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4K Ultra HD Review: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation

July 22, 2021

By John Corrado

This week, Paramount is releasing both the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation for the first time on 4K Ultra HD, in a pair of separately released combo packs that include the films on Blu-ray as well. They are arriving to coincide with the theatrical release of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, a solo film that finds Henry Golding taking over from Ray Park in the role of Snake Eyes.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 

The first live action film based on the popular Habro toys, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra stars Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans as Duke and Ripcord, a pair of American soldiers who are hired as part of the elite G.I. Joe strike force to retrieve a nanotechnology weapon that has been stolen by a shadowy organization known as Cobra.

To be perfectly blunt, this is not a great movie. Not only is it surprisingly violent for a movie based on toys, it also features a nonsensical plot, cheesy dialogue, stiff performances and some cheap-looking CGI. While the film does pick up slightly once the action gets transported to the streets of Paris, with a glossy set-piece that is easily the most (only?) fun thing in the movie, the messy first half feels like a pilot for a bad TV series and the finale is both overly bombastic and forgettable. It’s not very good overall, but fans who do want to purchase will be pleased by the 4K presentation.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The film is presented with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 on the 4K disc, and the set comes with a standard Blu-ray as well. There is a previously released commentary track on each disc. The package also comes with a code for a digital copy.

4K and Blu-ray:

• Commentary by director Stephen Sommer and producer Bob Ducsay

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

While this might not be saying much, the 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation is actually a slight step up from its predecessor. The film sees the return of Tatum’s Duke, while also adding Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis to its cast as fellow members of the G.I. Joe team. When most of their team is wiped out in an attack, it’s up to Johnson’s Roadblock and the others to deal with Cobra’s infiltration of the White House and attempts at world domination.

The dialogue is still cheesy and the plot itself is still ridiculous and hard to take seriously, but Retaliation is easily the more fun of the two. Directed by Jon M. Chu, who has gone on to make Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights, it features better and brighter action sequences, and Johnson’s charisma also helps sell the film. It’s fully mediocre, but for a relatively harmless action movie based on toys, Retaliation is at least watchable, and the 4K edition provides a fine upgrade for fans.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The film is presented with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 on the 4K disc, and the set comes with a standard Blu-ray as well. There is a previously released commentary track on each disc, and a selection of archival bonus features on the Blu-ray. The package also comes with a code for a digital copy.

4K and Blu-ray:

• Commentary by director Jon M. Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Blu-ray Only:

G.I. Joe: Declassified (1 hour, 13 minutes)

Mission Briefing (10 minutes, 5 seconds)

Deployment (8 minutes, 8 seconds)

Two Ninjas (7 minutes, 35 seconds)

The Desert Attack (8 minutes, 26 seconds)

COBRA Strikes (8 minutes, 58 seconds)

The Lone Soldiers (7 minutes, 46 seconds)

The Monastery (9 minutes, 59 seconds)

Fort Sumter (12 minutes, 12 seconds)

Deleted Scenes (4 minutes, 14 seconds)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is 117 minutes and rated 14A, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation is 110 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: July 20th, 2021

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