Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Written By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 40 min
This isn’t a film. It’s a preview to the latest and greatest first person shooter for the xBox One and Playstation 4. It certainly follows the same format as those games. Moments of eye rollingly ridiculous exposition followed by loud explosions, guns and sword fights – all with PG-13 level box office friendly death and destruction.
For the most part though, this is meant to be mindless nonsense and with the right preparation, I dare say there might be a way to enjoy this film. The attempts at humor mostly hit their mark, and the visual effects are pretty decent. Thankfully there are very few attempts at any kind of emotional depth. When they do try, it just feels incredible hollow and laughable. Dwayne Johnson always does well in this kind of flick, and adding Bruce Willis to the mix later in the film provides some levity leading into the last act.
The close quarter fights are filmed to close and edited too much, and most of the big action pieces are cartoonish. The dialog and plot seem to have been inspired by Saturday morning toons, and it’s easily as forgettable.
If you’re going to see this, keep your expectations really low. This is like watching your friends play Call of Duty 4 only with better sound and effects. If you’re in the mood for mindless action then this is the movie for you.
There are a few laughs to be had here. Intentional and otherwise so if this were still at the theaters I’d suggest a crowded digital screening. At home, a HD viewing over a loud digital sound system will bring out the best in Retaliation. Watch with some fellow action fan friends, take out and beverages, and you might just have a lot of fun with this.
Best moment for me:
There was one action set piece I enjoyed. Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) have captured Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), and make their escape down a mountain pursued by Cobra forces. The high wire act that follows was completely implausible, but entertaining to watch none the less.