G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D Blu-ray Review
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION might go down as being the best worst movie of 2013. Let me be clear; there are plenty of things to hate about the second G.I. Joe movie and fans of the original cartoon are going to be frustrated, just not nearly as frustrated as they were with G.I. JOE: RISE OF COBRA. For a world ripe with great characters and exciting storylines, it’s irritating that Paramount continues to keep their G.I. Joe franchise limited in scope.
The issue a lot of fans are going to have with G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is the death of Duke (Channing Tatum). Duke dies in the comics and “kind-of” in the 80’s animated movie, so his death shouldn’t be anything to cry about. In fact, the G.I. Joe comics were famous for killing off beloved characters (I cried when they killed off Quick-Kick), so that’s not a new or novel idea. What’s frustrating about Duke’s death is that Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson were the only two characters in either movie that had a good rapport. The first 15 minutes or so that featured The Rock and Tatum were by far the best non Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow moments in either film. Every other character is a throwaway that you wouldn’t mind if their crotch broke (an inside joke for the toy collectors).
But alas, Duke dies along with other nameless Joes and that sparks the G.I. Joe “retaliation” that the title refers to. Zartan is still the President of the United States and has ordered the killing of all the Joes, so Roadblock (The Rock), Lady Jaye ( Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) must get help to unravel the conspiracy and clear the Joe’s names, which comes in the form of Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), the “original Joe”. Bruce Willis adds nothing to the film and it would have been more fun to see Roadblock and the gang go on a recruiting mission to bring in other familiar characters.
The highlight once again comes in the form of Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and the newly added Jinx. Let’s face it; the ninjas were the best part of the comics and they’re still the best part of the movies. Every minute in the movie is just filler until we can get to see some more ninja action and I’d say the second film does a great job of giving us what we want. One of my favorite storylines from the comics was when Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes teamed up and they give us a little of that here. Jinx is a fan favorite, but she wasn’t utilized as much as she should have been. It’s a fine line for the filmmakers as too much focus on the ninjas would be counter-productive but not enough would be frustrating. For the purposes of the second film, I’d say they achieved a pretty good balance.
The comics constantly brought in new characters to sell toys keep the storylines fresh. The second movie does bring in some new characters, but ignoring some of the older characters from the first film was a mistake. I know the first film was pretty bad, but they should have at least addressed what happened to all of the characters it established. Instead, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION “kind of” acknowledges the first film but puts more focus on starting its own thing. It’s tough to have it both ways and I would have liked the second film to clearly address the first and then move on rather than pretend it never happened.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is littered with problems, but at the end of the day, I had a good time with it. It was edited very well and kept everything moving along at a brisk pace. Sure, I don’t know how Firefly could so easily beat Roadblock in a fistfight, but it was fun watching them fight nonetheless. That pretty much sums up the film; it’s a fun, mindless movie that will satisfy your inner-child longing to see your favorite toys on the big screen, but it’s too shallow for you to actually respect it.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION was famously delayed to accommodate the post-conversion 3D process. It’s a decent transfer, but the fact remains that a converted 3D transfer is never as good as a movie shot in 3D. It’s also clear that director Jon M. Chu didn’t shoot the film with 3D in mind, so I’d be hard pressed to recommend investing in the 3D Blu-ray set over the standard 2D set.
Video: Even though the 3D was lackluster, the 2D transfer is beautiful and overall, one of the shiniest movies you’ll see on Blu-ray.
Audio: If you dig the video, you’ll love the great audio in G.I. JOE: RETALIATION.
Commentary with Jon M. Chu and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura: I really wanted more of an explanation of why they only half-heartedly acknowledged the first film, but they kind of gloss over that and focus more on the specifics of the movie. It’s a decent track, but I thought it lacked some of the juicier details I was looking for.
Deleted Scenes (3:58): Again, I was probably hoping for too much here. Some of these tie the ending in with the movie, so if you’re wondering why Roadblock made some of his comments or shot his gun in the air at the end, these will clear that up.
Declassified Mission Briefing (10:01): We get a closer look at the New Orleans set as well as some of the things director Jon M. Chu brought to the sequel.
Declassified Deployment (8:07): A military advisor shows up to prepare the actors for their roles, although I’m not sure this isn’t more insulting to the military than anything. Obviously, there wasn’t a whole lot of real world military action in the film.
Declassified Two Ninjas (7:33): This isn’t what you’re hoping for. Instead, it’s a basic featurette looking at the dojo design and Snake Eyes’ new suit.
Declassified The Desert Attack (8:24): They touch on Duke’s death, but more about what it means to do it in a movie and not what it means to the franchise. The rest of the feature discusses scene-specific details.
Declassified Cobra Strikes (8:58): This whole feature is more about Cobra in general than any specific scene, but it goes through the various Cobra bad guys and discusses their look and motives.
Declassified The Lone Soldiers (7:44): Bruce Willis gets a nod here, as well as some of the older action figures, but this one feels incomplete at under eight minutes long.
Declassified The Monastery (9:54): The monastery battle between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow gets its own featurette. It was one of the better scenes in the film and this is a nice featurete covering some of the specifics.
Declassified Fort Sumter (12:09): The end battle also gets its own featurette. I was less impressed with the climactic battle, so this didn’t do much for me.