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G.I. Joe: Retaliation


Stars: D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, RZA, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Walton Goggins, Luke Bracey, Robert Baker, DeRay Davis, Joe Mazzello, Arnold Vosloo

Director: Jon M Chu

A giant, lash-fringed eye appears in massive close-up and then morphs – in excellent 3D – into MGM’s trademark lion. It’s an impressive piece of animation and the only thing showing any artistic element in an otherwise bog-standard piece of comic-book action aimed at 10-year-olds who enjoy lashings of (not too graphic) action unburdened with anything that might cause them to have to think while they enjoy the noisy set pieces that are the film’s baslc entertainment core.

Another element from the credits explains the film’s real genesis –one of the production companies turns out to be Hasbro, makers of the popular G I Joe toys. And G.I. Joe: Retaliation certainly serves well in what appears to be its prime purpose – as a pay-to-see plug for the plastic toys.

Director Chu clearly appears to have understood the film’s purpose as a promotional piece whose screenplay (by Rhett Reese and Paul Wemick) is simply a bog standard Good Guys vs Bad Guys story pitting Our Heroes – led by Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum (I apologise for mentioning them by name - the money may have been good but I doubt that any actor involved in G I Joe: Retaliation will want to have the film used in evidence against them) and their fellow fighters, against the villainous COBRA organisation whose prime villain Bruce Willis enjoys himself immensely and, fortunately, tends to convey that entertainment to the audience by not taking himself seriously. Jonathan Pryce gives a far, far better performance than the material deserves as a ('genuinely’) two-faced US President one of whose faces turns out to be a very bad Bad Guy.

The film, of course, is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s there simply to make money and sell plastic toys and, on that basis, it succeeds in terms of its prime audience, easily pleased youngsters. Accompanying adults are advise to take earplugs, a strong flashlight and a good book.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Mar 2013