Review


Erika (Alicia Vikander) has it all: a good job, lots of friends and a secure relationship with Oskar (Simon J. Berger). Until the day it all falls apart after the premature birth of her son. Suddenly this perfect life means nothing, and the feelings she once was able to control are no longer within reach. She starts going to group-therapy and meets other people suffering from various forms of trauma. Eventually she form a bond with some of the participants within this group; Rikard (David Dencik), who has severe mother issues and a fascination for Mayaindians, Pernilla (Anna Bjelkerud), a lonely middle-aged woman with an extensive self hatred, Ann-Sofi (Mira Eklund), a young woman suffering from bullying and abuse and Peter (Henrik Norlén) who has in reality a structured life with a wife and kids, but feels only emptiness and alienation. One day Erika and this eclectic group of four people decide to take matters into their own hands and heads off together in search of a way out. They start checking into hotels – a place of complete anonymity where one can wake up as a different person…

“Hotell” concerns topics such as postpartum depression, abuse and selftherapy and has a dark structure with a comic sparkle that comes to life in several scenes. Director Lisa Langseth is balancing on the line between the gripping reality and goofball comedy when she wants to show the tragic comic balance within each character, but she manages to keep the balance act together. All the main actors go all in with their characters, they are all sad and reduced as humans, but yet so full of life. However, the lead actress Alicia Vikander is the one that stands out as the depressed Erika. She is vulnerable, beautiful, depressed, hurt, confused and in pain, but yet selfoccupied, cold and pitiful for not being there for her newborn son and boyfriend. Her facial expressions says so much and you can feel her pain through the screen. Her full on breakdown in the hotel room in the end is intense and moving. David Dencik is as well in good form as the Mayaindian loving man child, but Alicia Vikander stole my heart in this movie. She is already in Hollywood and with her talent and absolute beauty she will go really far in Tinseltown. Mark my words. (3 and a half out of 5)

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Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a member of a close-knit Danish community and works at the local kindergarten. Divorced, he struggles to maintain a relationship with his teenage son, who lives with his ex-wife, but enjoys wholesome interaction with the children at the kindergarten. His coworker Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport) makes advances towards him and eventually moves in as his girlfriend. One of the kindergarten pupils is Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), the daughter of Lucas’ best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen). Drawing on memory of a pornographic picture her brother showed her, she makes comments that lead the kindergarten director to believe Lucas indecently exposed himself to her. When interviewed with leading questions, Klara gives unclear testimony against Lucas. The adults in the community believe the director’s story of abuse, dismissing Klara’s later contradictions as denial. Lucas is shunned by the community as a pedophile sexual predator. His friendship with Theo is destroyed, the pressure causes him to break up with Nadja, and his son is publicly ostracised. Lucas finds his life being shattered to pieces by an innocent little lie…

“Jagten” is based on the mass hysteria that can be created easily in todays insecure and paranoid society and ruin lives literally. This is by no means an easy subject and should be handled in a very delicate and proper manner, but what Vinterberg is also communicating is that children doesn´t always tell the truth and their imagination might connect things that hasn´t happened. With that said, yet again, this is not an easy subject to talk about, let alone handle. We have seen far too many examples the past years concerning sexual predators and the horrific acts they have done. But, it´s a topic that needs to be discussed from other points of views too. Thomas Vinterberg has always been good at bringing difficult topics to the screen, and he aces this one as well in my book. This is however Mads Mikkelsen movie, and he plays Lucas in such a minimalistic, but truly brilliant way that this role will stick in your mind for a long time. It´s a lot about his facial expressions and movements. Well deservedly he won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for this specific role. The film was also selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, making the final nomination. It was nominated in the same category at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. But, without the fantastic cast from Annika Wedderkopp as Klara to Lars Ranthe as Bruun this wouldn´t have work as brilliantly as it does. Vinterberg has managed to assemble a great cast that brings everything they have to the plate to make this film come alive. Despite the quite slow, but not overly slow, pace there´s a magnificent intensity throughout the movie and I love the fact that Vinterberg keeps you wondering how it will end until the final frame, when you get the idea what will happen. “Jagten” is a hard one to watch at times and the emotional platform goes straight into your heart and brain. And you will keep thinking for sure, what if you would be wrongfully accused for something you hadn´t done? (4 and a half out of 5)

