If there can be such a thing as spoilers for a 90 minute toy commercial, then a lot of them are here.
After seeing Snitch last month I was beginning to think that my New Year’s resolution to see every theatrical release featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2013, also known as the 2013 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson initiative, was kind of stupid. Then I saw G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Now I know that my New Year’s resolution to see every theatrical release featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (the aforementioned 2013 D“TR”JI) is kind of stupid.
When I saw G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra last summer I was blown away by how little I liked it, which lead to me being even more blown away by just how much I did like the trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation. In retrospect, I can now confirm that I just liked White Stripes dub step and the El Camino. Who knew?
This is traditionally the part where I force a piece of entertainment into whatever overly analytical box I have lying around. That was $11.50 ago. Because I spent $11.50 going to see G.I. Joe. Because I am an idiot.
The movie starts at the North Korean DMZ.
Within minutes Channing “Hottest Butt” Tatum, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a bunch of weirdoes and the kid from Jurassic Park have breached the North Korean perimeter to apprehend a defector. But they need a distraction. So they fire a bullet at a guard’s tea cup along the single most hostile border in the entire godamn world – presumably sparking an all-out nuclear conflict between two countries that have almost nothing to do with the rest of the movie (except for a slew of North Korean jokes in the third act. Yes, you read that right. North Korean jokes).
Of course while this fire-fight-turned-world-war is unfolding between the North Korean guards and the deadliest, most efficient special operations unit on the planet one of the G.I. Joe’s replaces the North Korean flag with a G.I. Joe flag. Here’s some sequestration advice – if you’ve got a guy on your deadliest, most efficient special operations unit on the planet who has enough time to replace a North Korean flag with a G.I. Joe flag than you have one too many guys on your deadliest, most efficient special operations unit on the planet. Maybe furlough.
After the guns-blazing introduction, however, audiences get a chance to see Channing “Hottest Butt” Tatum (Duke) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Roadblock) bro out. And it’s pretty great. In a perfect world they would be in an awesome buddy cop comedy flick about Tatum trying to “touch a Samoan man’s radio.” There’s a perfect mix of sincerity and corniness between the two that had potential to really drive the movie into the D+/C- stratosphere.
Oh and then Channing Tatum gets blow the shit up saving the flag dumbass’ life. As I sat watching the dumbass staring at the fiery remains of the explosion that took Duke’s life from five feet away yelling “Duke! Duke!” like an idiot, I couldn’t help but see a metaphor. Because Duke’s dumbass friend is an idiot. And G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an idiot. And I am an idiot.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets shit done. Say what you will about the man’s caliber as an actor but the guy is an entertainer and entertain he does, even as the fictional world around him goes to hell. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to save Retaliation from making you wish a snake was biting you in the eyes.
Take the ninja subplot, for instance. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, heretofore known as the black ninja and the white ninja, are the main players in a parallel and intersecting narrative thread that sees the two duke it out in some crazy temple or some shit on the side of some dumb mountain. Then a bunch of other ninjas come out and fight the black ninja on ropes and stuff.
The gist of the white ninja and the black ninja’s story is that they both had the same master but then the white ninja killed him and ran away and became a G.I. Cobra. But it turns out he didn’t really kill their master! As we learn in a shocking twist during the second act of Retaliation, thanks to a brilliant line of questioning courtesy of Ninja Master RZA, the sword that was used to kill their master wasn’t the white ninja’s sword. Because he says so! Twenty years later! Duh!
Then there’s the matter of the President, who isn’t really the President, replacing all of his secret service agents with Cobra agents. Sneaky. Except that his Cobra agents literally wear Cobra pins on their jackets. On national television.
And how could you forget the heartwarming moment at the end of the film where Bruce Willis awards Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson a gun within ten feet of the actual President. Oh, and the gun is General Patton’s. And it’s loaded.
I felt a hole burning in my pocket for days after seeing G.I. Joe: Retaliation. And then I heard it won the box office. And then I had a “retaliazation.”
More than $11.50 was spent to make G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
In fact, I could wager to guess that more than $20 was spent to make G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
At one point in the film, Channing Tatum makes a bet with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and if he wins, The Rock has to “take a promotion.”
More than $25 was spent to make G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
A fugitive Snake Eyes is put into the most secure prison on the planet. A prison so secure it’s enclosed in a chain link fence, and run over by a motorcycle.
More than $50 was spent to make G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Having to go into hiding from the puppet U.S. Government, The Rock turns to the only man he can trust: his black friend from the hood. The Joe’s hide out in the rec center where The Rock was recruited by the G.I. Joes, and a monologue about his troubled childhood, complete with prop punching bag, happens.
More than $100 was spent to make G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
And more than $11.49 was spent to see it.
Anyway! Can’t wait for Pain and Gain, am I right? It’s Michael Bay so I’m sure it won’t be dumb. The 2013 D“TR”JI will totally be worth it. Just you wait.
On an unrelated note, when you are watching a movie and the credits for that movie include “Hasbro,” maybe don’t watch that movie.