G.I. Joe: Retaliation
A Live Blog
Full disclosure before we begin: I have not seen the first G.I. Joe movie that Retaliation is the sequel to. So I’m going in blind, kids! I’ll just be shooting in the dark. But I have confidence in my ability to bring you a superlative product despite my lack of preparation. So strap in and let’s get ready to rummmmmmbllllllleee. ... Yep, I don’t remember any G.I. Joe taglines so you get old school WWF before the wildlife reclaimed it. Also it must be said the extent of my G.I. Joe knowledge comes exclusively from the PSA parodies. Clearly I’m ready. (All these live blogs have been Ginger’s fault, by the way. She picks the dumbest movies on Netflix and then prods me to live blog them.)
1:00 A full minute of dramatic production titles. *yawn*
1:24 Covert ops dudes are sneaking up to a fence at night. The Rock is there.
1:47 The Rock has laser hands. Or... I don’t know. I don’t know. But the fence has been cut.
2:25 Running! Some kind of foreign enemy shooting from the top of towers!
2:48 Is that Charming Potato?
2:49 Confirmed. Potato confirmed.
3:21 That guy beside the girl vaguely looks like Joseph Mazzello. Is that Joseph Mazzello? The kid from Jurassic Park?
3:42 Voice over! Thank god the opening credits are comprised entirely of character photos and identification explaining exactly who is who. I feel prepared. Some good guy dudes are going up against some bad guy dudes.
4:53 Charming Potato and The Rock are playing a video game and bickering like an old married couple.
5:36 Small squealing girl children who may belong to The Rock are attacking Charming Potato with plush animals. I am so confused by this movie right now. Is this G.I. Joe or a documentary on kids who still play with G.I. Joes?
6:39 Ginger: “Is that Joe Biden?”
Me: “Joe Biden is an actual political figure.”
Ginger: “Not Joe Biden. I meant McCain.”
Me: “It’s actually Jonathan Pryce. The actor.”
6:45 So basically the Pentagon officials are debating whether or not to go into Pakistan which is in a state of civil war or something? And Joe Biden wants recommendations so one dude says “wait and see” and another dude says “go in” so Joe Biden says “Get me the G.I. Joes” which, you guys, actually sounds legitimately like something Joe Biden would say.
7:24 G.I. Joes are in an airplane being all camo and tough.
7:35 The Rock advised Joseph Mazzello to put a live round in his teeth when he jumps out of the plane to keep his teeth from chattering. The Rock is officially the worst Dear Abby ever.
8:32 A bunch of blather about weapons and whatever. Blah blah testosterone. Blah blah booya rah rah.
9:15 Charming Potato: “Drive it like you stole it.” I agree with The Rock here when he says “As your friend, you need a new catchphrase.” Damn it, movie! What are you doing to me? You’re subverting everything I trust.
9:53 Guys are falling to earth beside a silo thing and shooting automatic weapons at the ground. I am completely confused again.
10:31 G.I. Joes are fighting various criminal stereotypes with badass attitude and maximum destruction.
11:05 Bullets! Somebody said “stick to the plan” which reminds me of one of the Fast and Furious movies in which Vin Diesel informed us that the plan is “we stick together”. Words I will never forget. So thank you, Vin, I think I understand now.
12:33 The White House. Daylight. This movie has more jump cuts than a trampoline.
12:50 Joe Biden is president! Or... yes? I believe he’s president.
13:16 Back in the field with the Joes, The Bickersons are now betting on who can shoot the flame off a lit candle on a cupcake with what looks like an AK-47. Whatever, I don’t know guns but I know you don’t need bullets to blow out a candle.
14:00 Obviously the producer really wanted to make The Bickersons but was offered Charming Potato, The Rock, and a Hasbro toy so he just put it all in a blender and made the best of it.
15:30 Ginger: “Is it a fake Joe Biden? Is that what’s going on here?” Damn you guys, it’s hard to keep up with this movie. Fifteen minutes in and we have our first Mission: Impossible disguise thrown into the mix. Joe Biden is actually keeping the real Joe Biden prisoner in an underground bunker on the White House grounds. I typed the sentence but all I know is that it’s a sentence. Up is down, black is white, cats and dogs lay together!
16:15 Fake Joe Biden just cut his own face and it sort of prismed into another kind of blue face and then back into Joe Biden. I guess he’s a digital genie? Or...?
16:40 These guys are wearing snake pins. I don’t know much but I know I love you... and that these guys are Cobra Commander dudes.
