GI Joe Feels Plastic

Retaliation better than Rise of the Cobra , but not by much, critics say

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2013 11:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – The GI Joe franchise gets yet another shot this weekend with the sort-of sequel/sort-of reboot that is GI Joe: Retaliation. And while many critics agree that it's better than its dreadful predecessor, they also agree that it's a mindless barrage of ludicrous-yet-somehow-dull action scenes. Here's what they're saying:

  • Ever gotten stuck watching a friend play a video game? That's what this felt like to Bill Goodykoontz at the Arizona Republic. "Director Jon M. Chu has the controls in hand" and "he doesn't waste our time with things like sensible plot direction or character development." We sit and watch the constant action scenes, which aren't bad, but "the overall effect is one of boredom coupled with wasted time."

  • Richard Roeper disagrees. To compare Retaliation to video games "is to insult a number of video games that are far more creative, challenging, and better looking," he writes on Roger Ebert's site, trashing the film as a "heavy-handed, explosion-riddled, ear-piercing disaster with an insanely stupid plot."
  • "Wisely ditching the director, writers, and most of the cast of the freeway pileup that was the first film, this one sticks to business: ninjas, machine guns, and international super-commandos with stripper names," writes Kyle Smith at the New York Post, who actually rather liked it, calling its script and action "ridiculous but not senseless."
  • Still, it's not a clean reboot, complains Stephanie Merry at the Washington Post; seemingly random elements carry over. "It's as if the computer successfully restarted but half the icons disappeared." The action is lifeless, and "almost nothing is plausible." Surely, people will see it anyway. "But don't say you weren't warned. As a wise man once said, 'knowing is half the battle.'"

Channing Tatum, left, and Dwayne Johnson are shown in a scene from GI Joe: Retaliation.
Channing Tatum, left, and Dwayne Johnson are shown in a scene from "GI Joe: Retaliation."   (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood, File)
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Snake Eyes battles Storm Shadow in this extended scene from the movie.   (YouTube)

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