G.I. Joe Retaliation Review


Nearly a year ago I had the opportunity to see a test screening of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I have been sitting on my feelings about the movie since then. I have let slip a few times here and there on The Gorram Nerd Hour that I hated it. So why did I watch it again? For the same reason I watched the other movies I’ve seen at test screenings again, to see what they changed. It’s always interesting what the studios take away from the comment cards they ask you to fill out at the end of a test screening. On my card I filled it with stuff like “Why was this movie greenlit?” and “What was the point?” Did I change my opinions after the reshoots? Or were the “fixes” they made just as bad?

When I first saw the movie the only positive thing I took away from it was that Snake Eyes was awesome. I love Ray Park and he gave the movie his all despite how bad it was. Sort of like what he did for Star Wars: Episode I. With the reshoots we got a little more Duke, played by Channing Tatum. In the original version Duke was dead as fast as it takes the average person to blink. Of course, by the time the movie started I was praying for toothpicks to keep my eyes open because my eyes just wanted to close to avoid having to take in anymore of that horrible movie. The Duke scenes were designed as a passing of the torch to Road Block, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Although the movie worked better watching Tatum and Johnson play off each other. The moment Tatum was out of the movie the fun left with it…until Bruce Willis entered the movie. Sadly, this fact has not changed. Sure, they added a couple more scenes with Tatum and Johnson together but teasing the audience with a fun movie for a few more minutes only serves to enrage them more overall. 

Duke still dies…oops, sorry. I meant to warn people of spoilers. Oh well, too late. After his death the movie falls into a boring lull for a good 40 minutes until Willis enters. Cobra Commander, Zartan and Firefly couldn’t bring the fun. Adrianne Padalecki (sic) couldn’t save it by looking hot as Lady Jaye. Nothing worked. Not even the coolness of Jonathan Pryce and Walton Goggins. This still has not changed from the previous version. There were random tweaks done to the movie but none so substantial that it made it worth watching. 

In all fairness I will say this. The few changes that were made to the movie made the film a bit more enjoyable. In fact, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I liked this one almost as much as first. That’s still not a compliment. At least the first had a bit more of an emotional aspect to it. Plus it tried harder. This was just lazy screenwriting. I don’t blame the director or the actors. They did what they could. But when you polish a turd all it does is make the cloth dirty.

A quick note to the writers – Zombieland was fun. Was it a fluke? Or did you just sell out? If Deadpool ever gets made I’ve now become scared about what you’re gonna do with it. Are you going to be the next Ehren Kruger? 

I’m done. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. 

For the original version of the movie I give it 1/2 * out of 5. For the reshot and delayed version I give it 1 and 1/2 *’s out of *****. 

I’m sure Brian and I will be discussing this on the next episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour so make sure you tune in for it.


Rumors Of Magic Mike 2 Abound

While I’m not opposed to sequels it is never an easy task to do them justice. Channing Tatum has announced he wants to do a sequel to Magic Mike. I’m okay with that in theory. There were enough threads left open to be curious where some of these characters will be in a couple years.

Dramas, more than any genre, are notoriously difficult to make sequels to. For every Godfather II or Before Sunset there are too many failures. Maybe it seems that way because people don’t usually make sequels to drama films so there is less president. Action, horror, science fiction, and comedy all have their share of success and failure. But there are certainly more of them.

Magic Mike worked well. It was smart, engaging, and had interesting characters and a nice arc for Tatum’s Mike. But what would bring the character back? Does he find it to be too hard in the real world so he goes back to stripping? Would it be about him having to help one of his old stripper buddies get out of trouble? These seem like poor ideas for a sequel.

I hope they can figure it out. I like the character and I thought Tatum was great in the role. I would love to see more…if it can be some right.

Does Magic Mike Make Me Believe In Magic?

My roommate, who is straight, has a strange crush on Channing Tatum. I like the guy well enough and thought he was a pleasure to watch in 21 Jump Street. But he also did some serious crap like GI Joe and its terrible sequel (I saw it and, yes, it is terrible). Magic Mike is loosely based on Tatum’s pre-acting experiences as a male stripper and it is directed by Stephen Soderbergh so I was intrigued.

The movie co-stars Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, and Olivia Munn. On the surface it looks like a “Don’t judge a book by its cover” type movie about a male stripper who is capable of much more and the love of a good woman can turn his life around. If that’s all it is that’s okay. Depending on the talent of writers, actors and director those movies can still be good. If it’s more than that the movie can be great. Which one is Magic Mike?

Having viewed it as objectively as possible given that the fat lady sitting next to me would fart every time she laughed I can say Magic Mike exceeded expectations. The movie was less about a man giving up his lifestyle for the love of a good woman and more about a man trapped in a life he claims he wants out of and dragging others into it.

Channing Tatum was great in the film. This is his second movie with Soderbergh now (the first being last years Haywire) and his performance was solid. But he wasn’t really the only lead. Alex Pettyfer was very good as the young and impressionable kid Mike brings into the life.

There were certain similarities to Boogie Nights on the surface but the film quickly tried to distance itself and be its own. It definitely succeeded. The only thing I feel didn’t work was Cody Horn. She spent the majority of the film acting too self righteous. I felt like a different actress could have brought more depth to the role.

This movie is highly entertaining and anyone who watches it will find something to like. Whether you just want to see buff men dancing around half naked or you want imagine yourself in that lifestyle. If you’re a fan of a good character driven story about flawed people you can find here.

4 out 5 stars.