Film review | G.I. Joe: Retaliation – Daft toys for boys and spectacular action, man!

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION - Channing Tatum as Duke & Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock

Furiously loud and even more furiously dumb, G.I. Joe: Retaliation proudly flaunts the spectacular daftness we’ve come to expect from action movies based on toys and games.

There’s a new director in charge for this sequel – Jon M Chu replacing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra helmer Stephen Sommers – but we immediately know we’re in safe hands when the opening scene sees a gung-ho team of elite soldiers, the GI Joes of the title, conducting the stupidest stealth mission ever.

They’re infiltrating North Korea on a rescue sortie but obligingly tip off the border guards to their presence with a spot of snazzy sharpshooting that ensures the opposing team gets to play too.

Back on home soil, Channing Tatum’s Duke and Dwayne Johnson’s Roadblock indulge in a couple of scenes of bromantic banter to establish that the GI Joes are, well, ordinary joes. Further episodes of gunfire, explosions and muscular derring-do swiftly follow. When the dust settles, it’s possible to make out the semblance of a plot.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION - Adrianne Palicki plays Lady Jaye and Bruce Willis plays Colton

An evil impostor from terrorist group Cobra has replaced the US president (Jonathan Pryce) and it’s only a handful of GI Joes – Roadblock, Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (DJ Cotrona) – who can prevent nuclear Armageddon. Bruce Willis pops up to help. The original Joe, he emerges from retirement with his armour-plated smirk and an arsenal of weapons that would out-gun a small country.

Most of the ensuing action is routine, but in the middle of the movie there is one scene that is truly jaw dropping. GI Joes Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung from District 13: Ultimatum) abduct renegade Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) from a Himalayan cliff-top monastery and zing and ping down the mountain on zip lines while fighting off hordes of red-suited ninja warriors.

The sequence is bonkers and exhilarating. And if you’re watching in 3D, you’ll spend half the time ducking in your seat as yet another chunk of rock or hurtling body whizzes towards you. The filmmakers are clearly chuffed with the scene, so chuffed they even give it a round of applause, cutting the instant the action wraps to the clapping that greets a presidential speech. You’ll probably want to clap too.

In cinemas from Wednesday 27th March.


To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.