G.I. Joe

Nathan Fisher

Illustration by Tyler Schuh
Illustration by Tyler Schuh

Remember playing with the cool Hasbro G.I. Joe action figures for hours at a time? Of course: great memories! Remember in 2009 when our toy soldiers made their big-screen debut in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”? Painfully, yes: bad memories. This week the Joes resurface in their newest installment, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” Unfortunately, “Retaliation” barely surpassed the very, VERY low bar set by its predecessor.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” follows America’s alpha dog elite fighting force––armed with insane gadgets, guns and swords––around the world as they fight the evil guys and flying ninjas. But wait, enemies are lurking within our homeland. As hinted at the end of “The Rise of Cobra,” Zartan, one of the Joes’ enemies, captures and then impersonates the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). The Joes are framed for stealing nuclear weapons from Pakistan, and then suffer huge casualties when they are ambushed.

Channing Tatum briefly reprises his role as Duke, the leader of the Joes. Duke’s number two man, Roadblock (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), takes over to lead the remaining Joes in their mission––RETALIATION! The movie has an endless supply of bad guys including the Joes’ worst enemy, Cobra Commander, who escapes from a German prison miles underground. The subplots are so numerous that a flowchart is required to keep track of who’s who as the Joes kick ass and fight to restore world order.

As “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” spins out of control, Bruce Willis, playing General Joe, is inserted to try and save the day and the movie. Willis shows the guns, ammo and grenades that he has hidden in every cushion and crevice in his house and seems to have fun with his small part. Unfortunately it’s too little, too late when he finally gets a piece of the action.

Even with the cool explosions, nonstop violence, the added female Joes and the occasional humorous banter, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” was a dud and fell flat. Supposedly, the release of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” was delayed almost a year to add 3D effects. Do we really need to see The Rock’s pecs burst out of the screen? I think not. G.I. Joes should bid adieu to the big screen and return to the playroom and sandbox.