Its been 4 years since the first G.I. Joe movie hit the big screen and in all honesty - it was quite a cheesy affair with OTT effects and a dodgy cast list. For a film that was billed as action packed it always seemed to me like they went a bit too far with the blend of action and humour. This 'top draw' elite fighting squad that seemingly only recruit the best of the best but somehow allow a slightly goofy Marlon Wayans get a pass, based on his friendship with the more gun-ho Channing Tatum.
Well, for this 2013 sequel re-vamp they have certainly trimmed all of the fat and most of the cheese and in my opinion - this by far outshines the first attempt. Wayans is gone (phew), as are the rest of the original Joe's except Channing (and Snake Eyes) who both start this movie on top form.
Now leading the platoon, Duke (Tatum) and 2nd in command (and best pal) Roadblock (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) light up the screen early on with a cracking action packed opening sequence based around an insertion into North Korea, followed brilliantly by a comical twist of a game of C.O.D on Roadblocks Sofa where for those in the know, you'll laugh out louder than you expected too!
Sadly, Channing Tatum's appearance in this is comparable to that of Steven Segal in Executive Decision but once you're past that, the remaining elite soldiers bond well together in their attempt to bring down Cobra.
As for the Baddies, well Cobra Commander is the main guy but although both he and Destro are back (of sorts) its not with Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Christopher Ecclestone this time around but it doesn't really matter. Destro's relieved of life early on and Commander is masked up for the duration regardless.
Plot wise, this carries on where the last one left off with Zartan, disguised as the President (Jonathan Pryce) still in the White House and on the brink of Nuclear War against pretty much everyone else including us Brits, India a few others of note and most comically - North Korea who considering current affairs, are beautifully placed for a few jibes along the way.
Although Duke was sorely missed - there is no denying that this is what the The Rock's great at. Full blown action movies. He totally smashes it as Roadblock along with a new band of Joe's including characters such as Jinx & Flint and a fitting cameo from Bruce Willis as the original Joe along for some of the ride.
Yes, there are OTT effects but seemingly more realistic than the first time and a great mountain traverse fight between Joe's and Cobra's is a joy to watch. Ray Park & Byung-hun Lee return as Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow respectively and as expected, their choreographed sequences are masterful in their presentation.
This movie certainly wont appeal to everyone but if you like your Action movies slightly the wrong side of realistic - then you'll love this. It doesn't go too far on the unbelievable scale and has a punchy story line with jaw dropping action sequences.
Pryce is amazing as the President and the psychotic other version of himself, matched in my mind only by his portrayal of Elliot Carver in Bond. New baddie Firefly (Ray Stevenson) has a quirky weapon system that does raise a sly grin, although when he squares up to Roadblock - you know its only going to end one way!