G.I. Joe: Retaliation (12A/PG-13, 110 mins)
Director: Jon M. Chu
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
With more coherent action, a lot less dullness and the addition of a couple of star names to the cast, this dumb but passably entertaining sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is certainly miles better than a woeful first instalment that was largely gibberish. That’s not to say the plot here isn’t nonsensical, because it is, some foolishness about Cobra, the baddies, having created a doppelganger of the president (Jonathan Pryce), then threatening the world with a new super-weapon while a betrayal leads the Joes, the goodies, on a revenge mission. The arrival of Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson to the elite military team that is the Joes is a welcome one, and they punch and blow stuff up real good. There’s also more Channing Tatum to be had than was originally planned, with reshoots delaying this sequel’s release by nine months to cash in on him being one of the most popular stars of the past year, and he and Johnson share a nice dynamic. Some nifty gizmos and action sequences that are cool in ways that the core target audience of 12 year old boys will find pleasing are the movie’s bread and butter, but it’s whenever anyone has to open their mouths that it all starts to go wrong, with some truly honking dialogue. But the central sequence, a sensational ninja-tastic chase and swordfight on the side of a mountain, is good enough almost to make this a recommended watch.