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March 28, 2013
G.I. Joe, THE All-American (AND International) Hero For Global Box Office
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Let me say, I loathed 2009’s Rise of the Cobra. What I nicknamed “C.G.I. Joe,” the special effects heavy Hasbro movie was a noisy, incoherent and video game like plot which reinvented the all American Hero into Blackwater contracting for NATO. G.I. Joe: Retaliation cannot be worse than the original. At least, it has that going for it. Actually a little more. This G.I. Joe installment actually feels more American. Not in an obnoxious way, but more subtle, this is who we are. I found this to be the right tone. You don’t want to alienate an International audience, but an establishment of the core values of the franchise shouldn’t be hidden. They were on full display.
Even though many moments fail to generate an audience reaction like it was supposed to, I enjoyed the time away from reality. Other than an electric action sequence involving high scaling rock climbing ninjas, G.I. Joe: Retaliation doesn’t offer any other memorable moments. This was at least fun time. The high octane sequence was the best thing from G.I. Joe: Retaliation and what audiences will be buzzing about after the screening. The acting wasn’t good nor awful either. Though Adrianne Palicki (TV’s Friday Night Lights) knew how to wear a red dress in a pretty suspenseful, cat and mouse ball room scene.
Director Jon M. Chu has made a career from Step Up and a Justin Beiber concert movie and probably wasn’t the right fit for the movie. He didn’t have the gravitas and experience for making a movie on this scale. Casting The Rock and Channing Tatum has been good for the G.I. Joe series. In an era where Hollywood is unsure of an audience, Paramount knows the G.I. Joe base based on the casting of those two stars alone. The Rock appeals to numerous audiences including various ethnically diverse crowds playing strongly in middle America as well as densely populated urban areas. Bruce Willis has an action following hopefully not tarnished after last month’s Die Hard.
The Global Box Office is a phenomenon Hollywood is beginning to grasp and G.I. Joe: Retaliation has its bases covered for success. The International appeal of The Rock is as massive as his biceps. As the press notes stated, “Dwayne Johnson has solidified himself as a global box office success with gross film revenues in excess of 1.5 billion dollars worldwide.” That’s a brand any studio will want to get behind. Top that with International stars Byung-hun Lee and Elodie Yung are also featured in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and should significantly boost its overseas appeal. According to Variety, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is opening in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, U.K. Of course, China is always a force to be reckoned.
Despite the reviews, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a perfect father-son Saturday afternoon matinee movie primarily for American audiences. Sometimes that all you need when you go to the movies: a reason to go see something with someone.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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