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DVD Review: 'G.I. Joe Retaliation' (2013).

Updated on August 23, 2013

'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'.

In the world of film and cinema, it's always a tossup as to how a sequel will turn out. Most sequels either outdo their predecessor, or they flop like a diver jumping off a diving board belly first into a cold pool. You would think that a franchise has nowhere to go but up when the series original film doesn't meet expectations. Is that the case with the 'G.I. Joe' movie franchise?

Heading into the year 2013, 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' was one of the films that I was looking forward to seeing. That anticipation didn't come based solely on the outcome of the first film, but rather that I felt that improvement wasn't much of an option. Also, the fact that several action stars such as - Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, and Bruce Willis were being added to the franchise could possibly be an upgrade from an action perspective.

I recently watched G.I. Joe: Retaliation on DVD via Netflix. I was warned by several people that this movie wasn't very good, but I had to see for myself. Not that I'm stubborn or anything like that, but I wouldn't allow the anticipation that I initially felt for this movie just die out. At any rate, this is my review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Facts, Cast, and Plot.


  • Theatrical Release: March 28, 2013(United States)
  • Directed by Jon M. Chu
  • DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D release date: July 30, 2013.


  • Dwayne Johnson - Roadblock/Marvin F. Hinton
  • Bruce Willis - General Joseph Colton
  • D.J. Cotrona - Flint
  • Byung-hun Lee - Storm Shadow
  • Ray Park - Snake Eyes
  • Channing Tatum - Duke/Conrad S. Hauser
  • Adrianne Palicki - Lady Jaye
  • Johnathon Pryce - President of the United States
  • Ray Stevenson - Firefly
  • Arnold Vosloo - Zartan
  • Luke Bracey - Cobra Commander/Rex Lewis

'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' is the sequel to 2009's 'G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra'. Following the events of Rise of Cobra, Zartan, who is now masquerading as the President of The United States is in complete control the United States government. The evil Zartan has the G.I. Joe unit framed for stealing nuclear warheads from Pakistan, and orders, a military airstrike to be carried out against the unit. The majority of the G.I. Joe unit are killed in the ambush.

Despite Zartan's effort to dispose of G.I. Joe, several members of the G.I. Joe unit barely survive the attack. One of those members is the character Roadblock. Roadblock is the unit's second in command to Duke, and is also Duke's good friend. Following the apparent execution of the G.I. Joe unit, Storm Shadow is sent to rescue Cobra Commander from the maximum security prison he is being held in. Storm Shadow succeeds in this mission, but is injured during the rescue attempt. Cobra Commander escapes, and leaves Destro behind.

Upon deducing that the current President of the United States may be compromised or an impostor, the surviving members of the G.I. Joe unit agree to avenge their comrades lost in the ambush, and find out why they were set up. They need help to accomplish this, and seek out the assistance of General Joseph Colton. Now, the surviving members of the unit must find a way to clear their names, and stop Zartan and Cobra Commander from unleashing their nuclear project that not only threatens the United States, but the entire world as well.


Thoughts On 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'.

This is the section of the article where I will get into my personal thoughts on this movie, and reveal some of the issues that I had with it. I'm also going to reveal a few highlights about the movie that I enjoyed. Before going any further, I want to state that this section may contain some serious spoilers. If you've yet to see 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' and have plans on seeing it sometime, you may want to click off at this point.

As I stated earlier, I felt that G.I. Joe: Retaliation had nowhere to go but up after the disappointment of the first movie. Well it looks like I was wrong, and in my personal opinion, G.I. Joe: Retaliation' failed to even outdo it's predecessor. Here are a few issues that I had with this particular sequel.

