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G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation 4K Reviews

With “Snake Eyes” hitting the screens, Paramount has released the first 2 live-action G.I. Joe movies on 4K.

The “G.I. Joe” franchise has always been ripe with big screen potential. Back in 2009, fans finally got the first live-action movie with  “G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.” which involved a Nanomites weapon, Duke and Ripcord joining the Joes, and the rise of the Cobra organization (as the title suggests). Under director Stephen Sommers, the movie does feel like someone literally playing with toys as it’s filled with action, explosions, vehicles, shootouts, giant bases, cameos, weaponry, and a whole lot of Joe and Cobra characters. In that respect, the movie works. It’s everything else that mostly falls flat.

The script by Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Lovett falls flat. There are far too many characters here and most of them have little to do. Only Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), Baroness (Sienna Miller), Destro (Christopher Eccleston) and Zartan (Arnold Vosloo)  are of interest (all Cobras). The Joes are quite boring especially with the wooden Channing Tatum as Duke as the lead. It’s a shame because the cast is filled with talent like Dennis Quaid, Marlon Wayans, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Park, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Rachel Nichols, Jonathan Pryce, Brendan Fraser, and Said Taghmaoui.

The biggest issue is that major story elements are botched. Cobra Commander is entirely ruined and the character design is so far off from the iconic look of the character. It’s even worse that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s talents were wasted on this abomination. Worse still, the script connects far too many characters with Duke, Ripcord, Baroness and Cobra Commander all knowing each other in the past. Baroness and Cobra Commander are even siblings! This is the type of material you’d see in “Austin Powers In Goldmember.”

The action can be exciting at times especially when Snake Eyes faces off against Storm Shadow. The movie is shockingly violent for a PG-13 movie aimed at children. As much as the action holds your interest though, there’s a heavy reliance on CGI (which has NOT aged well at all). There’s also some baffling sequences with robot accelerator suits and a camouflage suit. This feels like stuff you’d see in goofy 80’s action movies.

2013’s sequel “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” fares better than its predecessor. With Zlatan taking the form of the President, Cobra plots to eliminate the Joes for good as well as unleash their secret Zeus weapon. The few surviving Joes (Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint, Snake Eyes and Jinx) try to stop Cobra before the world is turned upside down.

Although there are a few familiar faces from the first film, much of the cast from the first film is gone. The new faces are welcome additions here especially The Rock as Roadblock, Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye, RZA as Blind Master and Walton Goggins as a Warden. The movie as a whole has less big action and less cast members, but it’s less bloated, more focused, and darker. It’s a little too dark in the end with the unnecessary and nauseating destruction of England scene which could have easily been avoided if the Joes stopped waiting around and took action to prevent it from ever happening. A truly puzzling choice by writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. It feels like destruction for the sake of destruction.

In terms of the action, ‘Retaliation’ has the best action sequence in all 3 films with the riveting mountain sequence featuring Snake Eyes and Jinx. More like this scene please.

Finally, it has to be said that they fixed Cobra Commander here. Although the voice is certainly not what we are used to, actor Luke Bracey fits the role and, more importantly, actually looks like Cobra Commander in this movie!


Presentation: 2.40:1 2160p. How do they look? ‘Cobra’ is not much of an upgrade to the Blu-ray. The picture quality is rather soft. ‘Retaliation’ fares much better here especially during the desert and snowy mountain scenes.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA for ‘Cobra’ and 7.1 Dolby TrueHD. How do they sound? Sadly, no 4K audio tracks for either film but they both still sound impressive (especially during action scenes).

“G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra” Extras:
* Commentary by director Stephen Sommers and producer Bob Ducsay.
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” Extras:
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* Commentary by director Jon M. Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura
* 3 deleted scenes
* “G.I. Joe: Declassified”- An 8 part extra that covers everything from shooting locations, action set pieces, the cast, sets, military and fight training and more. 

July 23, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Sounds like I might just watch this after my disappointment with Netflix Masters of the Universe

    Comment by Mykal K Grymm | July 25, 2021 | Reply

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