Ninja, please.

Theatrical Release Date: 03/28/2013
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Jonathan Pryce, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Stevenson, Bruce Willis, Elodie Yung, Channing Tatum, Ray Park, RZA
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language.
Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes


What am I doing here?

Those familiar with the G.I. Joe cartoon know their famous rallying cry of “Yo Joe!” and those who suffer through the newly released G.I. Joe: Retaliation might want to change that to “No Joe!” instead. Hmmm … that’s kinda weak.

Wait, wait, I have another one. So it’s called G.I. Joe: Retaliation, right? More like G.I. Joe: Retaliation against the Audience! Hmm … that’s one pretty weak too.

How about, if knowing is half the battle, going to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation is all stupid! Meh, I’m out of ideas.

It must be painfully obvious by now that this isn’t going to be a glowing review. Few people ever said that the first movie could be classified as anything remotely close to “good” and here we are, with a sequel few people seemed to ask for and another disappointing action movie in 2013.

As it stands, only Olympus Has Fallen managed to make its bang worth the buck and audiences have suffered through The Last Stand, ignored the surprisingly decent Bullet to the Head, and thankfully A Good Day to Die Hard will end up being the lowest Domestic grossing film of the series (Go America!) which is appropriate since it’s easily the worst of the franchise. So far, it’s just not a great year to be an action junkie.

Director Jon M. Chu has been making Step Up sequels and the Justin Bieber documentary so what possessed producers to give him the reins of a big budget explosion-fest is beyond me. The action is shot in possibly the worst possible manner 95% of the time, usually far too close and edited together by hyperactive interns. Obviously you need to hide the inability of certain cast members to pull off the physicality needed in their roles but this wasn’t the way to do it; rather than get amped by any of the action, I was bored awaiting the inevitable conclusion to each scene.

Of course, there are also the problems inherent in postponing the release of this movie from last summer until now. They did two things with that extra time, shot a bit more stuff with Channing Tatum and converted the movie to 3D. Well, the 3D is awful … AWFUL. There seriously needs to be some Congressional edict that movies can only be released in 3D if they are SHOT in 3D. All of this conversion non-sense is irritating at best.

Then there’s the extra Tatumness of it all. I’ve got to be slightly careful here to avoid spoilers but considering the scenes he’s in, I’m not sure what wasn’t there to begin with. And in any case, the most painful part of this entire review is going to be this next sentence: The movie gets WORSE when Tatum isn’t there. His camaraderie with The Rock is probably the best thing going for the project. Watching 21 Jump Street and now this, it’s apparent that what makes Tatum work on-screen is having a best buddy to pal around with. In every other movie where he’s front and center and/or just trying to get the girl, it’s excruciating.

Moving on, sure they’ve got The Rock. You love The Rock. I love the Rock. But man, oh man, I wish there was something more to his one-dimensional character. To that end, I wish there was more to everyone’s one-dimensional characters. This has to be one of the worst scripts of the year and at no point did it ever show signs of intelligence or that it might get better as things went along. Short of a few fun jabs at North Korea and the buddy-buddy of Rock/Tatum, there’s less life in this script than there is fun in watching it all play out.

If I had the inclination or enthusiasm I could start ripping apart individual scenes or focus on which elements failed miserably (like what the hell RZA was doing in this film because it sure wasn’t “acting”?; Could they objectify Adrianne Palicki any more?; What happened to every other Joe from the first film not named Duke?) but really all that you need to know is that this is an action film that doesn’t know how to present most of the action.

The first movie, as terrible and cheesy as it is, is almost infinitely more entertaining than this and short of Bruce Willis’ other movie this year, this is the worst of the 2013 action films. I couldn’t recommend seeing this any less and realized very quickly that choosing between this and The Host (screening on the same night in San Diego), I chose wrong … very, very wrong. Without even seeing it, or reading any reviews, and being fully aware that Stephanie “Twilight” Meyer wrote the book, I’m still going to say that it’s got to be better than this.

G.I. No!

Hey, that was pretty good! … Well, it was better … Oh, never mind.

1.5 out of 53D No