GI Joe: Retaliation (2013) is all about relationships
The second installment of the GI Joe franchise, Retaliation, follows the original story but loses most of its original heroes, but also gives room for other Joes to shine.
This is quite ironic as the underlying theme is about friendships and bonds thicker than blood.
You won’t find most of the characters in the first installment, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, except for Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes and Duke. Unfortunately, Duke gets knocked off early into the film leaving a new cast of characters for GI Joe: Retaliation.
Oops, I almost forgot, the original bad guys are back with Jonathan Pryce (President/Zartan), Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow) and Arnold Vosloo (Zartan), all reprising their roles.
We are also introduced to ex-Joe turned villain, Firefly (Ray Stevenson).
The new set of Joes includes a Jaye and a Jinx; a deadly female ninja from the same clan as Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow’s cousin, bringing variety to the stereotypical male role.
In GI Joe: Retaliation, there is an ambush ordered by the Zartan, posing as the President of the United States (US), which nearly wipes out the entire GI Joe team. Fortunately, Roadblock played by the bulky Dwayne Johnson, Lady Jaye (portrayed by the luscious Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J Cotrona) survive the attack.
The main theme in the film is on relationships.
Roadblock and Duke are best mates and when the Joes are killed, including Duke, the team retaliates with full force. Unfortunately, I found it prompted questions about Duke’s former best buddy in Rise of Cobra, Ripcord (played by funnyman Marlon Wayans), and the rest of the team.
The relationship between Duke and Roadblock is portrayed in the battlefield and home environment indicating how close they are. There is also a sexual pun on their bond, and might take a jab at homosexuality in the military (I’m just saying).
Then you have Jaye who joined the Joes to prove herself to her military father. However, the main focus is on the relationship between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes.
Retaliation closes a chapter in the ongoing feud between the two deadly ninjas and solves the riddle to who actually killed their master and why. It’s a revealing close for the chapter but it’s not the end.
We also introduced to the original GI Joe, played by the aging action star Bruce Willis, who becomes a substitute for Jaye’s father. It’s almost like Willis reprising his John McClane character as a Joe and channeling that father-daughter relationship he had to Jane.
Willis’ character is the original GI Joe, General Joseph “GI Joe” Colton.
GI Joe: Retaliation uses 3D to its advantage and brings a heightened sense of realism to the mountain fights between Snake Eyes, Jinx and the bad ninjas. I had to duck and dodge a couple times…and so did the guy sitting next to me.
Overall, this GI Joe installment is a new breed of heroes fighting an old, unseen enemy and ends with a big bang – a few to be exact. However, it still leaves room for a further installment.