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In 1975, 12-year-old Christiane Felscherinow (Natja Brunckhorst) lives with her mother and little sister in a small apartment in a typical multi-story concrete social-housing building in a dull neighbourhood in the outskirts of West Berlin. She’s sick and tired of living there and has a passion for singer David Bowie. She hears of Sound, a new disco in the city centre, labelled as the most modern discothèque in Europe. Although she’s legally too young to go there, she dresses up in high heels, wears makeup, and asks a friend from school, who hangs out there regularly, to take her, too. At the disco, she meets Detlef (Thomas Haustein), who is a little older and is in a clique where everybody experiments with various drugs. At first she takes pills and LSD, and goes to a David Bowie concert in which she meets Babsi, a girl of her same age and tendencies, and tries heroin for the first time by snorting it. But soon after Christiane falls in love with Detlef, and in order to be closer to him begins using heroin on a regular basis, gradually delving deeper into the drug and ending up as a full-blown addict. As her time at home is replaced with time spent at her cohorts’ unkempt apartment, she is also drawn to the seedy Bahnhof Zoo scene, a large railway and subway station notorious for the drug and sex trade in its underpasses and backalleys…

Both the movie and the book acquired cult status in Europe immediately after release, raising awareness of heroin addiction. The popularity of the movie was greatly boosted by David Bowie’s participation as both himself (portrayed giving a concert early in the movie) and as the main contributor to the soundtrack. Bowie’s music from his albums made in Berlin during 1976-77 is heavily featured throughout the picture, and as he was at the very peak of his popularity during the late 1970s-early 1980s, his presence helped boost the film’s commercial success. The film shocked European audiences. The heroin plague that swept Western Europe between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s had yet to become apparent to the public, and it did just after the film’s release, with the epidemic killing a significant number of European youth. The film depicted in very realistic detail all the proceedings of heroin addiction: hustling and scoring, shooting up, the effects of heavy drug withdrawal and heavy drug usage, the thinning of the body and the shootup scars, the socialising in rundown neighbourhoods such as peripheral train stations, back alleys, often too high to keep one’s eyes open and dropping onto the floor in a stupor, scenes all too familiar to urban citizens in West Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and France in those years. The movie, shot with a low budget in 1980 and released in 1981, but set between 1975 and 1977 in West Berlin, in what was then West Germany, is much leaner than the autobiographical book it portrays. It skips altogether the beginning and also the end of the book, and concentrates on the main central part starting when Christiane begins her nightlife in Berlin at just around 13, and stops rather abruptly after her suicide attempt by mentioning she recovered. Christiane F. (born Vera Christiane Felscherinow on 20 May 1962) an actress/musician and in real life never fully recovered nor her woes ended with her being carried away to Hamburg to begin withdrawal, but the movie focusses on the main addiction portrayal. The cinematography is very bleak and livid, depicting a dilapidated, working-class Berlin with rundown structures and unclean, unkempt settings. Berlin today is rather different and the majority of landmarks from the movie (the station, the Bulow street stalls, the Sound discothèque) are either gone for good or completely remodeled. The film is played mainly by first-time actors, the majority of which were still in school at the time and have not pursued acting careers since. Only Natja Brunckhorst remained in German movies and television, starting with 1982’s Querelle by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, another lurid-themed film. Most of the extras at the railway station and at the Sound club were in fact actual junkies, prostitutes and low-lifes rounded up by producers just for those crowded scenes. In a special scene where Christiane runs the alleys of the station to find girlfriend Babsi before learning she is dead, the camera lingers on several last-stage junkies leaning along walls of the underpasses. In a 2011 interview, Thomas Haustein, who plays Detlev and was still in school at the time, recalls being severely frightened by being surrounded by all those real-life addicts but that he also successfully copied their behaviour for his character. Most shootup, nudity and sex scenes involving such underage actors in such graphic detail would not be permitted by today’s legal standards; at the time, however, it only required a written letter of consent from the parents to proceed with filming. “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” is one of those movies I reckon you should´ve seen and it´s been on my list forever. Maybe due to everything I have heard about it, I have had an uneasy feeling about seeing it. We get an ugly, gritty, dirty and very unglamorous look upon the heavy drug scene in West Berlin in the late 70´s and it´s not pretty. Christiane F. wants something else in life than living in an plattenbau housing in the outskirts in Berlin and sees the nightlife in the city centre of Berlin as her saviour to something more glamorous and maybe a step closer to her musical hero David Bowie. Berlin is showed in the movie more or less like a runned down colourless city with zombielike people with a compulsory need to use each other in all sorts of ways. Despite the fact that most of the actors are first time actors and that their acting is maybe not on the spot all the time, it creates almost a documentary feeling and what you see feels “real”. Natja Brunckhorst does a great job as Christiane F. with her doe eyes, straight hair and lanky looks. The real Christiane F. was as well quite an attractive girl back in the early 80´s. The participation of David Bowie and his great music is vital for the movie and it gives a great lift to the storyline. And I reckon with his own drug experience in Berlin in the mid 70´s he would´ve been able to contribute with his life stories to the movie. “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” should be shown in schools to get young peoples attention to what drugs can do to your life. “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” is still of big importance in 2013. (4 and a half out of 5)

