This weekend we have a showdown for the ages. Only one movie will win the crown of movies nobody asked for. Will it be the romantic invasion of the body snatchers or will the Rock save another ridiculous series from the grave. I’m referencing Fast 5, if you’re wondering.
GI Joe Retaliation
When we last left the Joes, they had just saved the world from the evil plans of Cobra Commander (Why Joseph Gordon Levitt, Why?!) and maintained peace for another day. Cobra Commander and Destro were imprisoned in a secret facility and that gave Duke (Channing Tatum) extra time to try out his skills in the male stripping circuit.
As Retaliation begins, Duke now leads the Joes. They have done away with Ripcord, Baroness and Scarlett. His new team is comprised of RoadBlock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (DJ Cotrona, possibly a made up name), and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, who would make up that name?). From the last movie we know that evil Zartan has disguised himself as the US President, and early on in Retaliation he wipes out nearly every GI Joe. The remaining members, led by Roadblock spend entirely too much time trying to investigate what is going on with the president.
Meanwhile, the villains are working on their plans for world domination. The evil ninja, Storm Shadow, infiltrates an underground prison and rescues (not Joseph Gordon Levitt) Cobra Commander. The baddies then concoct a devious plan which involves nukes somehow (don’t ask), then they reference a weapon called Zeus (which doesn’t have much significance till the end), then the president displays Cobra flags on the White House. I know a lot of people who don’t trust the government already. I’m sure adding black and red cobra flags into the mix isn’t going to help matters.
Snake Eyes, the best part of the first movie, is chasing down an injured Storm Shadow (who was cured by magic and lasers) in Tibet. His mission is to find him and bring him to justice in front of an old version of a Wu Tang Clan member.
Does any of this make sense? No? Good. The plot isn’t what you are seeing this movie for. I’ll get down to it. The action is quite good. Once again, the best parts take place when the two ninjas are duking it out. Though I just wish Snake Eyes would quit using a gun.
The action is explosive enough to satisfy action fans. The effects are leap years ahead of the first movie. I really got into the ninja repelling action while they were fighting on the side of a mountain. I can appreciate this movie for putting it all out there action-wise. The problem is, I had expectations that this movie was going to be in on the joke. Of course GI Joe isn’t meant to be serious, but sadly the writers and this cast never learned the lessons from the first movie. There needed to be more fun, more one-liners. Bruce Willis does what he can in the 8 minutes he’s on screen, but he feels tacked on, and even he can’t save this movie in the enjoyment department.
I’ll say it’s a rental, because the action saves it in the end. Even if the last 15 minutes is a toy commercial for hovercrafts, tanks and dune buggies.
I don’t blame you if you don’t know anything about this movie. The world will come to remember it as Stephanie Meyer’s “other book.” There has been very little in the way of promotion or advertising. And the previews looked more like commercials for eye contacts than a movie preview.
The movie starts in the future. Peace-loving aliens have taken over nearly every single human body and want to beautify the Earth. They may be peace-loving but they do everything they can to crush the human resistance. Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) gets caught and they inject her with an alien parasite called “Wanderer.” As they question her regarding the location of humans, the inner voice of Melanie takes over and they/she/huh? run away to the desert where Melanie’s boyfriend, brother and uncle are hiding (not the same person by the way).
So essentially Melanie/Wanderer has multiple personalities and most of the movie is done through voice overs. Because it’s a Stephanie Meyer story, there must be a love triangle. This one involves the inner voice of Melanie and her past boyfriend compared to the Wanderer the alien and a dude that looks like a young Kevin Bacon. There is a lot of sexual repression going on here, and a whole lot of making and punching. Huh? Kinda weird. You can tell that Stephanie Meyer’s fantasy is being desired by two men.
What makes this movie better than your average Twilight is the acting. Ronan can carry a movie. She’s quite good, even though half of the time she sits still and waits for the voices in her head to quit talking. One gripe, her inner voice Melanie is from Louisiana. She has the ability to pick up and drop a southern accent at any time. It gets a little distracting. William Hurt plays the uncle. He is decent, though at times you will mistake him for playing a role meant for Jeff Bridges.
Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) is the the real culprit for this movie’s failure. He both directed and wrote the screenplay. This movie could have worked as a different spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But the pacing is all wrong. There is not one moment of suspense. Even at times when the resistance is found by the Seeker (Diane Kruger), the situation is easily resolved with no tension at all. Also, there are no moments of levity. I’m sure it sucks living underground, but it feels like we’re glimpsing their situation as if they have a case of the Mondays.
Sitting at over 2 hours, this movie crawls slowly. I don’t think younger fans will be able to sit through this movie. There is no payoff for patience here. No climax at all. The movie just happens.
I’ve been wrong before, but I don’t think this will be a fraction as successful as Twilight. I would recommend this only if you’ve read the books and you’re curious. For me, this was cinematic Benadryl. Skip this one.
That makes GI Joe Retaliation the winner of the week. And that makes me sad.