G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Bluray)

Having grown up during an era where G.I. Joe’s were THE action figures of choice, I was almost excited when the first G.I. Joe was set to be released a couple of years ago. I say almost because I was sure they were going to screw it up… and screw it up they did. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” was a mess of astronomical proportions. I prayed that if they ever made a sequel, somehow they would get it right.

In “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, the ‘Joes’ are framed for a crime they didn’t commit by the evil Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who is impersonating the President of the United States (Jonathon Pryce). They are disavowed and nearly wiped out by a strike team. But while you can kick America’s ultimate fighting force, you can’t keep ‘em down. Aided by the original G.I. Joe, General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) leads his team on am mission to expose the faux president and clear their name.

I received the 3D Bluray a few days ago and kicked back to watch it, not expecting much. For those who say prayer doesn’t work, I can offer up 2013’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” Not only does this sequel retaliate against the bad guys, it retaliates against the original film. Taken a little more seriously, or at least without as many one-liners as the first film, I was treated to an action-packed, adrenaline filled, roller-coaster ride of a popcorn movie. Better script, better direction, better acting, better action…. better everything!

I cannot say much for the 3D disc. 3D still hasn’t quite come of age for home viewing – and the film was transferred into… not shot in… 3D, which never works. However, the 2D Bluray version looked glorious. There isn’t a glitch to be found. All the images are crystal clear, whether you’re watching explosions or just the guys sitting around. There are a tremendous amount of location shots throughout the movie, and the colors remain vibrant and appropriate to the surroundings.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack offers the viewer an exceptionally all-encompassing experience. The action sequences surround you, with gunshots and sounds coming from everywhere. But these are not just thrown in; they are placed with a precise sense of direction. Even more noticeable in the quiet moments are the ambient sounds which place you firmly in the middle of the film. The musical score sets the tone brilliantly, but never overpowers the film, and the dialogue is always spot on clear and understandable.

The Bluray edition includes a commentary by Director John M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura that offers an informative discussion of the film. However, I would have liked to hear more from just Chu as he appeared to have the best grasp of what the film is and should be. Plus I had read about how badly he wanted to pull from the G.I. Joe world of comics and animated series to get as close to what fans wanted as he could get.

There are also some deleted scenes and a lengthy Behind the Scenes feature (which breaks into 8 parts). The latter offers a closer look at Chu as a director, the training the actors went through, the building of the Dojo set, filming the desert attack, a look at Cobra’s sets and characters, the casting of Bruce Willis, constructing the Monastery, shooting at Fort Pike, and a brief history of the GI Joe franchise. All in all, it is a really feature.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it is a great Saturday afternoon popcorn movie. But more importantly, it absolutely makes up for (and makes you forget) the debacle that was “The Rise of Cobra”.

Directed by: Jon M Chu
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce, Adrianne Palicki, Arnold Vosloo, Ray Park, RZA
Extras: Audio Commentary by Director John M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura; Deleted Scenes ; G.I. Joe: Declassified
Release Date: 7/30/2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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