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MI6 sends James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), agent 007, into the field to spy on a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border. Via television, MI6 and the Royal Navy identify several wanted men, including American “techno-terrorist” Henry Gupta, who is buying a GPS encoder made by the U.S. military. Despite M’s insistence to let 007 finish his reconnaissance, British Admiral Roebuck launches a missile attack on the arms bazaar. Bond then discovers two Soviet nuclear torpedoes mounted on an L-39 Albatros, and as the missile is too far along to be aborted, 007 hijacks the L-39 and flies away seconds before the bazaar is struck. Amidst the confusion, Gupta escapes with the encoder. Media baron Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), head of the Carver Media Group Network (CMGN), soon begins his plans to use the encoder to provoke war between China and the United Kingdom, hoping to replace the current Chinese government with one more supportive to Carver’s plans of exclusive broadcast rights in their country. Via a GPS signal by using the encoder, Gupta sends a British frigate, the HMS Devonshire, off-course into Chinese-held waters in the South China Sea, where Carver’s stealth ship, commanded by Mr. Stamper (Götz Otto), sinks the frigate with a sea drill and steals one of its missiles, while shooting down a Chinese J-7 fighter jet sent to investigate the British presence, and killing off the Devonshire’s survivors with Chinese weaponry. After reading a CMGN report of the incident as a Chinese attack, a government minister orders Roebuck to deploy the British Fleet to recover the frigate, and possibly retaliate, while leaving M only forty-eight hours to investigate its sinking. M sends Bond to investigate Carver, due to Carver Media releasing their news articles with critical details hours before the events had become known, along with MI6 noticing a spurious signal from one of his CMGN communications satellites when the frigate was sunk. Bond travels to Hamburg and seduces Carver’s trophy wife, Paris (Teri Hatcher), an ex-girlfriend, to get information that would help him enter Carver’s newspaper headquarters. After Bond steals back the GPS encoder, Carver orders Paris and Bond killed. Paris is killed by Dr. Kaufman, Mr. Stamper’s teacher on Chakra Torture, but Bond kills Kaufman and escapes, protecting the encoder. Bond, after visiting the Americans and learning that the encoder had been tampered with, goes to the South China Sea to investigate the wreck (which was actually in Vietnamese waters), discovering one of its cruise missiles missing. He and Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), a Chinese spy on the same case, after avoiding being trapped in the sunk ship, are captured by Stamper and taken to the CMGN tower in Ho Chi Minh City, but soon escape and decide to both collaborate on the investigation and bringing Carver to justice…

