The Cord reviews G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Cristina Almudevar, Arts Editor
Carly Basch, Life Editor
Wade Thompson, Visual Director
Stephanie Truong, Graphics Editor
Despite somehow managing to have the second largest grossing Easter opening ever, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the latest installment in the G.I. Joe franchise, was painful to watch. From Channing Tatum being killed to RZA’s terrible accent, there were few positive moments throughout the film. The Cord Arts panel went through and reviewed the good, the bad and the ugly of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Here are the panel’s thoughts on …
… The opening scene
The general consensus was that the opening scene was extremely weak in terms of setting up the plot and who the characters were. Life Editor Carly Basch said that she “didn’t even think the execution right from the beginning was very good. The opening scene was maybe five minutes long. There was no conflict for them to go through.” Visual Director Wade Thompson echoed this sentiment and added that it was terrible for character introduction.
Instead of allowing the film to naturally set up the characters’ relationships, they defaulted to a cheesy montage of each of character’s picture with a voiceover describing the character’s rank in the army. It was awkward to sit through as it didn’t actually explain all the characters.
… The acting
The acting was one-dimensional and awkward to watch. The movie was filled with embarrassing one-liners like “I guess you never know your neighbours” in relation the scene where Joe (Bruce Willis) showed off his large gun collection.
Really, there were only two good scenes in the entire movie. The first was the prison scene because it was simple — just a classic action prison escape. The second was the nation’s summit towards the end with Jonathan Pryce. Pryce was an extremely strong actor in this movie and was able to really show off his full acting range here.
… The plot
The consensus on the plot was mostly negative, but the panel tried to put a positive spin on things. Arts Editor Cristina Almudevar declared that “it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be. I mean, I didn’t wanna rip out my eyeballs, so that was a big plus.”
The movie felt as though they wrote two separate scripts and then decided to combine them by simply writing one joint ending. It was hard to follow the Storm Shadow/Snake Eye plot and the G.I. Joe plot, so to combine the two plots was a terrible idea.
However, Thompson managed to find a use for the G.I. Joe franchise: terrible action B-movie double feature.
… Duke (Channing Tatum)
Channing Tatum was completely misused. He died 30 minutes after he was prominently shown in the commercials. It was only to draw in audiences and admittedly it worked. Killing Tatum was the worst decision of the movie.
… Roadblock (The Rock)
Despite the rest of the terrible cast, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a shining star in comparison. However, it’s easy to be one of the best actors in the film when your co-star is RZA. Thompson was able to pinpoint the problem with Johnson’s character, however. “Dwayne Johnson is a good action star, he has the personality for it, we’ve seen him in The Rundown. He’s a great person to have in a movie and has shown he can do well. But he was wasted in that they didn’t give him a personality.”
… Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park)
The plot of Storm Shadow versus Snake Eyes was a continuation from the first movie and it continued to be well done. Despite being occasionally confusing at times, it was extremely interesting. While one of the stronger plots, there were still flaws.
Almudevar said “They didn’t make it obvious who was on what side; I spent most of the movie trying to figure out who was the bad guy. I also spent the entire movie thinking Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes were the same person.”
… Flint (D.J. Cotrona)
None of the panel understood the purpose of Flint. Graphics Editor Stephanie Truong summed it up nicely when she bluntly stated that he was good looking. Thompson continued on with Truong’s point ranting, “I hated [Flint]. He was nice to look at—that was it! I mean, really, what purpose did he serve?”
The only plot point Flint could have had was ignored, Almudevar pointed out. She mentioned that “there was an awkward moment when he and Lady Jaye looked like they were possibly going to have sex but then nothing happened. There’s a plot point for him.” The movie easily could have cut Flint and no one would have noticed anything.
… Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki)
Lady Jaye had no purpose other than to be attractive. If someone was to only see her in this movie, they would think that Palicki has no real talent other than possessing bedroom eyes. Some character development was given with the subplot of wishing to outrank her father but this was spotty at best.
… Blind Master (RZA)
What is RZA doing with his life recently? His performance was painful to watch as he tried to play the role of the wise kung-fu master. Instead, the audience hysterically laughed every single time he opened his mouth.