G.I. Joe Retaliation (Rated PG-13)05-08-13-gi-joe.gif

The cartoons were fun, violent and nonsensical. Unfortunately, G.I. Joe: Retaliation (110 minutes) doesn’t manage to capture any of that magic. It does resemble a cartoon in several ways, though. The char-acters are flat stereotypes, the bad guys are completely one-note, and after about 30 minutes it’s time to change the channel. If only I had the option to change the channel!

There is an in-troduction that has very little to do with the rest of the movie. The GIs are violating the Korean demilitarized zone to rescue a defec-tor. But then they find something has changed. Like there is a flag, but it’s not the North Korean flag or something? I was watching very closely, and I still don’t under-stand why the flag was significant. It wasn’t a Cobra flag, but it makes Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) end the scene with some inappropriate language. Then, there are opening credits done in a trading card style. The vital stats of various Cobras and Joes are flashed across the screen with helpful pics and exposition re-garding what they have been doing since the 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Even though it is now 2013 and I can’t remember anything about the first movie, this introduc-tion isn’t the slightest bit helpful, since it is just a series of names and descriptions overlapping each other. Also, it is mumbled.

After the rogue’s gallery, we zoom in on Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) pre-tending to be the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). Apparently Fake President has been more or less behaving himself while also blowing stuff up and keeping the Real POTUS in some kind of abandoned fallout shelter to taunt and torture at will. This is all part of a grand plan that includes getting the Real POTUS to tell Zartan where Destro and the Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) are being held. The timeline here is sort of screwy. The dialogue implies that Destro and the Cobra Commander have been in this secret prison for at least a few weeks, so what took Zartan so long to ask the Real POTUS where they were?

Once Zartan has the information, he sends Firefly (Ray Stevenson) to wipe out the GIs. He manages to get most of them, but Roadblock, Flint (DJ Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) survive. They set off through the desert and find an isolated landing field and make plans to sneak aboard a plane and get back to the USA. If you were expecting an excit-ing scene where they infiltrate the airbase and steal a plane while shooting up a bunch of bad guys, prepare for disap-pointment, since the scene shifts from the three surviving Joes making plans to them walking down the middle of an American street. Boring.

Meanwhile, Snake Eyes (Ray Park) was apparently captured by the military and taken to the secret prison. However, he did not get a trial and was not searched to the ex-tent that anyone took off his mask. And then, when he gets to the secret prison it turns out that the warden (Walton Goggins) is more concerned about speechifying than securing the weapons of his prisoner. And when he finds out the prisoner is not Snake Eyes, but Storm Shadow (Byung-Hun Lee), he figures one prisoner is as good as the next and preps him for a high tech form of solitary confinement.

Overall, the only fun thing about this bloated and overwrought at-tempt at a popcorn movie is watch-ing the actors try to maintain a straight face as they utter such win-ning lines as “Get me the G.I. Joes!” The actors were simply not up to the challenge of saying that without sounding like 10-year-old boys. Also Bruce Willis is there, credited as The Original G.I. Joe, but actually play-ing his character from RED.

Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

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