So, I`m continuing to re-see Pierce Brosnan´s years as James Bond and “Tomorrow Never Dies” was his second one coming out in 1997. In my opinion this is weaker than “GoldenEye” and “Tomorrow Never Dies” becomes a flat and massively overdriven/over-exaggerated affair in all areas, even for being a Bond movie. Brosnan is still stiff as Bond and he just doesn´t seem to fit in the tuxedo. The idea of putting focus on medias manipulation of the world is not bad, but Jonathan Pryce´s Elliot Carver (the psychopathic media mogul who plans to provoke global war in order to boost sales and ratings of his news divisions) is just not a stand out Bond bad guy that goes through the screen, but instead becomes a bi-figure in my point of view. The same goes for his henchman Mr. Stamper, who becomes a really poor action movie stereotypical bad guy. The lovely Teri Hatcher is wasted as Paris, as she gets hardly any screen time and gets killed very quickly. While Michelle Yeoh gets more screen time, and participate in a lot of the action sequences due to her martial arts background, her character never really takes off and there´s no sparks between her and Brosnan. However, my biggest issue with “Tomorrow Never Dies” is the fact that all actions sequences, more or less, are so over the top ridiculous and over-exaggerated (and this is still a Bond movie) that it ruins the whole movie. Yes, there´s always been some over the top stunts or sequences, particularly in Roger Moore´s Bond movies, but here it´s like director Roger Spottiswoode went into the candy shop and Eon Productions kept giving him more and more money to buy more and more candy. You are choking on all the ridiculous action sequences like a gigantic cotton candy stuck in your throat. Nah, “Tomorrow Never Dies” passes in my book as one of the less good Bond movies. (2 out of 5)

Tomorrow

The two angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), roam the city of Berlin, unseen and unheard by its human inhabitants, observing and listening to the diverse thoughts of the West Berliners: a pregnant woman in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, a painter struggling to find inspiration, a broken man who thinks his girlfriend no longer loves him. Their raison d’être is, as Cassiel says, to “assemble, testify, preserve” reality. Damiel and Cassiel have always existed as angels; they existed in Berlin before it was a city, and before there were even any humans. Among the Berliners they encounter in their wanderings is an old man named Homer (Curt Bois), who, unlike the Greek poet Homer, dreams of an “epic of peace.” Cassiel follows the old man as he looks for the then-demolished Potsdamer Platz in an open field, and finds only the graffiti-covered Berlin Wall. Although Damiel and Cassiel are pure observers, visible only to children, and incapable of any physical interaction with our world, Damiel begins to fall in love with a profoundly lonely circus trapeze artist named Marion (Solveig Dommartin). She lives by herself in a caravan, dances alone to the music of Crime & the City Solution, and drifts through the city. At the same time we encounter actor Peter Falk, who has arrived in Berlin to make a film about Berlin’s Nazi past. As the film progresses, it emerges that Peter Falk was once an angel, who, having grown tired of always observing and never experiencing, renounced his immortality to become a participant in the world. While Damiel is omniscient and lives in eternity, Marion is mortal and lives the human aspiration to be immortal and perfect by wearing a pair of white wings, climbing a rope, swinging from a bar in a cheap circus, toying with death, as there is no net, and with her human clumsiness reaches upward to the grace expressed in the idea of an angel. Her aspiration is both absurd and divine. As one can take only so much of infinity, Damiel’s longing is in the opposite direction, for the genuineness and limitedness of human existence in the world. He eventually embarks on this thought with the full realisation that there is no turning back if he decides to do so…

