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April 5th, 2013

Movie Review - GI Joe: Retaliation

G.I.Joe Retaliation

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jonathan Pryce, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Stevenson, Ray Park, Channing Tatum, Elodie Yung, DJ Cotrona, Walton Goggins, Luke Bracey, Arnold Vosloo,  Bruce Willis, and more.

Directed by: Jon M Chu Written by: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Cinematography by: Stephen F Windon Original Music by: Henry Jackman

Premise: After finishing a huge op to recover nukes from Pakistan after its President is assassinated, the Joe's get ambushed and almost wiped out when sneak attacked in the desert. Roadblock, Lady Jaye, and Flint let the world think they died with the rest of their friends as they seek to find out what happened. Soon, they realize Cobra is involved. And they're going to make them pay. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson show great rapport with each other as Duke and Roadblock - wish they'd kept on with that. Adrianne Palicki manages to look both tough and sexy as Lady Jaye. Ray Park once more brings his considerable skills in playing Snake Eyes (And while this suit was better than the one used in 2009, the look is sadly not quite there yet.) and imparting moods or opinions with body language. Jonathan Pryce got the double fun of playing the President and his own evil replacement. Walton Goggins dazzled as Warden Nigel James, being both saucy and fan boyish about his important prisoners.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: With the Joes and Cobra one expects toys, explosions, fire fights, and general chaos. We get plenty of that! I especially loved Firefly and his little bugs as well as his multi-rocket bomb motorcycle.

The Tibetan like monastery in the mountains looked awesome. The fights with masked ninjas and the rope hopping along the sheer cliffs, as Snake Eyes and Jinx try to make their escape, were totally fun.

3) Story - Neutral: Sadly, a lot of the enjoyment of the film was sucked away by the pockets of ignored reality in the plot. My husband, who is totally a fan of explosions and gunfights, was so brought down by the lack of explanations on how certain things were achieved (Like replacing a large portion of the secret service without anyone being the wiser) that it really dropped his final rating. Explanations that would have taken only a moment to impart could have corrected this, but without them the plot seemed heavily contrived just to make certain events occur. (Don't get him or me started on the destruct button on Cobra Commander's briefcase for the satellites. That made no sense whatsoever - he had the world in his grip.)

Protocols at the holding facility were rather poor and not followed. If they'd capped the open container back instead of shooting it, problem solved. It was amazing at the number of thick doors not used in several different places to keep the people out, but rather were left open with guards moving outside, leaving them pretty much accessible, when they wouldn't have been otherwise.

Another sad point was the lack of prominence by certain characters. If they were used in the first film, they almost had no place or were not even present for the second. We saw more of Storm Shadow than Snake Eyes. And Cobra Commander pretty much just walked in and out of places without doing much. Even the plan being activated during the film didn't come from him. It was in full swing when he got there.

So despite the great work from all the other departments, the bad plot pretty much sunk the whole ship.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Tons and tons of great fight scenes. They did get a little too close when filming them on them on occasion and shook them a bit more than necessary, but overall were quite good. I especially enjoyed the fist and gun fight between Roadblock and Firefly towards the end. The ninjas on ropes combat was quite entertaining as well. And watching the Joes in action in the two sections at the beginning was quite satisfying.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Great shots of places like Tokyo, Washington DC, the monastery in the mountains, and more. The interiors of these same places matched the exteriors therefore keeping the symmetry of the locations, which worked well.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The Joes sweated, got hurt, got dirty, and Lady Jaye never looked like she'd just walked out of a Salon except on the mission where she was supposed to, so kudos for that.

Conclusion: Fun action scenes, cool fights, and fun weaponry! But these are sadly spoiled by the contrived and thin plot. If you go in knowing the story itself needs help and ignore most of it, you're liable to better enjoy all the good stuff that's definitely there.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better For Matinee)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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