Film Review: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

Channing Tatum (left) is barely in "G.I. Joe: Retribution." Credit: Jaimie Trueblood
Channing Tatum (left) is barely in “G.I. Joe: Retribution.”
Credit: Jaimie Trueblood

‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’
Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

As with most long-running comic book franchises, “G.I. Joe”‘s mythology is insanely complicated. Here’s all you need to know to comprehend the first sequel, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”: at one point, a member of the good guy squadron announces, “I’m the quicker blower-upper.” Less an action movie than a catalogue of artillery and explosions, it’s too much of a drag to be dumb fun, but gun collectors and pyromaniacs might dig it.

The film takes off where the first left off, with the American president (Jonathan Pryce) having been replaced by Zartan (also Pryce), a soldier serving the evil Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) who’s been made to look exactly like the commander in chief. All that’s standing between Cobra and world domination is the G.I. Joe team, led by Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson at his most by-the-numbers). Other members include Flint (D.J. Cotrona, appropriately rock-like), Lady Jaye (Adrienne Palicki, relentlessly ogled) and Duke (Channing Tatum). Tatum’s role has been played up in advertising, and there were reshoots to give him more screen time, but he exits early.

The colorless crew is almost wiped out by a strike ordered by “The President” shortly after they successfully invade Pakistan to retrieve that country’s nuclear weapons. That mission is one the movie supports: up with guns and pre-emptive strikes, down with nuclear disarmament. Or does it? “There’s only one person who could authorize a strike like that, and I voted for him,” Roadblock says after the attack, and the team investigates what our white male president is up to. “What if the president…isn’t the president?” Lady Jaye wonders when she stumbles onto the truth. At such moments, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” seems like a bizarre riff on Obama voters disappointed with their president’s drone strike policy.

Sometimes the movie seems to be flirting with camp, as when the RZA shows up as a ninja master with the fakest beard ever and barks martial arts lore. But mostly “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is shockingly dull, with lots of incoherently shot carnage and lame wisecracks. (The worst offender on that front is Bruce Willis, who seems to be trying to destroy the goodwill he’s accrued over the years.) There’s one undeniably cool bit involving ziplining ninjas fighting it out on the mountains, but the film mostly presents undeniable silliness with a tedious poker face.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…