Movie – G.I. Joe Retaliation: B+

gi joe retaliationB+
I never saw The Rise of Cobra, opting to wait for The Rock’s introduction as the franchise-fixer he seems to be now. I also wasn’t a fan of the G.I. Joe cartoon as a kid, though I did enjoy the toys, especially the ridiculous vehicles, and of course, the ninjas. Those two things played prominently in my enjoyment of Retaliation. There’s a ninja fight on the side of a mountain that was particularly entertaining. Naturally, the plot is a mess of nonsense and cliche character arcs, but there’s a truly bold move early in the film that instantly warmed me to the rest. Though there’s also a pointlessly bold move late in the film, only there to spice up the trailer.

Movie – Red 2: C-

red 2C-
A while back, I read Mary-Louise Parker was quitting acting because internet trolls were too mean to her. I initially thought that sounded like an overreaction, but after seeing her in Red 2, I can understand the level of vehemence that could have potentially been flung toward her. Every time she speaks in this film I want to stab my brain to remove the offending memory. Her character was beyond annoying, going so far as to suck away the joy I would usually have when viewing the shenanigans of her co-stars. It certainly didn’t help that the story got progressively dumber as it went. The dialog sounded like a first draft. The first film veered wildly from the source comic, but stayed on an entertaining course. This one veered even further, careening through the railing and off a cliff.

Movie – A Good Day to Die Hard: C+

good day to die hardC+
This film’s little attempts at working within the franchise were nice, but couldn’t distract enough from the poor script. Bruce Willis’ badassery and comical nonchalance were unfortunately completely undone by the truly awful father/son moments forcibly inserted into nearly every bit of downtime between gunfights. Some good actiony bits, though even those require your disbelief to be so suspended it’s practically expelled.

Movie – Looper: A

A
I love time travel when it’s done as well as this. I didn’t expect the heavy levels of another sci-fi element, but it worked well too. Its vision of a more conceivable future was well-formed and it was easy to accept how things “worked” in order to be lead along by the story. Some slow parts, but still quite satisfying.

Movie – The Expendables 2: A

A
The Expendables movies know their audience and embrace them exactly as they should. I wish some other franchises would take notice. Every action movie trope was present, and the movie excelled because of them. The references to the characters’ other films was a bit heavy-handed, but some worked beautifully (such as referencing Dolph Lundgren’s real-world masters degree). Chuck Norris’ addition worked well, and Schwarzenegger and Willis’ extended scenes affixed a wide smile on my face.