Yo Joe! GI Joe: Retaliation hits cinemas today in 3D -- but can an action movie starring The Rock and Bruce Willis as 1980s toys stretch to two dimensions, let alone three?
The film is presented in 3D, and, frankly, I was dead excited about it. Sure, it's all very well banging on about valid storytelling reasons for 3D and all that, but all I really want to see are tank battles and stuff 'sploding and ninjas kicking each others' livers off all in overblown three dimensions. Sue me.
Sadly this is yet another retro-fitted 3D job, the 2D film held back to be jerry-rigged with an extra dimension. Aside from the odd bit of shrapnel flying out of the screen it doesn't add much, which is a shame: the larger-than-life and deliberately ridiculous vehicles and characters of GI Joe and Cobra could look great bursting out of the screen.
There is one sequence where the film comes alive, however, in terms of both general excitement and 3D thrills: a mountainside chopsocky scrap wherein Snake Eyes and Jinx take on a dojo-load of evil ninjas on swingy ropes, which is brilliant.
The rest of the action scenes are pretty samey, as is the cast. There's loads of goodies wandering about doing not very much, but too few colourful henchmen. It must be said, though, that Jonathan Pryce's lipsmacking turn as an evil US president is a hoot.
My biggest disappointment is Bruce Willis, who is criminally underused and lost amid the swarm of bland goodies. Willis has two speeds these days: putting in a bit of effort, like in Looper, or 'doing Bruce Willis': y'know, when he purses his lips, squints sideways and whispers stuff that's supposed to be funny because, hey, Bruce Willis is saying it. With his squinty Bruce Willis face on.
Guess which speed he's at here.
It's no Avengers Assemble, but GI Joe: Retaliation is funnier than it has any right to be. Channing Tatum and the Rock -- sorry, Dwayne Johnson -- are both charming and amusing screen presences, capable of carrying the humour-bypassed pretty boys around them. And the film has a sly sense of humour about the nefarious president, who jokes about Bono and plays Angry Birds while he launches nuclear missiles.
If you get bored, you can always ponder how the film is a hawkish parable about the technology-dependent American military-industrial complex's inevitable betrayal by civilian bureaucracy. Or just wonder what Ray Stevenson's accent is supposed to be.
Look, stuff blows up. Some bits are actually funny. There's ninjas in it. You know the drill.
And, after all, knowing is half the battle.
Are you excited about GI Joe: Retaliation? Have you seen any decent 3D movies lately? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.