If you go to a G.I. JOE movie looking for complex characterizations, deep emotion, drama and thought-provoking intrigue … well, you're an idiot.
If, however, you go looking for slam-bang, over-the-top, non-stop kick-ass action done with real life actors filling in for the legendary plastic action figures many of us spent time playing with as kids … well, now you're talking. And the G.I. JOE: RETALIATION movie released over this weekend fills the bill nicely, thank you.
It will undoubtedly be panned by all the "serious" critics and most likely will set—or come close—some kind of attendance record.
All I care about is: Did it measure up to my personal expectations and was it worth the money I shelled out (or, to be exact, what my grandson shelled out since it was his treat as a late birthday present) to see it? The answer was yes, in both categories.
The story? The plot? Hell if I know, not for sure. The Joe Force was wiped out in the beginning so a bunch of underhanded stuff could take place once they were out of the way. I figured that much out. But a small handful of Joes, led by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, manage to survive (BIG mistake for the bad guys). They recruit an old school Joe—Bruce Willis—to help them figure out what's going on, why their force had been whacked, so they can proceed to set things straight and … well, retaliate.
Nuclear domination of the world and a phony U.S. president (played with scenery-chewing relish by Jonathan Pryce) under the command of the dreaded COBRA are behind the whole mess and it is up to the misfit band of Joe Force survivors to stop them.
Tons of action, breath-taking stunts, gunfire and explosions, tough-guy banter, and even two or three snazzy chicks who manage to kick their own share of asses and look mighty fine doing it.
What's not to like?
The Rock is engaging, believable, and fast becoming the top action star for this kind of thing. But Bruce ain't going down without a fight. He comes on with equal parts wisecracks and deadly force and darn near steals the show. It's a role he could by now play in his sleep—but it's exactly what we want to see him doing, right?
Go see it.
Get your heart pumping strong again and do it while having lots more fun than being burn-tattooed by a couple de-fib paddles.