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Movie Review: Nobody can save G.I. Joe Retaliation from itself

For that entire generation of adults who grew up playing GI Joe action figures, GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra was an opportunity missed in the larger scheme of things, but was harmless fun nevertheless. Still, you’d expect that those suits at the Studio would hear the collective sighs of disappointment of all us fans, and step it up in the remake – make it more fun AND have a coherent story.

Well, the suits heard us alright - they DID step it up, but erm… only literally: They got Jon M. Chu – the director of Step Up 2 and 3D – to direct G.I. Joe: Retaliation. And the fact that Chu’s last movie was a Justin Bieber documentary, should have been hint enough about what this movie would turn out to be. But in spite of this, and in spite of all the early negative reviews, I “stepped in” (it’s *really* hard to stop saying that!) to the theater thinking, “Hey! It’s G.I. Joe! And a Hollywood action movie! How bad could it be?” Below, I list out *exactly* how bad it was:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is SO bad that if you’d given a pencil to a monkey, it probably would have written a better script. It is SO bad that Channing Tatum probably (Spoiler Alert) *begged* the makers to kill off his character in it, just so he’d not have to experience the film being made. It is SO bad that even Marlon Wayans – the dude who starred as a white chick in White Chicks – probably *rejected* this sequel, after starring in the original. It is SO bad that even BRUCE “Yippie Ki Yay” Willis cannot save it (but then again, Bruce Willis could not even save Die Hard 5.)

Courtesy: Facebook

Courtesy: Facebook

The movie is long, boring, unremarkable, clichéd, convoluted and long. There is absolutely no sign of a plot and the story shifts from one random occurrence to another so quick, it makes Twilight look coherent (not that I’ve seen Twilight, of course I haven’t, ahem). The basic idea is that like everyone else, the evil Cobra Commander also wants to rule the world (and there is even an ingenious dialogue that explicitly says so: “Everyone wants to rule the world”). Even before the movie starts, he’s already actioned his plan, and the US President has been kidnapped and replaced by Cobra Commander’s liege, Zartan. The fake US President wants to wage wars, disrupt peace and conquer the world (that doesn’t sound all that fake after all, does it?).

The Joes, who have been framed for killing other Joes, decide to rise up against the Cobras, and trust me, this synopsis is far more entertaining than the movie itself. The Joes here are SO incompetent, and with the exception of Snake Eyes, they screw up SO many times, that you end up feeling more relieved that the Cobras will rule the world instead of these nincompoops.

But the Cobras aren’t the evil geniuses they claim to be: Their plan to take over the world unfolds through possibly the *stupidest* five-minutes in the history of all action movies (and I’m even counting Jaani Dushman – Ek Anokhi Dastaan here). *Spoiler alert* At a conference about nuclear disarmament, Zartan *tricks* - yes, TRICKS – world leaders into firing their NUCLEAR WEAPONS. And then, *tricks* - yes, TRICKS – them into self-destructing the nukes mid air, so the Cobras can then proceed to *destroy* - yes, DESTROY – London completely to prove that they are now the new rulers of the world.

The sound is lame, the background music is lame, the dialogues are laaaame, the action scenes are lame (except for a kickass battle with swords on the mountains – wait for it on YouTube), the editing is among the lamest you’d have seen outside of a home video, the direction is lame, the acting is so lame that the only time you feel bad for the Joes is when you realize some of them survived the attack which killed everyone else.

Except for Dwayne Johnson and well, Adrianne Palicki (because of all the scenes in which she’s looking hot), the casting is lame too – DJ Cotrona (that’s his real name) as Flint is so nondescript that the character of the Indian Prime Minister, in his 15-second role, makes more of an impression. It needs to be said here that Ajay Mehta, who plays that role, does so without an accent, and is hence one of the highlights of the film. And what’s up with RZA playing the blind martial arts master to Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes? RZA? Seriously? That’s like Yo Yo Honey Singh playing the blind kusti guru to Saif Ali Khan in Race 3 or something.

I could go on and on, but I think you’ve got the hint by now. I’m an unabashed fan and over-possessive owner of G.I. Joe action figures, and this film almost ruined my childhood. Don’t buy a ticket or it may just ruin yours too!