By ignoring everything that made 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra a hugely entertaining guilty pleasure, the all-new writers and director of this sequel have made one of the most abrasively annoying action movies in recent memory. And even worse, they have indulged in exactly the same over-serious idiocy that the first film was gently lampooning. Instead, this is just a bombastic, incoherent, offensive mess.
Since the US President (Pryce) has been replaced by an evil doppelganger from the villainous Cobra organisation, he now sets about destroying his enemies, the elite G.I. Joe force. Led by Duke (Tatum), they're sent to collect some rogue nukes in Pakistan, and everything goes wrong. Now it's up to three off-the-grid Joes - meatlead leader Roadblock (Johnson), shy muscle-boy Flint (Cotrona) and tough-sexy Jaye (Palicki) - to stop Cobra's nefarious plan, whatever that might be. Their key opponents are Cobra goon Firefly (Stevenson) and ninja Storm Shadow (Lee), who's more complex than he looks. And the Joes have secret allies in Asian pals Jinx (Yung) and Snake Eyes (Park), as well as the original Joe himself (Willis).
The main problem here is that producer di Bonaventura forgot that it takes a lot of skill to make a stupid movie that's actually entertaining. Instead, this film is predictable and inane, with action scenes that stretch the limits even of stupid-movie plausibility (such as a ludicrous Spidey-style aerial battle in the Himalayas). And the fist-fights are impossible to see because they are confusingly directed, jarringly edited and then converted into unnecessary 3D. When everything explodes in every single chase scene, it becomes a bit boring really. And while there are gadgets everywhere, none of them are very cool.
Continue reading: G.I. Joe: Retaliation Review
Without too much regret, I can say that X-Men will be palatable to fans and newbies alike. It's not a great film, but it will probably follow the arc of the Superman and Batman movies -- tons of sequels of variable quality until an abrupt and dismal end a decade later.
Continue reading: X-Men Review
Continue reading: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review
If it weren't for director Wych "Kaos" Kaosayananda's laughably excessive use of slow-motion, the convoluted, monotonous, mindlessly flashy, espionage-action bomb "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" would be about 12 minutes long -- which might have made it almost watchable.
In a plot more scattershot than its endless, aimless rounds of ammunition, "Ballistic" kitchen-sinks together rival government intel agencies, microscopic assassination nano-bots, poorly faked deaths and new identities, a kidnapped kid that must be rescued in "less than 12 hours" for no explained reason, and rogue spies avenging their murdered families. It's nearly impossible to keep track of who's trying to kill whom and why, but that's of little importance to Bangkok film industry refugee Kaos. As long as somebody is getting shot or something is blowing up, he couldn't care less.
The uninspired bedlam that passes for action in this disaster isn't any more lucid than the story. Shrapnel-flying, cartwheel-turning shootout scenes are cheap, disorderly rip-offs from the "The Matrix." Wet asphalt used to give the movie a slick look makes for boring motorcycle "chases" that never exceed 40 mph (and even at that speed it's hard to say who's the chaser and who's the chasee). And Kaos seems to live by the mantra "why shoot at someone when you can set off explosions all around them -- and still miss?"
Continue reading: Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever Review
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