Duke (Channing Tatum) has become the leader of the G.I. Joe unit, which is framed for stealing nuclear warheads from Pakistan by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who is impersonating the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). The unit is subsequently decimated in a military air strike with Duke among the casualties. The only survivors are Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona), and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki). Meanwhile, Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Firefly (Ray Stevenson) rescue Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) from an underground maximum-security prison in Germany. Storm Shadow is injured during the escape and retreats to a temple in the Himalayas to recover. Upon learning that he is alive, the Blind Master (RZA), leader of the Arashikage Clan, sends Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his apprentice Jinx (Elodie Yung), Storm Shadow’s cousin, to capture Storm Shadow so he can answer for the murder of his uncle the Hard Master. Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye return to the United States where they set up a base of operations in a rundown gym. After Zartan announces that Cobra will replace the Joes as America’s elite special forces unit, Lady Jaye deduces that someone is impersonating the President, and Roadblock leads them to General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis), who provides them with weapons, and helps them infiltrate a fundraising event that the President will be attending. Lady Jaye steals a sample of the President’s DNA and confirms that he is Zartan. They escape after a confrontation with Firefly and Zandar (Matt Gerald), the head of the U.S. Secret Service’s Presidential Detail and a member of Cobra. Snake Eyes and Jinx locate and capture Storm Shadow after a battle with ninjas and take him to Japan, where Storm Shadow reveals that Zartan murdered the Hard Master, and that he joined Cobra to avenge his uncle. Storm Shadow then accompanies Snake Eyes and Jinx as they join the Joes’ efforts to stop Cobra. Zartan invites the world leaders to a summit at historic Fort Sumter, where he blackmails them into disabling their nuclear arsenals, and reveals that he has created Project Zeus: seven orbital kinetic bombardment weapons of mass destruction at his command. He destroys central London to prove his superiority, and threatens to destroy other capitals if the countries don’t submit to Cobra…

PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III wrote about “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – “For fans who bought the toys, watched the cartoon and read the comics during the ’80s and now have like-aged children of their own (all of which I did and do), might I suggest proceeding to watch this fun film with your kids, but compromise so that you can leave the commentary track on. The film will remain a treat for the eyes, but you can more easily gloss over those parts that will make you apologize to your brain.” Writing for Empire magazine, Olly Richards gave the movie 2 stars out of 5 and compared it unfavorably with its predecessor, writing: “The first film you could at least laugh at. This takes all its silly ingredients and smushes them down flat. ‘Retaliation’ over-promises and under-delivers.” Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun Times gave the movie 1.5 stars out of a possible four, branding it a “ridiculous and overblown debacle” that contained “nothing but well-packaged garbage” and further adding: “To say ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ is a video game for the big screen is to insult a number of video games that are far more creative, challenging and better-looking.” I thought the first “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” was ok for what it was and had a better balance between the characters and the storyline. And alongside the comic, it had that sort of cartoony feeling, but not too much. While “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” just becomes yet another brawn no brains action flick with a plot of a few sentences and new G.I. Joe characters that doesn´t really pay the homage to the original comic structure. Neither does director Jon M. Chu, who only seems to be interested in blowing up stuff and forgetting about the essentials in the G.I. Joe universe. The big mistake here is as well to put the one dimensional The Rock in the drivers seat alongside Mr. Paycheck Bruce Willis. Two actors that doesn´t add anything no matter what they play. The only part I did enjoy was the very nicely done 8-10 minutes long fight sequence in the Himalayas between Snake Eyes & Jinx and the red ninjas. I think “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is a fire and a massive miss that only touches upon the G.I. Joe universe.
(2 out of 5)

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