17:35 Tears for Fears reference. Bold choice. Everybody does want to rule the world, though.
18:40 Meanwhile, back in the desert, the Joes are under sudden mysterious attack.
19:11 Charming Potato runs headlong into smoke and dust dramatically lit by mysterious blue lights. Explosions are all around. It’s all very dramatic if totally nonsensical since I have actually no idea what’s going on.
19:55 Somebody just died. A Joe, I think. Identification is hard when I’ve only had twenty minutes to care.
20:26 Joes are jumping into a well to escape the bombs overhead. Know what other movie did that? All of them.
21:32 If you’re a villain and you’re checking a well for possible escaped targets and you take the time to shoot a couple bullets into the water at the bottom just to make sure they’re not hiding down there (hint: they are), then take a moment more to do it right. Shoot a lot of bullets down there.
22:41 The Joes are climbing out of the well using the Kolvoord Starburst Maneuver. (Yes, nerdlings, that was a Star Trek: the Next Generation reference.)
23:32 Fake Joe Biden is busy televising a denouncement of the G.I. Joes and branding them traitors who assassinated the Pakistani president.
23:54 Fake Joe Biden announced Cobra as his new special forces and said “The G.I. Joes are dead”.
24:38 Is it possible that Charming Potato is dead? I think Charming Potato is dead. The Rock is very upset but in a manly, rugged and vengeful way.
25:38 Now we’re at some kind of other fenced-in bunker at night which is inexplicably playing Dean Martin over external loudspeakers. Could they not get rights to Jay-Z? G.I. Joes are secretly the Rat Pack? I got ninety-nine questions, son, and it's a bitch to answer one.
26:14 Boyd Crowder! I love him. Justified is great.
26:30 Ginger: “Is Snake Eyes a robot?”
Me: “Fucked if I know.”
26:53 Anyway, Boyd Crowder (who is definitely not playing Boyd Crowder because Boyd Crowder would never deign to be in this movie) is keeping possibly-robot Snake Eyes hostage in some insane underground lair that is subject to extreme thousand-degree heat without special cooling and has bodies in suits in special liquid-filled tanks. What? I don’t know. I don’t even know.
28:00 Ginger: “He’s a ninja.” Well that makes sense.
28:47 Boyd Crowder just called Tank Body One which is Cobra Commander, Tank Body Two which is Destro, and Snake Eyes his “fantasy football team”.
29:45 So Boyd removed Snake Eyes’ helmet and since he’s not disfigured he’s not the real Snake Eyes. Ginger has been doing research and apparently Snake Eyes is a disfigured ninja. But this guy is not disfigured so he’s another Mission: Impossible body swap, I guess.
31:00 The remaining Joes - which seem to be The Rock, grumpy dark-haired dude, and the girl - are trudging through the desert trying to figure out who to trust. The Rock doesn’t trust anybody but Snake Eyes. I would re-think that plan.
31:55 There’s a dude on a motorcycle at night somewhere else in the world releasing mysterious machine-bees into the air.
32:30 Jump cut back to the desert. The Joes have sighted a base.
33:02 Back to the machine-bees. Dude at a fence is confused by them.
33:17 Back to Boyd’s underground lair. Three bodies are in tanks now and one of them is apparently in cardiac arrest? There is a lot of panic going on.
34:12 Boyd just shot one of the other bodies in the tank.
34:28 Snake Eyes (?) escaped his tank. Yeah, I don’t know. I just don’t know. But he’s not wearing a shirt and he’s really cut so I’m choosing not to complain.
35:08 There was a quick jump cut back to the machine-bees elsewhere in the world and now we’re back in the lair and Snake Eyes (?) is fighting with a samurai sword? Which I can only assume he smuggled into the tank in his pants?
35:47 Back in the night scene motorcycle dude just rode his bike through the fence that the machine-bees apparently scouted for him.
36:33 One of the busted-out tank dudes is a pasty white faced guy who looks like a corpse and if I was more up on my Joes I’d know who he is.
37:04 We have names! Snake Eyes is not Snake Eyes, he’s Storm Shadow and White Face Corpse Dude is Cobra Commander.
37:48 Firefly? What kind of badass name is that for a motorcyle-riding machine-bee-wrangling villain? (I'm assuming villain based on gut instinct.)
38:13 Boyd, who is injured though I didn’t see that happen, shot one of the cooling tanks which is apparently filled with explosives. Nothing in this movie makes any sense, in case you’re wondering. You’re not missing anything. It’s just a bunch of quick cuts in either blue or yellow lighting and a lot of nameless people pretending to be other people.
