A.C. at the Movies


GI Joe – Retaliation:

Mindless and awful


This movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language

I’m a longtime advocate of mindless popcorn films that can entertain despite the fact that there’s not much to them.  The first GI Joe movie fell under this category for me.  It was dumb, sure, but it was fun and had some neat action sequences.  For the sequel, things took a nosedive.  Instead of the mindless good time, this movie is more like slamming your head into a brick wall.  It’s mindless in all the worst ways, from the disjointed plot, the erratic scene changes, the AWFUL characters’ performances (yes, it deserves to be capitalized), and pretty much everything else bad you can imagine.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes over as the main character this time around, and first film star Channing Tatum only sticks around for the first ten minutes of the film.  Hollywood seems to believe we all want to see The Rock in every movie, but the truth is, he’s only good in small doses.  While he can shine in the perfect role, I’m finding him to be tedious in most of his recent films.  He may be a modern day Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the movies he’s making aren’t any good at all.  Sure, Schwarzenegger was always an awful actor, but at least he found his way into inspired action films.

Laying all the blame for the badness on The Rock isn’t even remotely fair, however.  Pretty much everyone who shows up on screen is just so bad.  Bruce Willis’ guest role is too dumb for words.  Once again, Willis looks bored and braindead as he mumbles his way through the role.  Why Willis continues to act when he seems to hate doing it so much is beyond me, but he’s another actor that has been downright awful lately.

The rest of the cast is predictably dumb.  Adrianne Palicki is a great actress, but her cleavage gets more screen time than she does here.  There’s even a scene where she talks about the woes of being a female soldier, all while stripping down to her bra and panties.  Maybe the filmmakers thought it was a chance to hit both the male and female demographics at the same time, but all they did was insult anyone with half a brain and waste the talents of a great young actress that could’ve helped elevate a film that desperately needed elevating.

You’d think that the action sequences could at least make this film a little bit enjoyable, but it just never happens.  The combat is just too predictable and repetitive to ever really thrill.  Even a unique cliffside ninja battle ends up being dragged out and annoying instead of something you want to go home and tell all of your friends about.

It’s not hard to make movies like this enjoyable, which is why it’s so disappointing when they fail miserably.  GI Joe: Retaliation didn’t have to do anything special, it just had to try a little bit.  That’s all it would’ve taken for this movie to be successful.  Instead, it’s a bunch of goofy characters being performed badly, a bunch of thoughtless and predictable action sequences, and a ragged, slapped together plot that makes little sense in most places and is flat out dumb when it does make sense.

This Weekend at the Theater

  Only two new movies will be hitting theaters this weekend.  First up is Evil Dead, a remake of the cult classic horror film by Sam Raimi.  This remake had the blessing of the original filmmakers, but looks to take a much more modern and serious approach to the “cabin in the woods” horror sub-genre than the original did.  Horror fans will likely flock to this one, but it’s hard to say if that will translate into box office success.  evil_dead_2013c

The other new release is Jurassic Park 3D.  Following up on a new trend, this is a re-release of the beloved classic with 3D special effects added in.  It will likely make a lot of money, as this is one of the best loved films of all time.