Wim Wender´s “Wings Of Desire” is yet another movie that has been on my “to see list” and it´s been there forever it seems. First of all, I am sad to say that I didn´t like it as much as I truly hoped I would do. I have had this sense of this being a truly beautiful piece of film that would mesmerise me and give me a shot of love straight into my heart. We get this tale of two angels moving around in West Berlin before the wall came down and eventually one of the angels make the decision to become human to experience everything on the “other” side so to speak. That´s a great piece of script in my point of view. The first half is quite fragmented (both in editing and filming) and in the world of the angels everything is in black/white and in this almost lifeless and dreamlike existence, life moves along in a slow pace while all the angels listens to the thoughts of people. The dialogue is abstract most of the times and the characters inner thoughts are mostly spoken in riddles or metaphors (nothing wrong in that), but it becomes tiresome the longer we move into the running time in my opinion. The idea of putting Peter Falk in the movie as himself and exposing him as a former angel, is a great idea. But, I think that Wender could´ve used Falk a bit more in the movie. “Wings Of Desire” is told in a non traditional cinematic way, and I like that, but I do think that the movie really becomes interesting once Damiel has shed his wings and become a human. Then it becomes lifelike and colourful (literally), I reckon showing the beauty of the life we do live and are graced with. Bruno Ganz is great as Damiel and he shows what a strong actor he is without saying so much. I think as well that “Wings Of Desire” is a nice homage to the beautiful city of Berlin just prior to the wall came down. And the end (or final part of the movie you might say) was not as strong as it could´ve been either. “Wings Of Desire” is different with a great script/idea as a foundation, but Wender doesn´t fully reach what I wanted to see. Interesting fact is that all of the black & white sequences were shot through a one-of-a-kind filter made from a stocking that belonged to cinematographer Henri Alekan’s grandmother. And filming the actual Berlin Wall was prohibited, so a replica of the wall had to be built close to the original twice. The first fake wall warped in the rain because the contractor cheated the producers and built it from wood. (3 and a half out of 5)

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As the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany, a battle-hardened U.S. Army Staff Sergeant in the 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division (also known as “Hell on Wheels”) named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands an M4A3E8 76mm Sherman tank named Fury and its five-man, all-veteran crew: gunner Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf); loader Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal); and driver Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena). The tank’s original assistant driver/bow gunner has been killed in battle. His replacement is a recently enlisted Army typist, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), who has neither seen the inside of a tank nor experienced the ravages of war. Norman eventually earns the nickname “Machine”, given to him by Grady Travis. The surviving crew, who have been together since the North African Campaign, belittle the new recruit upon meeting him, both for his lack of experience and for his reluctance to kill Germans, especially the teenagers of the Hitlerjugend; a decision which results in the death of their platoon leader, Lieutenant Parker, and the destruction of his tank and crew. In an effort to ‘educate’ him to the realities of war, a furious Wardaddy demands Norman kill a captive German artilleryman. When Norman refuses, Wardaddy forces the gun into his hand and makes him execute the prisoner. The bond between Norman and Wardaddy becomes stronger after capturing a small German town. Searching a house, Wardaddy and Norman discover a German woman, Irma, and her cousin Emma. Norman is then left behind closed doors in the bedroom with Emma. After they come out of the bedroom, the four then sit down and have breakfast together, but the tank crew barges in, rudely teasing the women and angering Wardaddy and Norman. Shortly afterwards, a German bombardment hits the town, killing Emma and some of the American forces. This, coupled with observing the retreating Germans soldiers burning their own towns and the cruelty they show to other Germans who do not fight for the Wehrmacht, hardens Norman. He confesses to Wardaddy that he has begun to enjoy killing Nazi soldiers. A platoon of four tanks, led by Fury, receives orders to hold a vital crossroads, protecting a clear path to supply trains and a camp full of allied nurses and cooks (the map shows Emmerthal south of Hameln, where the railway from the Ruhr district to Hanover crosses the Weser river). On the way to the crossroads, they are ambushed by a heavily-armed German Tiger I, which quickly destroys one of the tanks. The remaining three tanks reluctantly attack the German tank, knowing they are outgunned. The Sherman tanks advance and attempt to outflank the Tiger, but the other two Shermans are destroyed before they can make it. With some decisive and experienced maneuvering, Fury gets behind the Tiger where its armor is weakest, and destroys it. Bible notes that he believes they were spared for a reason and the men proceed to the crossroads, knowing that they are the only tank left to protect the camp down the road. As they reach the crossroads, the tank is immobilized when it hits a landmine. They soon realize a reinforced company of three hundred Waffen-SS mechanized infantry who have lost their half-tracks and trucks are heading their way. The crew initially wants to abandon the tank and escape on foot, but Wardaddy refuses to leave. The crew, not wanting to abandon their leader, decide to stay and plan an ambush…

