G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Apr 4, 2013

Mindless fun for a dull afternoon.

G. I. Joe: Retaliation

Grade: C

Director: John M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets)

Screenplay: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (both Zombieland) Cast: Dwayne Johnson (Snitch), Jonathan Pryce (Evita)

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 110 min

by John DeSando

“Soon the world will bow down to Zeus.”

Yes, that line appears in G. I. Joe: Retaliation and more like it from the writers of the estimable satire, Zombieland. Oh, well, life and writing are not perfect and the mortgage must be paid. This cheesy sequel is pure candy with only a stomach ache as a reminder. It’s so bad, it’s . . . . You get the idea.

While the Joes continue to struggle against mortal enemy Cobra, a new menace in the form of an imposter president is bound to eradicate all the heroes. Unseating the fake pres, returning the real one (Jonathan Pryce plays both perfectly; this franchise should make him the lead toy), and stopping the nuclear annihilation of the earth make a busy 110 minutes for director Jon M. Chu (he directed Step Up movies!), Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Duke (Channing Tatum), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), et al.

“Busy” really with set pieces that do exactly as the previews promise, blow up everything in sight. Except a brilliant piece on the side of a mountain with ninjas rappelling as if in a ballet. It’s a unique action sequence and worth waiting for amidst the formulaic, quick bloodless cuts.

As cheesy and bound to the genre as Joe is, you’ll not be bored. Just wait when the durable original Joe, Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton, takes hold of the screen. His one liners (when asked in the heat of action is he is alright, he responds, “My cholesterol is a little high.”) and his smirk announce the presence of a certifiable star, who continues like these franchises to please audiences if only in the most primitive way.

Oh, yes, another laughable line: “Storm Shadow, tell us Zartan’s plans or die!” It’s all an afternoon’s amusement given these bad lines and the rather impressive CGI that we’ve come to expect from “B” movies.

“Everybody wants to rule the world.”

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel. Contact him at