It’s amazing how many good movies produced this year have been relegated to sub-par status, while others that shouldn’t be given a glance are given zenith status as great pieces of work, art, and other such pop-cultural sub-standard excrescences achieve more than their worth in fool’s gold. One such picture – I’m sorry – movie, that audiences will endure a release of, either glorifyingly, or harshly, is G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the new brawn packed action farce from Paramount Pictures.
Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and with appearances by Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum, the film offers no social commentary, consists of nothing remotely engaging (I tended to doze off on even the action scenes), and pities itself with egregious CGI 3-D effects that disappear mid-air depending on where one sits in the audience. There is no basis for being an audience member, because the effects are so jarring, that the viewer will not be able to involve itself to anything worth sitting for an hour and forty minutes for (which trust me, there wouldn’t be anyway.) But that’s not the half of the film’s problems. The real problem stems from lack of plot. More like no plot.
The film is supposed to be a sequel, or rather, a continuation of the original G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, but even by today’s standards, the filmmakers weren’t trying to mark any new ground. All we get is one action sequence after another. Even James Cameron knows you need a through-line of plot device to make these kinds of movies work, but director Jon M. Chu doesn’t have enough respect for the audience to even give them that. Instead, we are mindlessly treated to fast shots of punches being thrown, with no idea who is throwing them, why, or if we should care. Seriously. We only know one thing. The good guys will always win. Never a good sign when you go to the movies to know how they end, with no conscious minding of what it will take to get there. Don’t waste your money, my friends!
Still, more muscular contractions ache this bastard of a performer. Those involved knew this was just a paycheck – examine the evidence; Dennis Quaid did not return, and subsequently they need Bruce Willis to carry the big name legacy. Channing Tatum has his screen time terminally reduced, not a great sign because most audiences will probably be wanting to see the film solely for his performance. The writer was clearly hired to write a how-to on perfecting scripts for CGI based stories. This wouldn’t be such an insult to film purists and enthusiasts alike if it wasn’t such a dreary waste of time and money. There is nothing there in terms of story or structure. The movie starts, and it’s action scenes strung together with no link. Then you leave.
I would disclose such a plot to entice what viewers may challenge the notion of wasting their money if such a plot existed! It’s a disgusting practice of show-off acrobatics by computer geniuses that would be better suited decrypting or ciphering codes left behind from the Zodiac Killer or the Unabomber! This is not why we go to the movies. We go to be entertained, and I predict that many an audience member be robbed of their hard earned cash in this recession, and by such standards and caused an equal recession in film quality! Honestly, there has to be a better place for films in today being tomorrow’s history, than this!
An early release for such a seemingly summer blockbuster – it’s obvious Paramount wants to get this one out of the way, so they don’t have to worry about a summer release tanking to the bottom of the swimming pool (a place where the pre-teens normally disposed to this mendicant tar would be better off spending the day.) It’s futile to promote a product without any real integrity, or so I thought. Amazing what a little muscle can do. It’s already seen some couple million smackers (across the face!) for it’s previews and advance releases, but when it all comes down, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is one hunk of movie that holds a strong PR campaign in it’s biceps, but can’t think for itself, and never latches on to the timeless fact that the real strength of a movie lies in it’s story and it’s characters, both factors of the machine that are simultaneously weak.
1 star out of 4 (if that!)
Watch the CGI, I mean trailer, here.