Channing Tatum (left), D.J. Cotrona and Dwayne Johnson are abs-olutely dreadful.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (Jon M. Chu). 111 minutes. Opens today (Thursday, March 28). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: N
If you want to understand why the rest of the world hates the United States, look no further than the new G.I. Joe movie. Loaded with cartoon violence - bad guys wrapped in keffiyehs gunned down with no troubling gore to suggest consequences - and jokes about North Korea, Retaliation's the latest addition to Hollywood's growing pile of arch-conservative fantasies.
After being framed for stealing nuclear weapons, three Joes (Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki) sneak back into America to stop Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) and a shape-shifting terrorist impersonating the president (Jonathan Pryce, who's very good, considering). A subplot involving ninja Joes Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) joining forces with the evil Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) sets up the niftiest action sequence - a sweeping mountainside sword fight evoking Chinese wuxia films.
Some swift sword-clanking aside, Retaliation is dreadful. The action is dominated by jittery cinematography, the jokes clunk (even the reliably spry Johnson is wasted here), and the politics are abysmal, culminating in a battle at Fort Sumter between the Joes (aided by a well-armed civilian paramilitary) and Cobra's forces that bogusly sets the stage for a second Civil War.
This is screaming-eagle jingoism at its most meat-headed and infantile: Zero Dark Thirty for babies.