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The natural evolution of Jesse Ventura.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a weird sort of sequel. It liberally ignores the “canon” of its predecessor in many superficial ways, drops characters and icons we saw in the previous film without explanation, and often feels more grounded and as if it takes place in an entirely different world than the first one (which was much more science fictional). The result is something that I can only compare to two different versions of the same comic book character(s). John M. Chu proves he can do more than direct dance movies or follow Justin Beiber around, showing a flair for action and humor that lends itself well to this movie, but he also feels like a guy coming into an X-MenĀ run two years after the last notable one.

This movie also has an interesting production history. There were several rumors going around when it was delayed (it was supposed to come out last year). The most popular rumor was that it had been delayed to bump up the presence of Channing Tatum and his character Duke. 2012 was the make year for Tatum and it makes a lot of sense that the studio would look at this fact and say “our movie needs more of this year’s it-guy”. I don’t know how much they added, but the official report was that the delay was really about a post-conversion to 3D. And here I thought these fuckers had realized what a bad idea that usually is. Fortunately in G.I. Joe 2, the 3D is actually pretty good and often cleverly used to punctuate the action choreography.

Anyway, as to whether or not this movie is any good… you’ll have to ask yourself whether you liked the first one or not. It’s definitely different, as this sequel is more grounded and less ridiculous (for the most part) than Rise of the Cobra. That being said, it’s still a cartoon action movie coasting on a somewhat thin coating of charm and violence. The first movie was more violent and more crazy than this one, and if that’s why you liked it (if you did) then you will maybe be disappointed by Retaliation. Of course, if you didn’t like the first one because of those elements, Retaliation will certainly seem like the better of the two. Read the rest of this entry »



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