Action movies are fun, except when they’re irredeemably dumb or overly complex. You should be able to sit through a big-budget action flick, based on action toys, without being intimately familiar with the toys. That’s what bugs me about “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”
I don’t play with dolls, but I may have had a G.I. Joe when I was six or seven years old. I’m not familiar with all his sci-fi pals like Cobra, Zartan and Storm Shadow. But, “Retribution” is so scattershot in nature that you need a program to keep up with everyone except Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and General Colton (Bruce Willis). All of the other characters are a blur and the story is so slight that you are not inspired to keep up with everything.
In addition, the film was delayed from the summer of 2012 so it could be converted to 3D. Well, that didn’t work out. Yes, some of the 3D scenes are spectacular. But, then others are horrible. What’s that fuzzy thing in the foreground? Oh, it’s the back of someone’s head. By the time you figure out what you’re looking at, you realize that you’ve been drawn away from the key characters in the frame. The 3D conversion didn’t work.
The acting is over-the-top as you might expect with this kind of film. But, most of the scenes with Johnson and Willis were watchable and even fun. It’s too bad we’re never really sure who all those characters were. Box office prospects are good in the first weekend. I doubt if there will be much word-of-mouth. Grade: C-