Duane Johnson is Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Duane Johnson is Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

REEL REVIEWS: Boys play nice with their toys

G.I. Joe Retaliation is better than the first G.I. Joe film.

  • Apr. 5, 2013 3:00 p.m.

The elite American fighting force known as the G.I. Joes (led by Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum) are framed by a shapeshifting evil-doer who has taken the form of the President (Jonathan Pryce).

Unable to fight from within the channels they are used to, the Joes must regroup, re-enlist the “original Joe” (Bruce Willis) and even join forces with some that used to be their enemies in order to defeat their common foe, the man behind all the mayhem, Cobra Commander.

We say, “It’s better than the first one.”

TAYLOR: I wasn’t looking forward to this film, mostly because I was disappointed by the first. I’m not a G.I. Joe expert, but I did enjoy the cartoon series when I was a kid. The first film seemed just too frantic and disjointed, like many action films these days. I also think the filmmakers built up the first film to be too adult oriented. Furthermore (as is often the case), I think there were too many writers for G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra, which can rob movies of their directionality. G.I. Joe: Retaliation suffers none of the setbacks of the first film and succeeds.

HOWE: I was lucky enough not to witness the first G.I. Joe movie, maybe because when it came out I thought it looked terrible. So when Retaliation came out I didn’t pin my hopes too high. But now after watching it I found it to be a fun, action-packed film with a pretty intelligent storyline considering it’s aimed for a younger audience.

TAYLOR: Aiming it for the younger crowd was smart. It is, after all, a ridiculous comic book/cartoon crowd-pleaser. Unlike last week’s review of Olympus Has Fallen, where again we were considering the usurping of governmental powers, no one is asking us to wear our politics on our sleeves in order to enjoy this film. G.I. Joe is about fighting to save everyone from cartoon baddies who want to take over the world, in style and with expensive toys. Therefore, the violence (which is very PG-13) and the plot itself is fitting. You can take your 10 and ups to this film without fearing nightmares, plus enjoy the action and quips yourself.

HOWE: I agree with you. Even though there is violence and a high kill factor, you don’t actually see any limbs getting blown or cut off. Come to think of it, I don’t think I even saw any blood being spilt at all. I did enjoy the bad guys: Firefly, with his deadly pet bugs, Storm Shadow, with his ninja skills, and Zartan, with his bag of disguises.

TAYLOR: As well as their history, fans of the G.I. Joe lore know and love these characters. Without giving anything away, you’re in store for a couple of surprises. I’ve heard that G.I. Joe 3 is already in the works and I’m surprised to find myself not disgusted by this fact.

— Taylor gives G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3.5 time altering RC bullets out of 5.

— Howe gives it 3.5 eye-scans out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon,

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are freelance movie reviewers living in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.