Beware spoilers below.
Does anyone else feel like Hasbro likes to fling poop in the faces of their long time fans? The most recent Transformers trilogy spiraled into a massive abyss of crap, Battleship was no bueno, the Transfomers animated movie was a Cybertronian blood bath so they could “make way for more toys,” and now look at what’s happening to G.I. Joe. Maybe it’s not completely Hasbro’s fault, films are the product of many people and companies; but, whoever decided it was a good idea to kill off Duke (Channing Tatum) in G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a big doo doo head. What, other than irritating the hell out of Joe fans, did it accomplish? Duke’s a classic GI Joe character, and the central focus of most Joe cartoons, comics, and assorted media. If his death were heroic, or for a greater purpose, it might have felt justified. But as it is in G.I. Joe Retaliation, it could have just as easily not happened and it wouldn’t have changed anything.
Don’t try to say his death acts as a catalyst for the remaining Joes to get revenge- the fact that the President ordered an attack on their unit, and killed damn near everyone, is enough fuel to want revenge. Three Joes survive the attack at the beginning, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that Duke dies and gets replaced with Flint (D.J. Cotrona), an uninteresting character that adds nothing special. If Duke had survived, the audience would have been a little more invested in what was happening, and when the story is as dumb as it is in this film, you need all the investment you can get.
There are a few good things about G.I. Joe: Retaliation that make it “turn your brain off” watchable (if Duke’s death isn’t a deal breaker, that is). The fight scenes are no doubt the highlight of the film… well, the fight scenes, and Dwayne Johnson’s rippling muscles. The ninja fight on the mountainside is especially fun, with unique choreography to match the unique fight setting. As Snake Eyes, Ray Park’s skill shines through (as they do in every role he has) and Byung-hun Lee’s Storm Shadow is equally impressive. Honestly, G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s cast is pretty strong- it’s the insultingly stupid plot, bad jokes, and strange story choices that drag the film down definitely making it a “rent” at best.
Action Rating: 3 ½ G.I. Joes Ultimate Ninja Mountainside Battle Playset, out of 5!
This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!
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