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G.I. Joe: Retaliation Blu-ray + DVD Review

Reviewed by on Jul 30, 2013
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the actioner G.I. Joe: Retaliation now available on blu-ray and DVD!

By: Lynn Barker

The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and Bruce, “Die Hard” Willis get added to the G.I. Joe team. Uh, do you think there will be some serious, kick-butt action in this sequel?

Dwayne The Rock Johnson as RoadblockDwayne The Rock Johnson as Roadblock

Story Goes

The G.I. Joes, a special ops group, are framed for stealing nuclear warheads from Pakistan by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) who can shapeshift and is impersonating the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). The bad guys try to eliminate the entire team in a desert military strike and team leader Duke (Channing Tatum) is one of the casualties. Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) manage to survive.

Channing and Dwayne break into a compoundChanning and Dwayne break into a compound

Meanwhile, Baddies Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and ex-G.I. Joe Firefly (Ray Stevenson) rescue Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) from a high tech, deep underground prison in Germany. Storm Shadow is injured during the escape and goes to a temple in the Himalayas for healing. The Blind Master (RZA), ninja clan leader, sends Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his apprentice Jinx (Elodie Yung) to capture Storm Shadow so he can answer for the murder of his uncle, the Hard Master.

Cobra Commander (left) and his armyCobra Commander (left) and his army

Remaining “Joes” Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye hide and set up their HQ in an old gym in Roadblock’s childhood neighborhood. After Zartan, in his guise as the President, announces that Cobra will replace the Joes as America's main protective unit, Lady Jaye figures out that he really isn’t the President and, needing weapons and help, Roadblock takes the team to General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis), who joins them.

Adrianne Palicki as Lady JayeAdrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye

The Joes sneak into a Washington fundraiser where Lady Jaye steals a sample of the President's DNA and confirms that he is Zartan in shapeshifter disguise. After a scuffle with Firefly and Zandar (Matt Gerald), the head of the Presidential Detail and a member of Cobra, they escape. On the other story front, Snake Eyes and Jinx locate and capture Storm Shadow after a battle with ninjas and take him back to Japan, where Storm Shadow reveals that Zartan murdered the Hard Master, not him. He and Jinx then join the Joes' efforts to stop Cobra.

Martial arts expert JinxMartial arts expert Jinx

At a big world leaders summit, Zartan unveils Project Zeus, a huge orbiting weapons platform that can destroy the world. Either world leaders accept the Cobra organization as their leader or he will destroy one capitol at a time. Storm Shadow kills Zartan so no more Presidential copycat. Some of the Zeus weapons are activated but Roadblock fights with Firefly and destroys them while the real President is rescued by Colton and Lady Jaye however Cobra Commander escapes and Storm Shadow disappears. The Joes are called heroes again.

Storm ShadowStorm Shadow

Special Features

(under the title “G.I. Joe: Declassified”)

Mission Briefing – is a look at preproduction; the storyboards, pre-viz on computer, weapons, vehicles, costume design and more. It was decided to make this film less sci-fi and more real world… and add ninjas!

Deployment – Lots of stunt practice and people on wires. Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson talk about working with real Navy Seals and we see actors practicing with guns.

Two Ninjas – The focus here is on G.I. Joe classic characters Snake Eyes and Jinx. Ray Park talks about being Snake Eyes and the actress playing Jinx talks about the challenges of using two swords. The production designer chats the cool Japanese Dojo set and the costume designer describes how difficult it is to make cool-looking costumes comfortable enough to fight in. Interesting.

On set Ninja fight in the DojoOn set Ninja fight in the Dojo

The Desert Attack – An old gravel pit in New Orleans stands in for the desert. This extra has more Channing Tatum than the rest as both he and Dwayne talk about how darn hot it was as they filmed this pivotal desert massacre scene. We see the explosions etc. Action-packed.

COBRA Strikes -  The movie’s bad guys are examined as we see the underground prison set with its underwater tubes containing Storm Shadow and Cobra Commander. The writers talk about Firefly and making the villains true to G.I. Joe origins. The actors playing the baddies are interesting.

The Lone Soldiers – We are on set as Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye are on the run. We also learn more about the original G.I. Joe action figures and Bruce Willis, onboard as classic G.I. Joe founder Joe Colton, talks about playing with the figures as a kid. Informative.

The Monastery – The cool escape sequence from a monastery in the Himalayas is examined. We see the choreography for the ninja fight sequences and the shooting of the Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow fight. Filmmakers talk about the difficulty in designing and carrying out the impressive zipline sequence.

Snake EyesSnake Eyes

Fort Sumter – concentrates on the final action showdown shot at a real fort in New Orleans. Dwayne Johnson beams about the fun he had driving the souped-up tank in the sequence and we see more of the cool vehicles on water and land, etc. Ray Stevenson playing Firefly admits “It hurts me when I hit Dwayne. It’s like hitting a rock!” Duh. Funny.

Deleted Scenes – We see the Pakistani leader get killed which fills in some story blanks. There is more with the U.S. President and an added scene at Arlington Cemetery in which the three remaining “Joes” pay tribute to the fallen. Nice stuff.

Commentary by Director Jon Chu and Producer Lorenzo Did Bonaventura – Each scene gets commentary. We learn why some things were removed. Jon Chu is really up and enthusiastic throughout but some of what he says is also in the extra features. I have a feeling that, for real G.I. Joe fans, watching the movie with commentary on would be super cool.

Wrapping Up

In this sequel to the first G.I. Joe film, the plot takes place on several fronts and can get complicated but it’s all really about excuses for massive action sequences. The movie is very videogame-like with almost non-stop action and cool gadgets if you are into that kind of thing.  I like the martial arts fights. A fight on a super high, super long zipline was especially impressive.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Cover ArtG.I. Joe: Retaliation Cover Art

Adding Dwayne Johnson and, briefly, Bruce Willis to the cast was a good idea but not really enough to make the film great to anyone except war movie and G.I. Joe fans.  

As far as this home entertainment set goes, the extras are quite entertaining with a lot of on-set footage especially in fight/stunt sequences. Young director Jon Chu (who directed the very different Justin Bieber film) was a G.I. Joe fan as a kid, is very enthusiastic and upbeat and you get comments from many of the actors as well. We’ll go 3 stars overall.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Blu-ray + DVD Rating: 3