  • Didn't Feel Like Much Of a Sequel: This movie was a sequel, but it certainly didn't feel like much of one. It almost appeared that they were trying to reboot the series in a way, or the writers had gotten lazy. There were only five actors from 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' film that appeared in this sequel, and a few of them had very limited screen time.
  • Rushed Plot: The plot for this film was very rushed in my opinion. When I saw the previews and trailers leading up to this movie, I thought they had the right idea with Zartan and Cobra Commander running the United States unbeknownst to the public. However, the plot was rushed, and they could have stretched it out for another film in my eyes. It just feels that they tried to throw a few quality action stars in the movie, and hoped that alone would carry the film. Also, some of the twists and surprises were ridiculous. Didn't work out in my opinion.
  • Storm Shadow's Return: Really? C'Mon now. Storm Shadow was killed by Snake Eyes in the first film. How in the world did he survive that death? I know that it's a movie and characters can always be brought back to life, but at least give a character a death that leaves their fate uncertain. By doing this, you can bring the character back, and not have someone like me pointing this out now.
  • Horrible Dialogue and Acting: The acting and dialogue in this movie was pretty bad. I've stressed before that people don't expect A+ caliber acting performances from these kind of movies, but a decent plot can sometimes make the acting not seem as bad. G.I. Joe: Retaliation fails in both departments.
  • No Character Development: The first G.I. Joe movie at least had a history of some of the characters, and how they became part of G.I. Joe. G.I. Joe: Retaliation had no character development whatsoever, and that ties into why this movie didn't feel like a sequel. We don't see how Roadbloack and Duke became friends, nor how he knows Snake Eyes. There was no character development with Lady Jaye or Flint as well. Again, it just seems like they really rushed this movie.

At this point, I realize that it looks like I'm coming down pretty hard on this movie. However, there were a few good things about it that I did enjoy. Let me stress the word "few" again, because that is exactly what I mean. Now onto the few things I did enjoy about this movie.

  • Great Action Sequences: There were some terrific action sequences at various points in this movie. There was a particular action scene that took place with a bunch of ninjas in the mountains. I thought this was a very well done action sequence, and was one of the highlights of the movie for me. The action was an upgrade from the 2009 G.I. Joe film, but that's about it in my opinion.
  • Cobra Commander's Look: Don't get me wrong, I loved Cobra Commander's helmet in 'G.I Joe: Rise of Cobra'. However, they made his outfit and helmet look more like the Cobra Commander from the G.I. Joe cartoon series from the 80's. I thought that was pretty well done.
  • Snake Eyes: The character of Snakes Eyes character was on point just like he was in the first movie. I just wish they would've used him a bit more, but his character was one of the movie highlights for me.


The Verdict?

If you've read up until the point, I'm pretty certain that can conclude what I thought of 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'. As much as I hate to say it, this movie was a total failure in my opinion. I thought that 'G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra' was better than this sequel, and that's not saying a whole lot since that one wasn't all that great. I think it's safe to say that the G.I. Joe animated movie from 1987 has outlived and outdone both of these live action films.

The sad thing about both 'Retaliation' and 'Rise of Cobra' is that both could have been very good films with the right writers, producers, and actors. I know that Hollywood believes that the majority of movie watchers are content with a few explosions and action sequences. However, people expect the live action movies based on comics and cartoons from our youth to have stories that are in tune with what attracted us to the series initially.

Looking back now, I'm glad that I didn't waste any money going to see this movie at the theater when it came out. I probably would have been even more disappointed, compared to the 2 hours I lost on a Saturday night watching the DVD at home. If you're a fan of G.I. Joe or just an action movie junkie, I would suggest renting this movie rather than purchasing it. This one of those movies that I can be being very forgettable. It's been announced that a third movie may be in the works soon. Unless they make some serious changes, I can't say for sure that I see many people being excited about another G.I. Joe movie anytime soon.


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    • prospectboy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bradrick H. 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @LisaMarie724, This movie looked good, but I didn't care much for it. It's cool if you want to watch it, but I would suggest you lower your expectations. Just a suggestion. Thanks for reading.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      This movie looks good, I had to stop reading where you said spoiler alert lol because I plan to watch this.


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