The first G.I. Joe movie RISE OF THE COBRA was panned. I re-watched it recently and it’s not a fantastic action movie, but it’s fun and action packed and stars the engaging Channing Tatum. But it was such a flop, Hasbro needed not just a sequel, but a reboot. Enter G.I. JOE: RETALIATION. It’s kind of odd, because it is a reboot, but it is also a sequel. It picks up in the months after an impostor takes over as President of the United States. Most of the original cast is gone except for Tatum (more on that in a moment), Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo and Byung-hun Lee. So it’s kind of disjointed because most of the familiar characters are gone, yet the storyline progresses as if they are still there which they aren’t. There’s nothing much “new” here. Stereotypical set pieces. The mandatory ninja fighting. Guns, explosions, threats of nuclear annihilation. While the action is well shot and interesting to watch, it’s fairly drama-less. Even when the Joe’s are nearly wiped out by Cobra early in the movie, there is no sense of dread or sorrow. We don’t really know these guys so why exactly should we be sad they are dead? SPOILER ALERT: This is where they kill off one of the only familiar characters. Tatum is wiped out in the attack. I guess he didn’t even want to be around for the rest of this. Dwayne Johnson is solid. Adrienne Palicki is smokin’ hot. Walton Goggins is great as a prison warden (even with his limited material). And Bruce Willis just shows up, drops a few “funny” lines and doesn’t bring much more to the party. It’s not necessarily bad. It might be just a hair better than the original. So enjoy it for what it is and don’t hate it for what it isn’t. And pray they aren’t planning a third movie. — Alan Yudman

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