FlixChatter Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation

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Well I believe I know why Paramount decided to delay the release of this film from last June to March of this year. Their excuse was that they wanted to add 3D effects to the film but rumors were all over the internet that they also wanted to beef up Channing Tatum’s role. Those excuses were credible but I think the real reason why they delayed it from a Summer release to Spring is because the film is pretty bad. I’m assuming some executives high up in the food chain saw it and realized they have a turkey on their hands and didn’t want to spend more money promoting it in the busy and competitive Summer movie season.

The film picks up right where the first one ended, if you remember Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) who masqueraded as the US President, is still in charge of the White House, while the real President (Jonathan Pryce) is being kept captive at a secret place. Duke (Channing Tatum) is now the captain of the elite squad G.I. Joe. His second in command is Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), a new addition to the franchise. As the film begins, the Joe team is being tasked by the President to retrieve a nuclear bomb from a terrorist group somewhere in Afghanistan. They succeeded but later the entire Joe team got ambush and only a few of them survived. I’m not gonna go into more details about the plot and to be honest, who really cares right? You go into this kind of film for the action, not the plot. Also, returning to the franchise are fans favorite Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his nemesis Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee). There’s a subplot that involves Storm Shadow and Zartan that didn’t make a lick of sense, but again who cares.

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Not returning to the franchise is director Stephen Sommers, stepping in behind the cameras this time is Jon Chu, whose previous films were Step Up 2 and 3 and he also directed a bunch of music videos. Upon landing the directing gig for this film, Chu said he wanted to make sequel more realistic and grounded. Well I guess he achieved that, but unfortunately it didn’t work for the film. I thought by making the movie more *realistic,* it took away all the fun and it bored me to death. Seriously, for an action picture, the film just dragged on and on and on. The action scenes weren’t exciting or original. In the first film, the action scenes were over-the-top but at least those sequences were fun to watch. Chu also doesn’t know how to build up tension, it seemed the action just happens for no reason than to include the action, maybe he thought people would get bored if he doesn’t pepper the film with fight/shoot-out scenes.

Then there’s the 3D, wow seriously this was probably the worst 3D conversion I’ve seen so far and trust me I’ve seen a lot of bad ones. If you really want to see this movie, I highly recommend you see it in 2D. The film has a ton of action and fast movements so it’ll give you a headache if you see it in 3D. I think the only sequence that worked in 3D was the scene where Snake Eyes and his side kick battles a bunch of ninjas on the mountains. Other than that scene, there’s no reason for this film to be shown in that format.

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You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mention Bruce Willis yet. Well to be honest, I don’t why he even agreed to star in the film. He didn’t have much to do nor appear on screen that long. I guess Mr. McClane will accept any role they offer him these days [shrug]

It’s only March but I’m quite sure G.I. Joe: Retaliation will make it to my top WORST film of the year. My recommendation is to save your money and maybe rent it if you’re feeling bored on some weekend. Or better yet, wait ’til it airs on TV so you don’t even have to pay for it.

– Review by Ted S.

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1 out of 5 reels

Well, did you see the movie? What did you think?

5 Films That Are Better Than the Books They Are Based On

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Every time Hollywood studios turn popular books into films, most fans of the books will always coin the term “The book is better”. I’m quite sure fans of The Hobbit and Jack Reacher books are already saying that. Most of the time they’re right, as an avid reader myself, I used that term many times after I saw a film based on a book that I read and liked. I believe some books just aren’t meant for the big screen, for example Cormac McCarthy’s The Road was an excellent novel but the film version was average at best. I think the story just fit better in the written form and just didn’t transfer well onto the big screen. Then there are Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower books which Ron Howard is still trying to get off the ground. I’m a huge fan of the books but I just don’t know if it will translate well into films.

Once in a while though, Hollywood actually made films that ended up being better than its original source. Below are the films I thought were better than the book version.

 

5. The Hunt For Red October

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This film was based on Tom Clancy’s popular book was one of the biggest hits of 1990. I have to confess that I saw the film version first before reading the novel, but usually I ended up loving the book more. But for this one I firmly believe the film version is superior. To me the book has too much going on with introduction to so many characters while the film only focuses on the hunt for the submarine, Red October. Also, with the excellent performances by Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Scott Glenn, Sam Neil and James Earl Jones and a tight direction by John McTiernan, it’s a great thriller.

4. Misery

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Stephen King was one of my favorite writers growing up, I think I’ve read most of his novels, even the bad ones. So when it was announced that the film version of Misery was coming out, I decided to read the book before seeing the film. I thought it’s an excellent novel but I had second thought about seeing the film version. If you read the book then you know how gruesome it was. To my surprise when I finally saw the film, most of the gruesome stuff was never shown and I think that made the film much better than the book. Kathy Bates was perfectly cast as the crazy Annie and James Caan was excellent as the helpless Paul Sheldon. Rob Reiner decided to turn it into a psychological thriller instead of horror worked perfectly in my opinion. Yes he showed us the infamous leg smashing scene but in the book, Annie chopped off one of Paul’s legs with an axe, so yeah I did not want to see that on the screen.

3. Children of Men

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Based on P.D. James’ 1992 novel The Children of Men, director Alfonso Cuarón did a wonderful job of capturing what James wrote on the pages and also injected his own interpretation to the story. The book start out kind of slow but once the plot kicked in, it’s very similar to the film version. Of course the film cut out a few things from the book, for example in the book, all young people was viewed as celebrities because of their youth and that old people were forced into committing suicide. I was hoping to see that get a mention in the film. But the main reason I thought the film version was better is because it didn’t have a clichéd Hollywood ending, while the book’s ending has this sort of high noon standoff shootout that I didn’t think fit the story whatsoever. I’m glad Cuaron changed it and made it into sort of open to interpretation as to what’s going to happen to that society.

2. No Country for Old Men

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I’m a big fan of Cormac McCarthy and I’ve never thought that anyone could ever turn one of his books into a great film, let alone made it better than his written words. But that’s what happened here. The Coen Brothers’ film version is to me a near masterpiece, they were able to translate McCarthy’s beautiful written words into an almost flawless motion picture. The casting of Tommy Lee Jones as the old man who can’t seem to grasp the ever-changing violence in modern day society is pitch perfect. Then of course the performance by Javier Bardem as the unstoppable killer Anton Chigurh was pretty incredible. I can watch that scene where he picked on the clerk at a gas station over and over again. I went back and read the book again after seeing the film and I still believe the film’s better.

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a.k.a Blade Runner

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I’ve read a lot of Phillip K. Dick’s work and this book may have been his most straightforward story. In the film, Ridley Scott was able to expand some of the concepts in Dick’s book and made them even better in my opinion. I think one of the main reasons why I prefer the film version is because the book has too much religious theme for my liking. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; just that I’m not a religious person. Also, in the book the Replicants or robots that Deckard was hunting for didn’t have a personality, while in the film they acted and talked like humans. But the main reason why I prefer the film is because I believe it has a deeper meaning than the book. What I got out of the film was that we as human takes life for granted while these Replicants would do anything, including murder, to live longer. The tears in rain speech Roy gave to Deckard near the end sums up nicely of why he saved Deckard’s life, a beautiful scene.

[rtm note: Check out my related Blade Runner musings… What Does It Mean to Be Humans?
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– Post by Ted S.
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So those are some films I thought were better than their original source, do you have other films you’d like to add to the list?