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G.I. Joe: Retaliation Review Critics


Dave White Profile

War dolls succeed at teaching death to kids. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    I won't pretend that I had a great time watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The directive behind this sequel, clearly, was non-stop action. Let's think about that phrase a second. Do we really want our action movies to deliver action that does not stop? Ever? I get a little tired of action sequences that won't stop.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    A more sure-footed shoot-'em-up that finds some heart, wit and perhaps enough momentum to spawn a formidable action franchise.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    It's well-executed technocratic action fluff. But it did leave me buzzed rather than drained.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    So fetishistic about high-powered weapons that it qualifies as an NRA wet dream, G.I. Joe: Retaliation pretty accurately reflects the franchise's comic book and cartoon origins, which is both a good and a bad thing: good if you're a 12- to 15-year-old boy, bad if you're just about anyone else.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Teens may like violent sequel, but it's too much for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that G.I. Joe: Retaliation is the sequel to the much-maligned but financially successful G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, though it has many different characters (and, frankly, is far more entertaining, in a guilty-pleasure way). Like the first movie, Retaliation was inspired by the '80s cartoon/toy line and has constant (albeit minimally bloody/gory) action violence. Kids will likely want to see it because they're the ones who play with the toys, but there's a ton of fighting, punching, chasing, and explosions. And the city of London is systematically destroyed in one sequence, with apparently no consequences. A sexy female member of the team twice dresses in revealing clothing to distract men and get necessary information. She also undresses while a member of her team tries not to look. Language is limited to "hell" and "ass," though there are also two middle-finger gestures and one interrupted "mother-." While revenge is a running theme/motive, there are also messages about teamwork and characters learning to better themselves. Ultimately, because this sequel takes itself less seriously than the first movie did, it has a bit less edge and is a better fit for teens.

  • Families can talk about G.I. Joe: Retaliation's violence. Do bloodless deaths have less impact than gorier ones?
  • It's also worth talking about the consumerism side of things. What do kids make of the fact that this is a movie based on a line of toys? Is the movie's goal to sell more toys? If not, what is it?
  • How does teamwork play into the movie? How well do these characters work together? How do their strengths and weaknesses mesh?
  • When Jaye uses her sex appeal to get information, what message does that send? How is using her body in this way different from using your body in a fight or a battle?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Amid the nonstop action violence -- and the strong running theme of retaliation -- are some positive messages. The main one is teamwork, wherein many different people learn to work together, including one bad guy (Storm Shadow), who teams up with his enemies against a greater threat. The movie also has a message about the destructive horror of war, but that doesn't change the fact that revenge is a big motivation.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Whether or not you view these characters as positive role models may depend on your opinion of the military, but the movie certainly presents them in a very positive light -- working together, respecting each other, showing bravery in the face of dismal odds, training to the point of excellence, etc. One character is shown to have grown up in a tough neighborhood and learned to better himself. On the downside, the female member of the team (who tries to show that women are just as powerful as men) is expected to use her sex appeal to get certain kinds of information from the bad guys.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Constant strong (albeit fairly bloodless) action violence, the most terrible of which is probably the systematic destruction of London, which is dealt with lightly and seems to have no consequences. Also lots of fighting/hand-to-hand combat and punching (with some cuts and bruises), bloodless shooting of weapons, chase scenes, and explosions. There are also martial arts fighting sequences, with shurikens and sai swords.

  • sex false2

    Sex: The female member of the team dresses in a low-cut, tight red dress to get into an exclusive party. Later, she changes out of the dress while a male member of her team tries not to watch, but he accidentally catches a distorted reflection of her in a shiny surface. Her nearly naked bottom can be (sort of) glimpsed. She also dresses up in a revealing jogging suit (and bends over) to trick a man into giving up information. Also some mild, joking sexual innuendo between male friends.

  • language false2

    Language: Several uses of "hell," and a few uses of "ass" and "damn." One character uses two middle finger gestures. The main character says "mother-" but is interrupted before he can finish the second half of the word.

  • consumerism false4

    Consumerism: The film is based on a cartoon series that itself was based on a toy line (and the movie was actually co-produced by Hasbro, which makes those toys), so you could argue that the whole thing is an exercise in product placement. Other brands include Angry Birds and Under Armour.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable