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G.I. Joe: Retaliation

USA 2013
Starts March 28

Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Writing credits: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Channing Tatum, Jonathan Pryce, Bruce Willis
Length: 110 minutes

g.i. Joe-RetaliationIn Jon M. Chu's sequel to 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, the Joes find themselves fighting not just against their mortal enemies the Cobras, but also against the very people they were sworn to fight for, the United States government. With the government infiltrated with Cobra agents even at the highest level, will the Joes be able to take back their country before it’s too late?

There is a very important aspect of G.I. Joe: Retaliation that needs to be said right off the bat -- apparently the screenwriters think that sexism is funny. The major subplot is about Jaye (Palicki), the female G.I. Joe, who has daddy issues because he didn't believe that women should be in the military. This is not an invalid issue to raise in a movie that is heavily focused on men and their guns, especially in a world where many still believe that women can't be as accomplished in the military as men. However, Jaye is quite the super soldier, so this could have been an excellent chance to examine the issue. Enter General Joe Colton (Willis) who is also of the old guard, and proceeds to not ever call Jaye by her actual name, and instead makes her do things like give him pens. Cue laughter in the audience. Oh ho ho, look at old soldier being mean to the tough girl wannabe. After quite a bit of sexism, he chooses her to accompany him on a mission and says how proud her father would be about her skills, and she is all happy. Because all women yearn for recognition from sexist men who are stuck in the old ways. He doesn't apologize for his previous actions, because it was all part of some sick test that women apparently have to go through to prove they're good enough apparently. Even worse than the old General, is that Jaye's own fellow soldier, Flint (Cotrona), thinks it’s acceptable to secretly watch her strip after a mission. Talk about a lack of respect for a senior soldier, but the audience is supposed to accept it because who wouldn't want to look at a beautiful woman stripping... ignoring the fact that it is pretty despicable. I am not sure why the screenwriters seemed to be working so hard to undermine such a great, strong female character, but instead of opening an interesting dialogue that may have made G.I. Joe: Retaliation interesting and original, they just fell back into old clichés.

Other than the sexism, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an alright action film. The fight scenes are entertaining and the story, while not very fresh, manages to sustain the action. Despite the fact that I am starting to believe that Hollywood has it out for the rare female viewer of action movies (this film has a moment very similar to The Expendables 2, where I gaped at the screen after a major scene and wondered why I was still watching the movie if the eye candy was gone.) Other than that, it is a no-frills movie, which to be honest, leaves little to be remembered a few days after viewing. ()

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