G.I. Joe: Retaliation has Cobra Commander and Zartan in charge, forcing the reaming surviving members of the Joes out on a revenge mission to clear their names. Plus, Dwayne The Rock Johnson comes aboard to help out. Unfortunately, this sequel fails to live up to a good time, despite its almost non-stop action sequences. The new 4K UHD with Dolby Vision transfer is only slightly upgraded and Paramount only imported the previous 2013 Blu-ray audio option, void of any new Dolby Atmos track or DTS option, along with the same bonus features which are fortunately excellent. For Fans Only.
Before Jon M. Chu became a household name with Crazy Rich Asians and the recent In The Heights film, he got his start making a couple of the Step Up sequels and a music documentary on Justin Beiber. Right after that in 2013, Chu stepped into the big action blockbuster realm with the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. More often than not, adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to a cast, brightens up the scenery and makes the overall story elements and characters more fun. Remember Fast Five? But with this G.I. Joe film, that was NOT the case. Maybe it was the dulled-down appearance of Bruce Willis as Joe Colton that threw off The Rock's magic? You really only can have one bald leading man in a movie like this.
Instead, this sequel follows Cobra agent Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who was impersonating the President Of The United States (Jonathan Price must owe someone money). Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) frames all of the Joes and has most of them killed in action. Only a few survivors are left, one of which is The Rock as Roadblock who leads the rest of the team in a battle to clear their names. While some of the action sequences look cool, the film is mostly forgettable and takes itself way too seriously for its almost non-stop absurd action scenes. There has to be a little breathing room unless The Raid: Redemption is the topic of discussion. Clearly, this sequel has better action moves than the first film, but there's just no semblance of anything cohesive going on here.
For a different take check out our review from 2003 CLICK HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
G.I. Joe: Retaliation fights its way to a 4K + Blu-ray + Digital Copy Set. The two discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features all the main cast in their respective uniforms, similar to any MCU or Star Wars release. There is an insert for a digital copy.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation comes with a 2160p UHD 4K transfer with Dolby Vision in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 that looks great in certain sequences and a bit brighter in others. For fans of this G.I. Joe franchise, most purchased the previous 3D Blu-ray release, this 4K with Dolby Vision and HDR10 is a decent upgrade, but it isn't exactly a night and day uptick in color and detail.
Colors are more nuanced in well-lit interior shots as well as sunny exterior sequences. The grass and trees have various shades of amazing greens that go nicely with the amazing blue skies above. The wardrobe takes on excellent primary colors as well, such as the camo colors on Dwayne Johnson's uniform. Red outfits stand out with a rich shade of red and the white costumes look amazing too. This being said, in darker sequences where the light is low in dark corners of a room or when night falls over the scenery, it seems that someone adjusted the brightness level on all accounts. So the deep and inky black levels are almost non-existent now. Instead, the black levels are hotter, brighter, and seem to have an odd glare. This is the case throughout the entire film when it comes to low-lit scenes. But when well-lit interior shots are front and center, all turns back to normal with an excellent Dolby Vision color palette. Needless to say, Blu-ray Disc has inkier black levels than this 4K transfer.
The detail is only slightly improved upon a well here, revealing some extra depth in closeups. Actor's faces show facial pores, individual hairs, wounds, scars, practical makeup effects, and beads of blood and sweat nicely, but it isn't a drastic upgrade here. The textures in the costumes show wonderful craftsmanship in brighter scenes, but again, it's not a huge upgrade. Wider shots also don't give way to a deeper scenic image and the organic grain that would make this movie look filmic is only slighting improved on in closeups. Lastly, there are no major problems with video noise, banding, or aliasing. Overall, this looks good enough, but when compared to the Blu-ray image, there isn't much different other than a much brighter picture in darker scenes, which isn't always a good thing.
Paramount imported the previous Dolby TrueHD 7.1 from the Blu-ray release here. There is NOT a new Dolby Atmos track or even a DTS-HD master here. Please CLICK HERE to read the Blu-ray review for the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track.
There are 77 minutes worth of bonus features here. The 2013 audio commentary track is located on the 4K Disc, while the other two extras and the commentary are also on the Blu-ray. There are NO new bonus features here. Please CLICK HERE to read the full synopsis of the bonus features that were imported over from the Blu-ray.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation has better action sequences and Dwayne The Rock Johnson going for it. Other than that, this non-stop action-packed blockbuster lacks anything resembling character development or plot and becomes confusing and convoluted in trying to get to the next action sequence to the next. Most of all, it takes itself a little too seriously in places when it should be having the time of its life. The new 4K transfer is only slightly upgraded, and it has some issues. The audio presentation and the extras are exactly the same as the 2013 Blu-ray release. For those who do not own this film already but are huge fans of the franchise, this is worth the purchase. For Fans Only.