s always cool to see
him in action; especially as a Joe.

Aside from getting a cooler lead, what Retaliation really gets right is understanding what fans want from
G.I. Joe. Cobra Commander looks like Cobra Commander this time, complete with
the silver face-plate. Thank you. Also, all he wants is to rule the world; just
like in every episode of the classic cartoon. Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes
fight, and then they fight together. So cool. Everyone goes by their codenames;
as it should be. In fact, the only thing really missing is the Joes still wear
standard military issue instead of their own trademark outfits. Well, hopefully
the next film will fully embrace that as well.

Storm Shadow gets the bulk of anything that one could
consider character development this time around. We see a different version of
the backstory that ties him and Snake Eyes together. We learn that Storm Shadow
was framed for killing his master, and that set him on the road of anger and
violence that he’s followed ever since. In fact, it wasn’t so much that he was
framed for it, but that those who he considered to be his friends would believe
that he could have done such a thing. This sends him into the embrace of hate,
and as he says, “It’s possible to feel so much hate, you stop feeling at all.”
Storm Shadow doesn’t finding redemption from that in this movie, but it is
available for him and anyone else lost in hate. However, the antidote is
something that many of us struggle with; forgiveness. A heart cannot harbor
both hate and forgiveness, and should Storm Shadow ever discover that, I
believe that he will find the redemption that, whether or not he realizes it,
he is seeking.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
is full of big guns, big explosions and big action. It’s kind of silly at times,
completely over-the-top at others, and kind of cheesy at still others. But
then, this is the stuff we imagined when playing with all of our Joe toys. These are the types of scenarios and impossible action sequences we believed
these characters were capable of. This is the type of movie you go see, you
enjoy, and then immediately forget because there’s nothing in it that will stay
with you. I don’t really see why it needed to be delayed a year just for 3D
conversion (I know, it’s a money thing), because it’s not like that was going
to be the deciding factor in whether it was good or not. It just is what it is.
It is either something you know you’d have fun with, or it is something you
know you’ll find kind of dumb. Either way, G.I.
Joe: Retaliation
will live up to your expectations.

Score: 5 of 7 – This
movie probably isn’t good enough for a score of 5, but that’s taking into
account the fun factor. It was fun, I liked it for what it is, and that’s my
score. It’s PG-13 because there’s plenty of action and violence, but nothing
gritty or bloody. Also, there’s some mild sensuality with Lady Jaye.