39:43 Cobra Commander is in another yet another vast underground lair. And it houses planes and what I presume are Cobra-pawns. How many secret lairs do these guys maintain?
40:46 I can’t believe this movie has only been on for forty minutes and I’m already this bored and this damn confused. I don’t care who anybody is, I just want everybody to stop changing identity and for a single scene to last longer than five seconds at a time.
41:40 I’m gonna stop trying to assess this with my brain and just let my eyeballs absorb it. We’re in some kind of Japanese place where a kind of master is giving a lot of exposition in the guise of ‘teaching’ some karate ninja chick who is apparently fight-training with the actual Snake Eyes. Fine. I question nothing.
43:12 Is that Ice-T? I don’t think so but I’ll call him Ice-T Lite. Grumpy Joe is called Flynt and chick is called Lady Jaye. I have names now that The Rock is introducing Ice-T Lite to his bros. But I’m just going to keep calling them Grumpy Joe and Chick because that’s who they’re playing, make no mistake. That is what was written in the character bio.
44:53 The Rock said he can for sure trust Ice-T Lite because he’s family so that means he can not trust him at all. Movie logic operates under Opposite Day protocol.
47:17 Chick is doing savvy tech science stuff to dazzle the boys now. I’m upgrading her to Science Chick. She’s analyzing speech patterns. That’s CSI-level stuff right there. Props to you, Science Chick.
48:31 The Rock: “There’s a reason we call ourselves Joes.” What? That makes no fucking sense. Also by that logic everybody named Joe should be in their little club. Including Joe Biden.
49:15 What. The Fuck. Is Bruce Willis. Doing In. This Movie?
49:45 The Rock and Bruce Willis together is like a moody bald guy standoff.
50:27 “Great soldier. Better friend.” Well he asked for one thing you knew about Charming Potato, The Rock. That’s two things. Not a very good listener, are you?
51:18 Who the hell is Bruce Willis even playing? It’s got to be himself. If it isn’t himself he should be embarrassed.
51:55 Typical. Using Science Chick and her body to entrap a senior official. Like there’s no other way to get to a top-level official than by flashing legs and some cleavage. Bribery would never work. Brute force would never work. Misogyny is definitely best.
53:05 Look, there’s plot happening. The Joes took the senior official guy captive for a reason but I am not even going to pretend to know or care what that reason is. Something something Bruce Willis something.
53:30 Ginger: “Snake Eyes is really taking the long way, isn’t he?” And by long way she means he is apparently scaling the Himalayas instead of just, you know, flying.
54:54 So the Japanese training retreat is somewhere on a mountaintop and now Fake Snake Eyes and Snake Eyes are totally having a ninja fight in the hallway. And all the throwing stars are in slow motion because of reasons and science.
56:34 Billy Crystal’s wife from The Princess Bride is at this Japanese retreat and now she’s fighting what I presume is training girl from one of the previous scenes. Only she’s kind of dressed like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill if Uma always wore a face mask. This movie is a pastiche of whiffs of better movies stitched together with stupid and fleshed out with nonsense.
58:16 Kill Bill Girl and Snake Eyes just jumped off a mountaintop bridge and are now swinging through the Himalayas on wires? What? What even is happening? Who strings a series of wires between remote mountaintops for any reason at all?
59:45 This sequence is impressive-looking for sure. But it is also balls-out idiotic. A bunch of red ninjas are swinging between mountain cliffs run-fighting Kill Bill Girl and Snake Eyes. It’s like Inception meets The Matrix meets Cliffhanger if all of those movies made zero sense and had no identifiable characters in them.
1:02:04 I think this movie is giving me a rash.
1:02:19 Science Girl in a Jessica Rabbit red dress and wig is busting into some government dinner.
1:03:32 She’s posing as a reporter to see if she can figure out the president’s scam. He’s Joe Biden, he’s one of you! He’s a Joe! Also: yes, people always tell reporters their deepest secrets immediately.
1:04:56 Science Girl’s been made. And they’ve figured out that Fake Joe Biden is somebody called Zartan? Zartan. Sounds like an alien overlord. Or a laxative.
1:05:44 The Rock can’t take his assassin shot on Fake Joe Biden because of the machine-bees that suddenly besieged him. And I now realize they’re not machine-bees, they’re machine-fireflies. Firefly = fireflies. Yeah, yeah, I get there eventually.
