Mom Squad Kids Club Movie Reviews Blog Our Monkey Max Party Ideas Healthy Family Tips Advertiser Spotlight Toy Reviews Book Reviews Kids Eat Free Moms Clubs & Groups
Movie Reviews


by Jane Louise Boursaw

Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial
arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language
Released in Theaters: April 5, 2013 (2D, 3D)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
110 minutes
Directed by:
John M. Chu
Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Jonathan Pryce, Byung-hun Lee,
Ray Park, Walton Goggins
Official Site:

When a brutal surprise attack takes out most of the G.I. Joes, they realize
they're not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they're also dealing
with threats inside the White House that jeopardize their very existence.

Mild flirting. A sexy female team member dresses in skimpy clothes to
distract men and get necessary information. She also undresses while
a member of her team tries not to look. Guys wear tight t-shirts and fight
shirtless in various scenes.

Tons of fighting, punching, chase scenes, explosions, gunfire and heavy
artillery, including tanks and other warfare equipment. The city of London
is destroyed in one brief scene. The body count is high, including a few
major characters, but we don't see anyone up close, and no blood is shown.

"Hell," "ass," and one interrupted "mother-." Two middle-finger gestures.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

Which Kids Will Like It?
Kids 14 and older who like movies with lots of action and explosions. This
movie is ok for teens, but too violent for younger kids who might be playing
with the G.I. Joe toys.

Will Parents Like It?
It's a fun movie for what it is -- a flimsy plot wrapped around handsome
people working together to save the world.

REVIEW: Remember that scene in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" where
Sarah and John Connor and their cyborg protector travel to the desert
where they're taken in by her renegade pals? Remember the underground
bunker where all the weapons and artillery were kept? Remember how
awesome that scene was when they opened the door, ventured down
into the dusty underground area, and saw all the weapons?

There's a scene like that in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," only it's not nearly as
awesome. In "Joe," the scene involves three team members who seek
out General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), now living a quiet life in suburbia.
When he realizes the scope of their problem (hang on, I'll get to that), he
starts opening closet doors, fake walls, kitchen drawers, etc., all of which
house vast amounts of high-powered assault weapons.

Every time I see a scene like that, my mind immediately goes to all the
school shootings, theater shootings, college campus shootings
(the list, sadly, goes on), and I wonder if the allure of these types of movie
scenes is wearing off. The weapons aren't impressive. They're just sad
and scary. And there's a ton of gun violence in this movie, although
there's no blood or gore, which I guess makes it a better fit for teens than
the previous movie, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

The movie begins with the G.I. Joes -- led by Duke (Channing Tatum) -- on
a mission to Pakistan. They quickly learn they've been set up, however, and
only Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), and Flint
(D.J. Cotrona) survive a brutal surprise attack.

Looking to avenge their fallen comrades, the surviving Joes learn that the
evil plot goes all the way up to the president of the United States
(Jonathan Pryce). Turns out, it's not actually the president, after all. Thanks
to some nifty nanotechnology, the real president is being held hostage while
a lookalike is running the free world. The nefarious organization Cobra is
controlling the White House and aims to take over the world with a terrifying
new weapon.

The Joes -- with help from old friends (the aforementioned General Colton),
old enemies and new allies -- must join forces to save the world.

Let's get real here. It's a flimsy plot that's been done hundreds of times on
the big screen. But we don't go to movies like "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" for the
plot anyway, do we? We go for the high action, explosive scenes, and
handsome people in t-shirts three sizes too small (that includes both men and women).
The movie knows that. We know that. No one's fooling anyone here.

I'm bummed that Channing Tatum is only in the movie for the first few
minutes, because 1) he's really nice to look at; and 2) he and Dwayne
Johnson have some funny scenes with snappy banter. Maybe they'll
figure out a way to revive him for the next "G.I. Joe" movie.

And even though I lamented General Colton's massive gun collection earlier,
there's something comforting about seeing Bruce Willis take out a few bad
guys. It's like sitting in your mom's house eating ice cream. It's like a little
bubble where all is right with the world.

This movie also manages to include a bunch of current events and pop
culture references: Fox News, North Korea, global warming, James Carville,
cool martial arts scenes (including one on the side of a cliff), slo-mo shots
of guys walking away from explosions, and cute lightning bug drones that
will take your head off if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" isn't the best movie of the year. It's not even the
best action movie of the year. But if you're in the mood to see a ridiculous
plot with stupid dialogue wrapped around handsome people saving
the planet, this is your movie.

One Reel – Even the Force can't save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV.
Visit her at or email