The President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) is being secretly held captive by non other than Cobra. The organization has left Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) to impersonate the President in order to gain control and take revenge against the Joes. Zartan and Cobra devise a plan to destroy the Joes by labeling them a terrorist group and launching a surprise attack, but the surviving Joes Roadblock (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) quickly move to secure backup. Meanwhile, Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elody Yung) prepare to take down Storm Shadow (Byung Hun Lee), who along Firefly (Ray Stevenson) helped release Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) from prison. With the Commander on the loose, Cobra is now ready to unleash their plans, but the Joes still have an ace up their sleeves.
Considering that Retaliation was a direct sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, going in with zero expectations was probably the best way to approach it. Rise of the Cobra wasn’t exactly a fan favorite even though it featured the character names of the beloved TV series; there were many that felt that there was little resemblance between the two. Granted in today’s movies the lines between the two mediums are often skewed in order to bring a franchise into the big screen. With all this in mind the sequel had a huge task at hand, to steer the overall perception of the movie franchise, which in terms of quality Retaliation quickly made serious improvements.
The story takes place following the events of Rise of Cobra, so it would be wise to watch the first film in order to keep track of what is initially happening. In terms of a story, Retaliation doesn’t attempt to be complex and instead focuses on delivering a story that closely resembles an adventure from the comics. This is the real difference between the films; Retaliation really shrunk the scope and managed to just try to deliver entertainment. Even the characters felt more like their comic/cartoon counterpart; in comparison to what was done in Rise of Cobra was quickly enhanced to be something fans could really appreciate. Jon M. Chu really focused on the action and in that department Retaliation did not disappoint, there were plenty of highly flying action, explosions, gun fighting, etc. that turns out being really entertaining.
G.I Joe: Retaliation cannot be taken as anything other than an entertaining action film. Retaliation makes for a good popcorn film, that’s it don’t expect very deep or even an intellectual film.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. Retaliation is one of the best transfers I have seen this year. The image is remarkably sharp. The colors are vibrant and well reproduced, however, the skintones appear to be very orange. The black colors are deep with excellent shadow reproduction. Detailing is fantastic as well, close ups are revealing, environments feature plenty of details, and even armor and costumes feature a rich amount of details especially Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. The film does feature a layer of grain to keep that film like look. I really can’t complain with the quality of this release.
The 3D counterpart was very similar in terms of the overall look of the film. Colors remain natural and well reproduced and even black colors are deep and do not suffer with the 3D effects. The problem with the 3D version lies with the effects themselves. Naturally you are going to get mixed results with conversion than naturally shot in 3D. For this film it was unnecessary to say the least. The 3D effects were few in between and more often than not they failed to impress. There were a few scenes that really utilized this well; primarily the ninja fight on the mountain. Many of the effects did not really work well, but I feel that the scenes picked where wrong. In other scenes the extra depth and space in between objects was great. If anything the 3D version could have been avoided, on the plus side the slipcover with Snake Eyes was fantastic!
G.I. Joe: Retaliation arrives on Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Could we really expect anything less than amazing from a firefight, explosion ridden, and highflying ninja showdown? I certainly wouldn’t think so and for that I am happy to report that the track is thunderous and amazing. The dialogue is clean and clear and it doesn’t become overwhelmed by the action on the screen. The rears are active and the surrounds provide excellent support. The fronts have spot on directionality and the dynamic range is excellent. The LFE channel is thunderous and loud, but accurate. The soundstage created by the track is impressive. All in all I will say the loud and thunderous track is fitting for the film.
Commentary by Director Jon M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura – The audio commentary was lackluster to say the least. Many times during the track I felt that neither speaker was provident any substantial information on the film. If anything you can skip this unless you really want to sit down and listen to the track.
G.I. Joe Declassified ñ This section is split in 8 pieces; Mission Briefing; Deployment; Two Ninjas; The Desert Attack; Cobra Strikes; The Lone Soldiers; The Monastery; Fort Sumter. Viewers can select each section to play individually or play them all.
The “sequel” had a very steep road ahead, but Retaliation managed to steer the ship and deliver a very passable film based on G.I. Joe. The film was very close to its comic origins and it is something that fans should appreciate. Retaliation is filled with action at every corner and it should easily make for a good popcorn film. Paramount did a good job with the technical aspect of the release with an excellent video transfer and even better audio track. The supplements were somewhat lackluster. Overall, fans of the Joes will most likely enjoy this more so than casual onlookers.