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G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie review: Ninja-riffic!

This fun sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has evolved in a sense, to include Asian-inspired martial arts and two of the toughest femme-fighters since Cat Woman and Laura Croft. There is much to ogle and enjoy in this turbo-charged, sassy 3D movie.

GI Joe

 3.5 Stars: Perfect for fans of martial arts

Inspired by the beloved boy answer to Barbie, the G.I. Joes are a team of tough, covert military ops who love America and are willing to battle any villain, on land, in the air, or even on the side of an icy mountain cliff. These characters are purposefully larger than life, as if a child dreamed them up in his backyard.

Hottie Channing Tatum reprises the role of Duke, an industrial-strength soldier with a heart of gold stars who greatly admires his mentor Roadblock, played by large-and-in-charge Dwayne Johnson. During the film, I marveled several times at the sheer enormity of his biceps — they must be the size Butterball turkeys.

GI Joe

Also on the team is Flint, played by the adorable DJ Cotrona and Lady Jaye, an ice queen played by Adrianne Palicki, who lives to prove that girls are just as good as boys.

Adrianne Palicki gets tough for G.I. Joe >>

Unaware that the president of the United States has been taken over by an evil force, the G.I. Joes are shocked when their own government leaves them for dead on a mission to Pakistan. Soon the Joes realize something is rotten in Washington, and they are determined to get to the bottom of it.

Turns out the evil forces of team Cobra are responsible for the Joes’ woes. Cobra’s plan is to eliminate the elite fighters to take control of the U.S. nuclear codes. Knowing they are in some deep excrement, the Joes team up with don’t-tread-on-me Snake Eyes (Ray Park), the gorgeously brutal Jinx (Elodie Young) and the lithe martial artist Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee — who fights like a young, Korean Mikhail Baryshnikov).

GI Joe

Once Bruce Willis shows up as the fabled General Joe Colton, it’s game time, and the battle scenes delight. One of the most stunning sequences in the film is a ninja battle that takes place on the side of an icy cliff, where the ninjas use ropes, zip lines and gravity to scale up and down the mountain. The filmmakers create stunning movie magic, invoking the gorgeous choreography of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Bottom line: I applaud the franchise for adding women to the G.I. Joes and letting the Hasbro toy franchise find its inner ninja. Go grab some popcorn and enjoy this movie.

Photo credit: Paramount

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