This week I take a look at the psuedo-sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Dennis Quaid and Marlon Wayans were upgraded to Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which is an instant major improvement) and the Stephanie Meyer adaptation The Host. Are either worth your hard-earned cash? Read my reviews below!
GI JOE: RETALIATION REVIEW (GRADE: C)
As a tribute to the simple pleasures best enjoyed by teenage males, G.I. Joe- Retaliation delivers the goods, even as it fails spectacularly in every other way. That there's fun to be had at all, of course, makes this a huge improvement over the first installment. Here's what you'll find in this enjoyably stupid sequel to the painfully stupid original film: an almost entirely new cast, ninjas, explosions, gunfights, underground prisons, butt-kicking grannies, a sword-fight on the side of a cliff, a major city completely destroyed, genuine athleticism, two attractive females, more explosions, jets, bomber planes, tanks, fistfights, Bruce Willis firing a big gun, martial arts, The Rock firing an even bigger gun, Jonathan Pryce relishing his cheesy villain dialogue, and more explosions. That about covers it.
Here's what you won't find: action that obeys the laws of physics, a cohesive story, drama that doesn't unintentionally inspire fits of laughter, any regard for human life, intelligent screenwriting, the avoidance of action movie cliches, and characters defined beyond their looks, fighting skills, and/or the ability to be played by a celebrity.
The movie is aggressively silly; its story is all over the map. It doesn't matter if you've seen the first one or not. This is literally like a child's play fantasy captured on film with impressive visuals and more violence, which is fitting since it's is based off of a line of Hasbro action figures. Like Andy's play fantasies in the Toy Story films (death by monkeys, force-field dogs vs tyrannosaurs, cowboys and spacemen vs pig dictators), GI Joe: Retaliation throws a bunch of disparate elements into a creative blender and comes up with immature fun that has no basis in the real world, emotionally, logically, or otherwise.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: GI Joe- Retaliation is rated PG-13. It has a few scattered mild-to-moderate profanities. The camera lingers on a woman in skimpy jogging attire, and later on the same woman in a slinky red dress, and again on a man watching her reflection on a TV screen as she changes clothes (obscured, in her underwear). There is plentiful action violence, with multiple deaths by shooting, stabbing, and explosion (though it's all bloodless).
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: To protect our freedom, homes, and families, we are morally justified in using force to oppose tyranny (Alma 43:45-47).