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I have a terrible confession to make: I missed the first
G.I. Joe movie four years ago. That means I can’t compare the details and
nuances of that screenplay and the new release,
G.I. Joe: Retaliation. But I can still review it.

The needlessly complicated storyline involves Our Heroes
being ambushed while on a dangerous mission in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Dwayne
Johnson, D.J. Cotona, and Adrienne Palicki have to find a way back home and
figure out what powerful figure in our government could be responsible for such
sabotage. Odds are it’s arch-villain Zartan, who is masquerading as the
President of the United States (played, as he was in the first film, by
Jonathan Pryce, who seems to relish his moments of villainy).

The lone woman on the G.I. Joe team explains that she
enlisted to prove herself to her father, a career military man. The way she
proves herself in this story is to serve as a sexy lure for unsuspecting males;
so much for providing a role model for girls who might chance to see the

Meanwhile, characters with names like Storm Shadow and Snake
Eyes square off against each other in a series of extreme action set-pieces.

I don’t pretend to understand all of this, or care all that
much. There’s a decent attempt to humanize the characters and make them more
than mere fighting machines…but there are also potholes in the logic of the
screenplay, by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

In the end, however, I suspect director Jon M. Chu knows
that what this movie’s target audience wants is action and lots of it; that’s
what he delivers.

After a while my brain went numb and all I could think about
was when it would be over, and I could take off my 3-D glasses and go home. I
often have that problem with movies based on Hasbro toys. But then, I’m not an
11-year-old boy.


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