It’s pretty hard to work out what’s gone wrong with GI Joe: Retaliation.
Obviously the first GI Joe wasn’t exactly Full Metal Jacket, but it was entertaining enough, and this one had all the ingredients to take off from there and be a blistering popcorn romp.
Alas, it isn’t. It’s a mess, which was to be expected, but there are quite a few parts where nodding off seems preferable, which shouldn’t happen with a movie like this.
For a start, the acting is largely bloody awful. Lady Jane’s best moment is delivering a sleepy sounding monologue about her dead misogynist Dad in her underwear, whilst the other guy Flint (whose actor makes Channing Tatum seem as captivating as Brian Blessed) pulls a permanent duckface throughout the movie and does nothing else. Bruce Willis is crap too, phoning it in as a bored old super soldier. RZA as Blind Master is borderline cringe-worthy, but at least he hams up appropriately.
The direction is dreadful. Action scenes are juddering and hard to follow, shaking cameras causing far too much hassle on the eyes. Even big time set pieces seem lethargic. Even worse is the dialogue, flitting as it does between heinous one liners and ham-fisted emoting.
It isn’t completely without merit though. Jonathan Pryce clearly has a lot of fun and gets the only good lines in the movie, smarmily making jokes about North Korea and waterboarding. Actually Jonathan Pryce is probably the reason this film isn’t floundering with a solitary star.
The Rock is always good value too, stretching his acting capabilities to even greater climes (he pretends to be upset in one scene. It’s ACTING). They can’t salvage the movie though.
However (spoiler alert), charisma vacuum Channing Tatum’s character gets blown up early on, which is greatly cathartic for anyone that’s ever had to suffer through any of the Step Up films.