First of all let me say that “Fury” is without no doubt a well made movie, from uniforms, tanks etc to its gritty and intense battle scenes. By far some of the better tank battle scenes I have seen on the screen. But, “Fury” is also a cliché ridden, machoistic and stereotypical action movie with WWII more or less as a backdrop in all the visual and fast paced graphic violence and death. I reckon Ayer tries to give us an insight of the hell war is and how it actually was being part of an Armored Division during WWII, but he makes “Fury” partly like a shoot em up flick for the young generation and he gets partly lost in how well he wants to make the action sequences and not really communicate what war does to mankind in a stronger emotional and believable way. It just becomes very “cartoony” compared to how Spielberg handled “Saving Private Ryan” in my point of view. Rafer Guzman of the periodical Newsday admired director Ayer who “does a good job of putting us inside the tank Fury,” film with “all the extra blood and brutality, this is still a macho and romanticized war movie.”. The stereotypical tank crew, no need to actually point it out more than that, becomes very 1 dimensional even if Ayer has given them several layers as characters. The only one that really stands out in my opinion is Boyd “Bible” Swan played by Shia LaBeouf. A man on the verge of constant despair and redemption for his sins on the battle field. There´s flaws, several to be honest, but when reading a lot of reviews on IMDB that slams the authenticity on for example how bad the germans are at hitting the tank with panzerfausts etc, makes me just wanting to point out that then you need to question the authenticity of all major WWII movies ever made more or less. Yes, it makes no sense that a platoon of 300 Waffen SS soldiers with several panzerfausts are getting slaughtered by an immobile tank in the middle of a road or that Norman is spared by the SS soldier who discovers him under the tank. Then again, maybe that SS soldier was tired of killing. Maybe he didn´t see any point on killing an unarmed kid under that tank. Maybe those 300 Waffen SS soldiers were all rookies and just failed in the heat of the battle. My point with this is that a lot of these reviews on IMDB are just reflecting on the movie from a very narrow point of view concerning authenticity and not looking at the whole picture with wider eyes. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and praised, “Fury presents an unrelentingly violent, visceral depiction of war, which is perhaps as it should be. Bayonets in the eye, bullets in the back, limbs blown apart, corpses of humans and horses splayed across muddy, incinerated terrain. Ayer brought a similar you-are-there intensity to his 2012 cops-on-patrol drama, End of Watch (also with Peña).” But on the opposite side of Rea’s admiration, he thinks, “It wouldn’t be right to call Fury entertaining, and in its narrow focus (as narrow as the view from the tank’s periscope), the film doesn’t offer a broader take on the horrors of war – other than to put those horrors right in front of us, in plain view.” War is ugly, war is hell and I can´t even try to imagine how it is to be at war or at the frontline during a major war. Yes, I agree that Ayer missed out on creating a WWII movie that really touches you emotionally, both in the brain and in the heart, but he has created a visual WWII bonanza that is still gripping and engaging despite major flaws. (4 out 5)

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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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