GI Joe: Retaliation – Review


When I first saw the trailer for GI Joe: Retaliation, with its ninjas swinging from mountaintops, I thought “Man, this looks awesome,” immediately followed by “Man, I bet this is going to suck.” It’s a lesson that has been beaten into me by the previous GI Joe movie, the Transformers franchise. There are enough cool looking action scenes to cobble together a trailer that makes me want to see what ends up being a tremendously awful movie.

Despite feeling that I really should know better, I still wanted to see GI Joe: Retaliation. I missed it in the theater, but I caught it on Blu-ray recently.

I wish I saw it in the theater. It’s awesome. If you were a fan of the GI Joe cartoon and comic from the 1980s, you will love this movie. It is so evocative of the cartoon that I half-expected to hear Cold Slither on the movie’s soundtrack.

Dear Michael Bay: GI Joe: Retaliation is how you make a movie based on a 1980s franchise and not be accused of ruining people’s childhoods.

The movie was awesome from the moment I popped the disc in. When it loads, you choose your side, GI Joe or Cobra. Depending on which side you choose, you’ll see different clips and graphics on the menu screens. I thought it was a cool touch. Also, Cobraaaaaaaaaa!

In the behind the scenes special features included on the Blu-ray, it’s made clear why this GI Joe movie is so much better than the previous one. The main reason is director Jon Chu. He’s such a fan of the 1980s franchise and it comes through in the film. He pays a lot of fan service, but it’s not hollow. He’s putting this stuff in there because he’s a fan himself. I’m really hoping Chu sticks around for the next movie. Also, the producers wanted to ground it more in reality. Gone are the crazy super soldier suits and sci-fi vehicles. There’s still some cool tech in this movie, like Roadblock’s click-in, click-out arsenal, but overall, the weapons and vehicles in this movie seem much more grounded in real world technology.

As a fan of the TV show Friday Night Lights, I was super-excited when I realized that Lady Jaye was played by Adrianne Palicki, aka Tyra Collette. Seeing her kick ass in GI Joe: Retaliation made me wish that her Wonder Woman pilot had been picked up.

Hey! Wasn’t Scarlet the red head?

After realizing that Tyra was Lady Jaye, it struck me that quite a few notable Dillon graduates have gone on to the military, as both Riggins and Landry were in Battleship.

If there’s any disappointment to be had with GI Joe: Retaliation, it’s the casting of Rza as The Blind Master. I haven’t seen acting this wooden since Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode II. His line delivery was beyond comical. He sounds like a guy imitating a Kung Fu movie. On the one hand, in the behind the scenes special features, he clearly comes across as a true fan of the Joes, and must have been crazy excited to be part of this movie. He even notes that The Blind Master has only appeared in the comics, never on the cartoon, so he was the first to give voice to him. But that voice is terrible! It sounds like a 10-year old voicing Doctor Doom. I couldn’t help but laugh every time he was saying his lines. Seriously, it was ridiculous.

The coolest to come out of Rza’s casting as The Blind Master?
Rza action figure!


Remember the original Jinx action figure that had red nail polish so you knew she was a girl ninja?

When GI Joe: Retaliation was delayed, I heard it was because of Channing Tatum being a much bigger star now than he was when the first movie was released. The producers realized that Tatum was arguably now the biggest star in the movie, and was being killed off very early on. The delay, as I heard, came from them rewriting, shooting new scenes and editing the movie so that Tatum lived. But then when I watched the movie, fully expecting Tatum’s Duke to survive, he totally bit it. So what’s up? Anyone know the real reason the movie was delayed from the theater for so long?

Who ordered the stripping soldiers? Because here they are!

I was kind of bummed when Cobra Commander kicked Destro out of the band. Not cool CC.

When Roadblock and Firefly faced off against each other, I thought, “Wait, isn’t Roadblock supposed to be the one with the Cajun accent?” And then I thought, “Wait, what exactly is Firefly’s accent? Is that southern? Australian? South Australian?” I liked that in a special feature on the Blu-Ray, they addressed the mystery of Firefly’s odd accent.

If you were a fan of the GI Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon from the 1980s and like your action movies to be fun, I think you’ll enjoy GI Joe: Retaliation.

Yo Joe!