1:07:10 Science Girl and Grumpy Joe just ran over Firefly to save The Rock. That’s the best mad-lib sentence ever composed, you guys!
1:08:12 Exposition Dude in the Japanese retreat is threatening to kill Storm Shadow for reasons that escape me. I assume because he didn’t successfully kill Snake Eyes? I don’t know. I don’t know.
1:10:29 And we have our first actual Mission: Impossible ripping-off-of-the-mask scene! Scooby Doo level unlocked.
1:12:00 Ginger: “I assume her dad is Bruce Willis.” There’s some backstory happening with Science Girl, you see. Unrelated to the mask scene because this movie is like an ADD child hopped up on Halloween candy.
1:13:20 Meanwhile, back in the White House underground bunker, Cobra Commander is threatening the real Joe Biden with technology or something. And something about a briefcase.
1:14:30 Joe camp. Snake Eyes ninja’d his way in and nearly got killed by the Joes. He brought Storm Shadow and Kill Bill Girl with him and there’s Mean Girls tension between everyone now. Nobody wants Storm Shadow to sit at the cool kid table in the cafeteria.
1:15:50 Jump to: Bruce Willis’ house in suburbia. In which there are guns and grenades and ammo stored in every cupboard and couch.
1:17:37 There’s something insane about seeing The Rock and Bruce Willis standing outside a suburban garage in broad daylight. I’m trying to imagine them going grocery shopping together. Or playing frisbee together.
1:19:09 I’ve given up tracking plot. Something is happening. There’s a hovercraft approaching some flag draped fort? This might be the UN.
1:20:05 Fake Joe Biden wants every nation to “clean out his nuclear closet” and says failure to do so will be considered an act of war.
1:21:20 This reminds me of many a great James Bond plot wherein Bad Guy Du Jour threatens some city or whatever with annihilation by missile then locks Bond in some slow-moving trap. Classic Bond movies were so fantastic. This movie is not.
1:22:50 So because Fake Joe Biden launched his missile from a briefcase computer, all the other world leaders are super-pissed and needing to assert their manhood so every country is now launching missiles from a briefcase computer. You guys, if this is how nuclear war happened we wouldn’t even be here any more. This is the dumbest standoff ever. Because everybody dies. And it’s all just posturing bullshit anyway. You know Fake Joe Biden is playing mind games. You know what movie this has been done in before? Yes, all of them.
1:26:08 Somehow four minutes passed. I don’t know what happened to those four minutes. I don’t know where I went. Who am I?
1:26:47 Oh snap, Fake Joe Biden just blew up London! I’m back. I’m paying attention again.
1:27:40 Cobra Commander banners just unfurled between the White House pillars.
1:28:46 Bruce Willis gave The Rock a sweet tank so he’s advancing on wherever the UN standoff is happening. And for some reason he’s driving through like a thousand explosions.
1:28:48 The Rock just jumped the tank through the air. That... is not a thing that tanks can do.
1:29:55 Meanwhile, back in the UN, everybody was kung fu fighting.
1:31:05 Bunker dude guarding real Joe Biden just asked for a sit rep. Totes, he needs one of those.
1:32:32 Bruce Willis is a general, I guess, and he and Science Chick just rescued real Joe Biden. That sit rep didn’t come fast enough. Guard dude is toast.
1:33:32 So when Fake Joe Biden is stabbed with a katana his true face appears. And it’s not Joe Biden, it’s random bald dude who vaguely resembles Jon Voight.
1:34:21 Helicopter. I don’t what anything means anymore. (If I ever did.)
1:34:40 Motorcycle and tank. The Rock is chasing Firefly. I wonder if The Rock beats Firefly or only Scissors?
1:35:46 Hovercraft under bridge? I don’t know.
1:35:59 Satellite. Over earth. There are so many jump cuts I feel like I have whiplash.
1:36:55 I can’t be sure because my brain tapped out awhile ago, but I think The Rock was attempting to punch bullets out of the air there.
1:37:48 The Rock beats Satellite.
1:38:29 And The Rock also just blew up Firefly. But what of the machine-fireflies? Now they are homeless orphans!
1:39:17 Studly sweaty walking to electric guitar soundtrack. Joes are triumphant. Rawk!
1:39:53 And cut to obligatory medal ceremony at which Bruce Willis reveals that he is totally Science Chick’s father. No, what? This is my surprised face: ........
1:41:14 The Rock just shot a gun and the end credits crashed onscreen. I don’t even know. This whole movie was Ginger’s idea, you guys.
- Corinne Simpson