Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

March 29, 2013

Tough guys finish last

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:40 pm

March 29, 2013

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Jonathan Pryce, Bruce Willis, Adrienne Palicki, DJ Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee

Director: Jon M Chu

Many believe that hiring Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock, to star in 2011’s Fast Five, was the genius idea that salvaged a flagging franchise. The same trick, however, doesn’t work for GI Joe: Retaliation which, as it turns out, is even more awful than 2009’s disappointing GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra. While you can’t really be surprised by the absence of compelling characters or the lack of emotional depth in the story – given that the GI Joe films are based on a kid’s toy – there’s no excuse why Retaliation is such a dull enterprise, or why it doesn’t even deliver a sense of guilty pleasure.

If only the plot made a smidgen of sense!

A team of super-soldiers or GI Joes led by Duke (Channing Tatum) is framed for the assassination of the Pakistani President. They’re attacked, left for dead, and branded enemies of the state by master-of-disguise Zartan who’s assumed the identity of the US President (Jonathan Pryce).

Conspiring with ruthless terrorist organization Cobra, Zartan instigates a diabolical plan involving all the world’s leaders and an international nuclear summit.

It’s now left to a trio of surviving Joes (Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki and DJ Cotrona) who enlist the help of a retired soldier (Bruce Willis) in their mission to stop Zartan before he goes too far.

They must also make peace with a masked ninja called Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), whose role in this confusing script is one of many things that’s hard to follow.

More confusing than Kangana Ranaut’s accent, the film’s storyline is a convoluted mess, and the dialogues are appallingly lazy even by action-movie standards. This dense script nevertheless manages to pack in wall-to-wall fight sequences that are surprisingly underwhelming because director Jon M Chu never stops to show us the repercussions of the violence. So people are stabbed, chopped, sliced, and shot but I can’t remember seeing any blood whatsoever.

The actors are on autopilot mode, failing to rise above the ridiculous material. Dwayne Johnson, ever the likeable presence, appears trapped under the weight of this incoherent script.

The only bit worth watching is a breathtaking set-piece in the snowy Himalayas in which Snake Eyes and Jinx must face off against a bunch of ninjas. This sequence, involving cable chases and scaling the sides of mountains, lasts about six minutes and looks incredibly thrilling in 3D.

GI Joe: Retaliation feels way longer than its running time. It’s an exercise in futility; a film that has no business existing in the first place. I’m going with one out of five. Stay home and take a nap instead.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. agree with you. I went to see that movie just now, that too on IMAX which cost me 2 days of my meal and it was a waste of my money! except for that amazing scene at the himalaya’s everything was just blehhhhh

    Comment by radhiah — March 29, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  2. Must watch it for Dwayne da only 🙂

    Comment by s — March 29, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

  3. Sir, the movie was a huge improvement over ‘Rise of Cobra’. If ‘Olympus has fallen’ deserves 3 stars, this one deserves 3.5! Story and screenplay of course could have been much better however, considering the fact that the production team was trying to make up for the mess the previous movie made, they did a pretty decent job. Retaliation borrows heavily from the animated series and comics and that is the biggest plus point of the movie. For the fans of the original franchise there were a lot of treats. Roadblock for the first time was given a lead role and Dwayne Johnson did a great job. Firefly was the surprise package as a competent Cobra ally, and few easter eggs like Major Bludd’s tease can be seen. The “Arashikage” storyline was given the well deserved screen time but that is also where major lags existed. I recommend the G.I . Joe fans to watch it, its a pretty decent live-action version of characters we love. And yes, the 3-D, it worked in places; can’t complain about the post conversion in this one. Deserved 2.5 Stars. I think Rajeev ji, you watched Himmatwala before G.I. Joe and it kind of ruined your judgement 🙂

    Comment by Romil — March 29, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

  4. That potshot on Kangana was uncalled for.. 😛

    Comment by Sajin Anand — March 30, 2013 @ 12:08 am

  5. while everyone’s must have an opinion. . . you called GI JOE a kids’ toy!!! thats shows the level of your understanding about GI Joe

    Comment by vinodh — March 30, 2013 @ 12:26 am

  6. “more confusing than kangana ranauts accent” ?? I am not exactly a fan of the actor…but comparing her accent and the storyline is inane! Its surprising to see this in a Rajev masand review…but two hopeless movies on a friday must have a taken a toll on mr.masand….take a break sir!:)

    Comment by Nits89 — March 30, 2013 @ 2:58 am

  7. thanks for ur review sir i have no excatation wid this movie at all after seen first one & once again u prove me right

    Comment by rahul — March 30, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  8. ooo teri, i thought GI JOE: REATILATION will estblish a huge records in the 1st Q of the yrs. too start. i was planning tooo see in IMAX 3D. Bt now going too think twice before spending money on it….. :((

    Comment by mohit — March 30, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

  9. Totally agree with u, I wasted my 10 euros watching this -_-

    Comment by Simo — March 30, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  10. sorry dissapointed but rock rocksssssss

    Comment by sahil siddiqui(kackoo) — March 30, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

  11. Here’s a list of things more confusing than Kangana Ranaut’s accent:

    – (NONE)

    Comment by mydyingbride23 — March 31, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

  12. I disagree with this review. minimum 3 from my view

    Comment by jd — April 2, 2013 @ 12:23 am

  13. but GI Joe: Retaliation is a decent movie…yes it has sum faults …but visually its awsum

    Comment by myth — April 4, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  14. in the end you suggest to take a nap ,thats exactly what i did during the movie

    Comment by sankz — April 5, 2013 @ 12:39 am

  15. Must Watch movie..Above review is not appropriate

    Comment by Brijesh — April 9, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  16. We have seen lara croft it was not very criticly aclaim too……….but movies like this are made for fun its not for critics and better than any bollywood movie not to forget.

    Comment by NIVED — August 12, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

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