We also talk briefly about our screening this Saturday night of Air Guitar Nation at the Alamo Drafthouse, featuring an amazing Video Aireoke after-party!
G.I. Joe: Retaliation had a troubled road to becoming the perfectly bland and fairly offensive formula action flick that premieres in multiplexes today.
The first bad omen for G.I. Joe: Retaliation was during filming in 2011, when a crew member died in an accident while changing out a set. Then, after a big, expensive 2012 Super Bowl commercial and being slated for release in June of last year, the movie was delayed until 2013, supposedly for a 3-D conversion. Behind the scenes, there were numerous reshoots because, in part, despite casting Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis (in a very minor role) to beef up its starpower, directorJon M. Chu needed more scenes with co-star Channing Tatum, who is hotter than Hansel right now. (He’s still barely in it.)
The result is about as discombobulated as you might expect. It’s obvious Chu has an affinity for the Hasbro toy line and cartoons, because he tries to cram as many “characters” into the movie as possible. Members of the elite G.I. Joe force and evil Cobra terrorist organization traverse the globe playing cat and mouse with each other, but it increasingly feels like they’re just spinning their wheels in action scenes with very little actually at stake. Most of the fighting is pretty generic, with the exception of one high-flying set piece with ninjas on wires that takes place on the side of a cliff.
By the time Willis shows up as the grandfather of all G.I. Joes (and very possibly the progenitor of most modern dumb action flicks), it’s a particularly desperate move — especially since all his one-liners land with a thud.
I was prepared for the expected amount of flag-waving nonsense in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” but one sequence with a Cobra member posing as the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) is so offensive, it seems like it was an outtake from Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America: World Police. There are a lot of bad choices in this mish-mash of gun-toting, faux patriotic sentiment, and very little in the way of engaging fun.
By the way, if you still feel compelled to check this movie out for some reason (the studio is banking on the nostalgia factor), don’t bother seeing it in 3-D. The upconvert wasn’t worth the wait.