Netflix film review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation
The Rock’s Sweatiness9
Bruce Willis’s Enthusiasm1
Jonathan Pryce’s Hamminess2
James Butlin | On 06, Nov 2013Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Walton Goggins, Ray Stevenson
Watch online: Netflix UK
Good news: G.I. Joe: Retaliation is superior to Stephen Sommers’ original. Bad news: It’s not by much. More good news: It has a lot to do with ninjas and The Rock.
This time around, the shape-shifting Jonathan Pryce has assumed position as the President of the United States of America and has ordered the elimination of the ‘Joes’ to allow Cobra’s plan of world domination to come to fruition. It’s then up to the Joes, led by Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), to discover who has ordered the hit on them and bring them down – all on the hush-hush, as they are now wanted fugitives.
Ham and cheese are delicious culinary bedfellows, but in this case, there’s just a little too much. After powering up the Fast and Furious franchise, Johnson has proven that he has very strong action credentials. He tries his utmost to carry this sequel, but he’s supported by a couple of pieces of eye-candy, who have nothing interesting to offer in terms of characterisation.
Jonathan Pryce and Ray Stevenson provide the primary villainy, both over-acting so much that they’d have been better placed on a butcher’s counter. Pryce even delivers the bizarre line: “I’m the quicker blower-upper, baby.”
Bruce Willis and a couple of ninjas round off the key characters (Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes), with the latter pair providing the most fun action sequences in the film. Bruce, meanwhile, just stands around being a bit moody and fed up with his chosen profession.
Director Jon M. Chu only has a slew of films of note under his belt, Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never being the most high-profile, but he directs the action scenes with aplomb; a mountainside ninja fight that was a key feature in the trailer is the best of the bunch.
Overall, though, a couple of strong action sequences and Dwayne Johnson’s tireless efforts don’t quite pull G.I. Joe: Retaliation around to be anything better than a straight-to-DVD effort.