One star. Rating: PG-13, for nonstop violence and occasional profanity
By Derrick Bang
This sorry excuse for a movie is for folks who find the Transformer series too intellectually stimulating.
Honestly, even in the realm of dumb fluff, this new GI Joe entry is impressively pathetic. Rarely has so much money been squandered, to such little effect.
I’m surprised Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were brave enough to admit writing this dreck. The proverbial 10 chimpanzees with typewriters could have created something better. A random episode of the kid-oriented Power Rangers TV series has more dramatic heft.
Basing a movie series on a toy line does not, of necessity, require all concerned to fashion the result for undiscerning 5-year-olds. Any set of characters can be made captivating; indeed, Reese and Wernick have the advantage here of some established archetypes, just waiting for a bit of back-story.
But, clearly, that would have been asking too much. Instead, we labor through flimsy expository scenes and battle sequences that appear to have been assembled at random. I’ve no doubt, if director Jon M. Chu had simply tossed the script pages into the air and filmed them as they fell, that the result would have made more sense.
What we have, in fact, displays the dumb plotting, wooden acting and lunatic dialogue that grace afternoon TV soap operas, stitched Frankenstein-style to an A-production budget that delivers plenty of golly-gee-wow special effects.
Actually, GI Joe: Retaliation is nothing but special effects. This isn’t a movie; it’s a video game. And one that’s thuddingly predictable and insufferably boring, at that.
This isn’t even bad enough to be campy fun; it’s merely bad. When an actor of Jonathan Pryce’s stature, playing the U.S. president, is forced to utter corn-pone dialogue such as “Send in the Joes!” — and do it with a straight face — we know the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
This is one of those narratives that repeatedly has the actors tell us what their characters are doing, or about to do, or have done ... because, otherwise, it would be impossible to make sense of anything.