With Snake Eyes currently in theaters, Paramount felt this was the perfect time to release their first two G.I. Joe live-action films on 4K UHD. Both, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation are now available. Although, I find both films to be action heavy, yet campy, I will way that I find Retaliation to be far superior.
2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) and features a solid cast which includes Dennis Quaid as General Hawk, Channing Tatum as Duke, Marlon Wayans as Ripcord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the soon-to-be Cobra Commander. What is lacks is a compelling story and half-way-decent writing. As flawed as this film may be, it is not unwatchable and even though the visual effects feel extremely dated now, there are still plenty of fun and colorful moments.
2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a better film than the original in every way possible, with-the-exception of Gordon-Levitt not reprising his role. Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, In the Heights) takes over the directorial duties from Stephen Sommers and even though his film credits mainly consisted of dance films at the time, he seemed to have a knack for big action and spectacle. There was some house cleaning in front of the camera as well. Some of the less than stellar characters were removed from the sequel and big guns like Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis were brought in. Although Retaliation never takes itself seriously, at least the action feels more grounded most of the time (but not all the time).
The biggest disappointment about both UHD releases is that they don’t look all that much better than the Blu-rays. The difference is minimal, and the audio was simply ported over. Having said that, the 4K UHD disks do look quite nice and may be worth picking up if you are a fan do not already own the Blu-rays. I just wasn’t very impressed with the transfers.
By: Marc Ferman