Let’s face it, 2013 has been a less than stellar year as far as films go. In the month of February, I saw only three new releases. Compare that to a year ago when I saw seven new films in the same month. Unfortunately, I don’t see things starting to look up until April. ‘Retaliation’ might be one last big slap in the face to the film going public until we finally get to April and move past this miserable first quarter of 2013.
Last year after initially seeing the first trailer for ‘GIJ: Retaliation’, I’d be lying if I said my interest wasn’t piqued in the next chapter of this series, but a lot has changed in the past 12 months. I’m aware the first film was met with lukewarm reviews at best, but if anything, it played well to younger audiences, and truth be told, I didn’t find it near as bad I was led to believe it would be once reviews started hitting the internet. For this entry into the series however, I find myself ye of little faith. Here are five red flags that have me thinking this film could be just another disappointing film in 2013.
1. ‘RETALIATION’ WAS PUSHED BACK 10 MONTHS DUE TO POOR AUDIENCE REACTION AFTER INITIAL SCREENINGS
Sure, if you read the trades, Paramount wanted you to believe the film was being pushed so that they could convert the film to 3-D to maximize their profit margin. This struck me as odd as I couldn’t recall a film ever being pushed back for 3D conversion so close to its release date. Then news started to trickle out that the film had been screened for select audiences and audience member feedback ranged anywhere from mediocre to bad. It certainly didn’t boost anyone’s confidence in this film when in the trailers, it appears as if they kill off their most viable star (Channing Tatum) in the early part of the movie. Since really blowing up between his films 21 Jump Street, The Vow, and Magic Mike, writing Channing Tatum out of the film just seemed like the most inept decision a film studio could possibly make. It’s still hard to tell how much Channing’s role has been increased in the ten months they have had to rework the film (the new trailers don’t make it seem as if his character has been given any more real significant screen time), but common sense tells me that trying to shoe horn an apparently deceased character back into the main story line has trouble written all over it.
2. IF YOU WERE HOPING TO CATCH UP WITH THE CHARACTERS YOU BECAME INVESTED WITH IN THE FIRST FILM, SUCKS TO BE YOU.
If it still bothers me to this day that Terence Howard was not able to continue playing Rhodie in Iron Man 2, you can only imagine how much this film irks me due to its complete inability to establish any real sense of continuity between ‘Rise of Cobra’ and ‘Retaliation’. Channing Tatutm, is (possibly) killed off early in the film. Marlon Wayans, absent. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, recast. Sienna Miller, who knows?. Rachel Nichols, another one bites the dust. Christopher Eccleston, ditto. Dennis Quaid, M.I.A.. Adewale Akinnuove-Agbaje, location unknown. Gerald Okamura, I think you’re starting to get the point.
This feels like a fucking reboot more than a sequel. Basically anyone who legitimately did like the first film had better prepare themselves that this is not more of the same. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing has yet to be determined, but like I said, I am always a fan of continuity when it can be feasibly obtained.
And just for the record, I am already aware that Terrence Howard got paid more than Robert Downey Jr in the first Iron Man film. Yeah, that’s crazy stupid, but it’s not like it’s his fault his agent did his job and got him the most money he could. Blame the fucking idiots at the studio who actually signed off on him making the most money of any actor in the cast. It’s really a shame though it led to bruised egos, and eventually Howard being replaced for Iron Man 2 by Don Cheadle. If anyone wants to try and tell me that the chemistry between Don Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr. is just as good or better than the chemistry Downey Jr. had, don’t bother because you’re out of your fucking mind.
3. BRUCE “I’M ON VACATION” WILLIS
Did anyone see ‘A Good Day To Die Hard‘? What a brutal disappointment that piece of shit was. I would think someone would almost have to go out of their way to make a Die Hard film that is as unwatchable at that one was. Is anyone here a fan of ‘Red’, or looking forward to ‘Red 2’? Didn’t think so. ‘Looper’ was great, but I’m going to go ahead and give the majority of the credit to Rian Johnson for that amazing film. This isn’t even really an indictment of just Bruce Willis. Take a look at Schwarzenegger and Stallone and see how their films fared at the box office this winter. If you are going to wipe out all the characters we got to know from the first film, you have to do better replacing them than with Bruce fucking Willis. I just can’t deal with Bruno phoning in another limp dick performances this year. If at any point during the film he says, “I’m on vacation!!”, I’m leaving the fucking theater and getting a refund.
Deja Fucking Vu
4. STUDIO INTERFERENCE IS NEVER A GOOD THING
From what I have read, the director (Jon M. Chu) was completely removed from the decision making process to restructure and re-shoot ‘Retaliation’. What that tells me is that there were a whole bunch of studio execs scrambling to make decisions that they are not qualified, nor have any business making in the first place. I can imagine the discussions between the writers and studio execs on how they were going to squeeze a dead Channing Tatum back in the film.
“Um…sir… not killing off Channing Tatum could really throw of the structure of the film and ruin the integrity of the third act of the film.”
“Fuck the fucking integrity of the third act of the film! Does the integrity of the third act of the film make this studio money and get us in the green? Does the integrity of the third act take off its shirt and get teen girls wet? NO!! CHANNING FUCKING TATUM DOES!” Can you manufacture the integrity of the third act of the film and sell it to kids and parents at their local Toys R Us? Get Channing Tatum back in the fucking movie so we can sell some Goddamn merchandise, or I’ll find someone else who can while you will be peddling women’s shoes at Payless by the end of the fucking week!!”
This truly has cluster fuck written all over it.
5. THE TRAILERS JUST FAIL TO IMPRESS
Aside from that one scene on the mountain side, and the scenes involving Snake Eyes and involving Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, I basically find myself bored as the trailer plays out. And that scene with Willis in the back of the truck with the assault rifle… and the comment about the high cholesterol… I mean did they borrow cut dialogue from the last Die Hard script? Perhaps I am suffering from trailer fatigue, but it’s just near impossible for me to garner any type of enthusiasm for this film whenever the trailer or ads run for it. I don’t know any of these characters, nor do I care about them. I’m frustrated that I probably won’t even find out what happened to the original characters, because I’m assuming the makers of this film probably would just prefer that we forgot that one even exists. I just don’t give a shit about this movie. Will I see it? Oh course I will, because that’s what I’ve done the past three months, waste time and money on films that aren’t worth wasting anything on to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I really hope I’m wrong about all of my concerns. I would love nothing more than to eat every word I have written here, but I’ve just got a very strong feeling that this film has bust written all over it, and that audiences will have a much greater appreciation for ‘G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra’ when everything is said and done. You know, kind of the same way people now have a greater appreciation for ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ after that travesty of a Die Hard film hit theaters back in February.