GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
was a ridiculous movie, equally ridiculously executed. GI Joe Part II: Retaliation, though no less ridiculous than its predecessor, saves face by giving you wholesome, bombastic fun, at no extra cost to your mind.
From the moment it begins, to the closing of curtains, GI Joe: Retaliation is the embodiment of every '90s kid's wildest fantasies, enacted by him with those dainty little GI Joe "action figures" that you'll find hanging out in the farther recesses of your memory.
And, just like in those childhood games, GI Joe: Retaliation completely ignores credibility in favour of fantastically-large scenarios that allow for action so big, its relative sanitariness (read: a near-complete lack of bloodshed) hardly takes away from your enjoyment.
And so, you have wild plots of world domination, a handful of heroes left to fend for themselves, ninjas, and an extraordinary number of guns, all the prerequisites of mindless summer fun, everything that was there in the prequel, but minus the awful screenplay and the laughable CGI.
The wafer-thin plot that supports the mayhem will leave anyone not familiar with cartoon series, or the toys, or the previous movie, scratching their heads. Basically, though, it's this. A guy called Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) has gotten himself a high-tech President of the USA costume, kidnapped the Prez (Jonathan Pryce), bombed the elite military team GI Joe's base in Pakistan, and has them declared traitors. Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), and Flint (D J Cotrona), are the only survivors.
With the help of Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Jinx (Elodie Yung), and the Original Joe, aka General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis), our heroes must vanquish a plot by the evil Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey, voice by Robert Baker) to eliminate the whole world's stash of nuclear power so he can take over the world.
There. Do you think 9-year-old you can beat that?
Some of the most awe-inspiring moments in the film are also those that contribute not in the least bit to the plot. Like a sugar binge after a crash diet, the movie is almost entirely made up of unrelated, but gorgeous to behold, action sequences. One such sequence is played out amid mountains, involving ninjas slashing at each other as they swing from cliffs across the majestically snow-capped range, ran to a hushed audience that broke out into an applause as soon as it was done.
Let your eyes do the thinking for you. Because the moment you let your mind off of its leash, you'll start thinking about the "story", and how the Joes managed to figure out that the President was an impostor by comparing the position of his fingers during two different conferences.
Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum do there bit with flexing muscles and looking tough and making wise-cracks, but Ray Park as Snake Eyes, and Jonathan Pryce as the President, are the only two of the cast who get to do anything closely resembling acting.
The star, of course, is the action. It is big, it is loud, and, most of all, it is just plain FUN.
Watch this one for the big guns, the ninjas, and for little electronic fireflies that cause giant-sized explosions.