GI Joe: Rise of Cobra was largely considered to be a mess. Despite a critical drubbing, the film managed to make over $300 million in worldwide box office, resulting in the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Paramount overhauled things a bit, maintaining some storylines and keeping some characters, but making some big changes along the way. Surprisingly, this one is a more realistic action flick that manages to be flat out entertaining. Big, loud and over-the-top, Retaliation is good for a couple of hours of entertainment.
The plot is a bit convoluted. The Joes, led by Duke (Channing Tatum) and featuring Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Mouse (Joseph Mazello), and Flint (D.J. Cotrona), are sent to Pakistan by the President (Jonathan Pryce) to retrieve nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it turns out that the President is actually master of disguise, Zartan (Arnold Vosloo, although he has no lines). He uses his position of power to ambush and eliminate the ‘Joe squad. With the help of Cobra enforcer Firefly (Ray Stevenson), Zartan frees Cobra Commander and together they launch a scheme to conquer the world. Needing help, the rest of the Joes join forces with Snake-Eyes (Ray Park) his protégé Jinx (Elodie Yung) and seek out the “original G.I. Joe” General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis).
Director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2&3, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) clearly has love for the G.I. Joe franchise. In terms of characterization, costumes and vehicles, he has done a very good job of capturing the aesthetic of the cartoon series. The visual effects and stunt work are excellent, which is important in a film such as this, where the script is a bit of an afterthought.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is aimed at kids and grown-ups with a desire to relive a piece of their childhoods. The whole thing is almost like a live action video game, with big explosions, set pieces and enough humor to remind viewers that it’s supposed to be fun. If you’re in the mood to watch stuff blow up, give this movie a spin.
G.I. Joe Retaliation is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 35 mbps. The 3D disc has a dual MVC codec at averages of 30/12 mbps. The 3D transfer looks rather light and the black levels aren’t as deep as the 2D offers. Most surprisingly, details are a bit flat and less realistic. Colors aren’t quite as vibrant on the 3D transfer. As for the 3D elements themselves, they were added after the film was completed and they’re okay, but not great. Flying glass, sand, and sparks do appear to extend beyond the limits of the television screen, but nothing particularly memorable abounds.
Paramount’s Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack is top notch. Dynamic from start to finish, the action scenes and their various sound elements are putting you right in the middle of the action. Even the quieter sounds come to life. Nothing is missed. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout.
English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are available.
The following special features are included. Please note that there are 3D exclusives:
- Audio Commentary: Director John M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura deliver a track in which they cover the film’s tone, plot devices, sets and shooting locales, crafting the action scenes, the cast, and more.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:59) Pakistani President Assassinated Interns, and Arlington.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: Mission Briefing (HD, 10:02) A look at the changes Director Jon M. Chu brought to the film, stylistically, shooting in New Orleans, and character and vehicle design.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: Deployment (HD, 8:06) Military Advisor and ex Navy SEAL Harry Humphries prepares the actors to depict skilled military professionals.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: Two Ninjas (HD, 7:34) Building the Dojo set from scratch, training for martial arts fight sequences, and redesigning the Snake Eyes suit.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: The Desert Attack (HD, 8:25) Filming in a 40-acre sand pit near New Orleans and killing off a main character.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: Cobra Strikes (HD, 8:57) A look at the underground prison set, Byung-hun Lee’s character and performance, introducing Firefly, designing Cobra Commander’s look, building the Cobra command center and digital Zartan effects.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: The Lone Soldiers (HD, 7:43) A closer look, casting Bruce Willis and a brief history of G.I. Joe action figures.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: The Monastery (HD, 9:56) Shooting the Storm Shadow-Snake Eyes Monastery fight and all of the action surrounding it, with an extensive look at previz, green screen, and wire work.
- G.I. Joe: Declassified: Fort Sumter (HD, 12:09) Shooting at Fort Pike, making the sequence with the international leaders, and shooting the action sequence that follows.
- DVD Copy.
- UV Copy.