For many moviegoers, summer is a time for often crazy, action-laden movies that beg you not to pay too close attention to the plot and characterization. But you can wallow in just as much ludicrousness at home with G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
A sequel to 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the newer film has been accused of all kinds of box-office calculation. Its release to theaters was delayed for months after the studio decided to reprocess it for 3-D. The casting included not only Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson but Bruce Willis, who seems happy to show up for almost any movie with gunplay these days, and Channing Tatum, who had been in Cobra and became a huge star after it.
Tatum's role in Retaliation is relatively brief, but there were reports that the shooting of more Tatum footage was part of the reason for the delayed release. Director Jon M. Chu later denied that, saying an added scene with Tatum and Johnson had been shot before the delay and was substituted for another scene because the replacement better fit the movie's tone.
Still, underlying all those maneuvers is a silly, intermittently amusing movie enhanced by some excellent action stunts, including a mountaintop pursuit among ninjas that was especially effective in 3-D. The plot involves the return of villains from the first film, who before the movie gets very far have escaped a high-tech prison, infiltrated the White House, launched a devastating attack on the Joes (as the members of a military super-team are known) and set the world on a path toward nuclear Armageddon.
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What follows involves the ninjas, battles of the musclebound (notably Johnson versus Ray Stevenson), flying electronic bugs, rampant suspension of disbelief, Willis as the original G.I. Joe and supporting performances by Justified's Walton Goggins (who has hammy fun) and rapper RZA (who does not).
At no point should you ask too many questions about the plot or demand much of the actors.
The movie is being offered in three packages: standard DVD ($29.99), DVD/Blu-ray/digital combo ($39.99) and in a combo with the 3-D version ($49.99). Blu-ray extras include commentary by Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, deleted scenes and a half-dozen featurettes.
These DVDs were also released this week:
Films: Trance; War on Whistleblowers; Filly Brown; Teen Beach Movie; Black Rock; Cloudburst; The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh; Blaze You Out; The Devil's Backbone (2001, Spain, Criterion Collection); Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (from series of DC Universe original animated movies); Old Dog (2011, Tibet); Rushlights; 3 Businessmen; The Brontë Sisters (1979); A Night for Dying Tigers; War Flowers; Fernando Di Leo: The Italian Crime Collection: Vol. 2; Meet the Small Potatoes; The Magic School Bus: Revving Up and in a Pickle; The Wheels on the Bus: All Around Town and Animal Adventures.
TV series: Touched by an Angel: Season Eight; Banshee: The Complete First Season; Midsomer Murders, Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (multidisc titles of British mystery series inspired by Caroline Graham novels, sold separately); Power Rangers Seasons 4-7.
THE WASHINGTON POST