I’m literally the only person I know who didn’t think 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” was that terrible.
I mean, come on, it came out the same summer as the bloated, sexist, racist “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “G.I. Joe” sure wasn’t any worse than that abomination.
Still, the movie-going public, the very same movie-going public that has showered Michael Bay untold riches, hated poor old “Joe,” so the producers have tried to distance the sequel, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” from the first one as much as possible.
At least in the marketing and advertising sense: This is an all-new “G.I. Joe!” With The Rock!
The movie itself adheres closer to the original than the trailers would have you think. Cobra Commander and Destro are still in G.I. Jail after their nefarious plot didn’t work out in the “Rise of Cobra,” Zartan is still impersonating The President of the United States, and Channing Tatum is still so dreamy.
I wouldn’t have understood a lot of the plot if I hadn’t seen the first film (and I’ve only seen that movie once … four years ago), so I imagine some people might be scratching their heads at various points in the movie.
But those of you with a working knowledge of the first movie shouldn’t worry, there’s plenty left to scratch your heads at.
As the trailers gleefully spoil, the movie sees terrorist organization (and snappy dressers) Cobra taking over the United States from the inside and killing most of the Joes.
That leads to our first big problem: very little Channing Tatum.
Over the past year C-Tates has become a pretty big star, but unfortunately for the producers of this film that didn’t really happen until after “Retaliation” was shot.
So they pushed back the original release date and filmed a few more scenes with him, but it doesn’t really amount to that much.
That leads to our second big problem: everything else.
I’m writing this just a few hours after seeing the film and I’m struggling to remember that much about it.
There are action scenes and sword fights and awful dialogue and gratuitous Bruce Willis, but “Retaliation” isn’t exactly the type of movie that stays with you for weeks after you see it.
A lot of the action is stimulating, I guess, and the plot is just interesting enough to keep you from getting bored. Jonathan Pryce looks to be having a blast chewing scenery as the president/Zartan.
The rest of the cast is pretty well phoning it in though, particularly Willis, who is making a habit of that these days.
Current WWE Champion The Rock (as a lifelong wrestling fan I refuse to call him Dwayne Johnson) is good in certain types of roles, but he isn’t good enough to carry a movie like this.
So, is “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” better than its predecessor? Sort of.
It really is the quintessential soulless dumb fun action movie.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s entertaining for two hours and isn’t insultingly bad and that’s all that this movie ever needed to be.
Follow Josh on Twitter @joshuapresley