Not really, a little bit, and not a chance, respectively. It’s a pretty terrible film, but it’s also a lot of preposterous ridiculous fun.
Following on from film one, the only thing you really need to know is the president has been imprisoned, replaced by a shape shifting doppelganger, and no one is any the wiser. The film wastes no time getting to the main point; the GI Joe’s are framed for murder after a routine operation and are wiped out on orders from the impostor President. All of the Joe’s are killed, except for Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and two of his fellow Joes. From then on it’s a race against time to clear their names and stop evil organisation Cobra from launching missiles that will destroy the world.
But really the plot is just an excuse to hang a lot of really cool set pieces on; there are gun fights, sword fights, car chases, fist fights, ninja battles and lots and lots of explosions throughout the two hour run time. Plot is a minor contrivance as is subtle acting, but everyone here performs their parts with aplomb whether it’s Cobra Commander sneering through a ridiculous mask, Lady Jaye apparently being a Joe whose area of expertise is exposing her cleavage or His Rockness sweating and quipping his way through the various actions scenes. Dwayne Johnson has chemistry with everyone, best evidenced with his early banter with a returning (but not for long) Channing Tatum and a cameoing Bruce Willis (on autopilot, as per usual) and he’s especially well suited to this type of film (see Fast Five for further proof); he’s a bona fide movie star who oozes charisma and is always likable whatever the role. He doesn’t quite give the franchise the shot in the arm he did with the Fast and Furious series, but he’s the best thing in the film and it is easily a step up from the previous film at least. And then there’s Jonathan Pryce as the President and his evil doppelganger, chewing up the scenery and hamming it up like nobody’s business.
But enough about boring things like acting and plot, the action is what you’re here for and it doesn’t disappoint. And it comes thick and fast, with the standout sequence being a cliff side scrap between two Joes and an army of ninjas; it’s dizzying, exciting and doesn’t take in to account silly things like physics or sense. And in 3D it looks pretty spectacular as well. Most of the action scenes follow the same template; bonkers but you’ll be smiling too much to care.
Overall, GI Joe: Retaliation is big, dumb and loud. And it’s a lot of fun if you go in with your expectations set to the appropriate level. But in my heart I know it’s nowhere near a good film.
Review by Jonathan Cardwell.
Thanks to our sponsors at the Odyssey Cinemas
Don’t forget to book your tickets for GI Joe at the Odyssey Cinemas here.