With its nuanced evaluation of modern warfare and the place of the soldier in today’s society, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION represents an innovative vision of armed conflict waged on a global scale. Oh, who are we kidding? G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is the second entry in the toy-based franchise, featuring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, and Ray Stevenson facing off the baddies of Cobra in order to make the world safe for… Not sure. Other toys, possibly?
Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski and Dan Persons discuss whether the film will leave audiences shouting “Yo, Joe!” or “Oh, no!” Then, reflecting the rather dizzying variety of new genre films released this past weekend, they discuss ROOM 237, a documentary that examines people’s surprisingly baroque relationships with Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING; WRONG, Quentin Dupieux’s latest dip into skewed reality; and Dan discusses the existential survival film, DETOUR.
Plus: What’s coming to theaters.
Third trailer for G.I. JOE: RETALIATION ups the ante even more. We’re not talking about just some guys with guns and tanks blowing each other up; now there’s an imposter taking the president’s place and using an outer-space super-weapon to destroy entire cities (like something out of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER). As with the second trailer, there seems to be an attempt to emphasize spectacular action that will look great in the post-production 3D conversion – which, along with reshoots, is the reason for the delay of the film’s release from last summer to March 29, 2013.
The second domestic trailer for G.I. JOE: RETALIATION shows off more high-tech science fiction elements, along with computer-generated imagery designed to knock out your eyeballs in 3D. There is also a suggestion of a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE-type plot involving an imposter replacing the President, and Channing Tatum is high-lighted a bit more in the first few seconds.
What’s the significance of all of this? The film – a sequel to G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (2009) – was originally scheduled to come out last year. After the disappointing box office performance of BATTLESHIP (also based on a Hasbro toyline), Paramount Pictures opted to delay G.I. JOE: RETALIATION until March 29, allowing time for a post-production 3D conversion and for reshoots. Deadline reported that the 3D was just a smokescreen to hide the decision to increase screen time for Tatum, who had appeared in the first film and whose character, Duke, was apparently to be killed off in the opening sequence of the sequel. Tatum’s star has risen thanks to appearances in 21 JUMP STREET and MAGIC MIKE, so summarily removing him from the sequel might not have been the best idea. An anonymous source told Deadline:
“The 3D is an excuse as to not reveal the Tatum of it all[.]”
However, producer Lorenzo De Bonaventura denied that Tatum was being emphasized in the reshoots, telling Crave Online:
“That is a complete rumor. I don’t know where that started. Literally, Channing shot for – if I have it wrong, I’m off by an hour – four hours, five hours? So it wasn’t really about that at all.”
Whatever the details behind the decision, a Hollywood studio does not delay a release at the last minute unless there are serious concerns about box office viability. However much was changed in the re-shoots, the second trailer suggests an effort to shift the marketing campaign toward an emphasis on 3D science fiction spectacle, along with the expected action-adventure.
This is the first trailer for G.I. JOE: RETALIATION – shown back when Paramount Pictures was planning to release the film during the summer of 2012. After the poor performance of BATTLESHIP in U.S. theatres (another film based on a Hasbro toy franchise), Paramount decided to delay the release, allowing time for re-shooting and for a 3D conversion. Jon M. Chu directed from a script by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick. The mostly new cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Walton Goggins, Joseph Mazzello, Ray Stevenson, Adrianne Palicki, RZA, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo, and Jonathan Pryce.
U.S. Theatrical release date: March 29, 2013.