Story

The US President (Jonathan Pryce) sends the G.I. Joe team on a stealth mission to get back some nuclear warheads from politically unstable Pakistan. Duke (Channing Tatum) leads the team. But the real president is replaced by the evil Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), a member of the sinister Cobra Organisation. Disguised as the President, Zartan orders the destruction of the entire G.I. Joe team after they finish their mission. Only three team members survive the devastating attack – Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona). They set out to avenge the death of their colleagues.

After making their way home, Roadblock, Jaye and Flint discover that the President isn’t who he appears to be, and that their old enemies – Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey), Zartan and Storm Shadow (Byung-Hum Lee) – are the real masterminds behind the death of their brothers. The Joes also learn that Cobra Commander wants to gain control of the world and has a sinister plan that involves orbiting satellite weapons of mass destruction.

Enlisting the aid of retired General Joe Coltan (Bruce Willis) and some old friends, Roadblock and his small band of G.I. Joes mount an attack to stop Cobra Commander and save the world.

Themes

Criminal organisations; revenge; weapons of mass destruction; nuclear war

Violence

This movie has intense sequences of action violence. Although the depiction of blood and gore is kept to a minimum, many people get killed. One scene shows nuclear-like devastation and destruction of a major city. For example:

  • At the start of the movie, a G.I. Joe team attacks a military instillation. They fire automatic weapons as they are lowered by ropes from a helicopter. Dozens of enemy soldiers lie dead on the ground. At other times during the scene, enemy soldiers are shot and struck by bullets. One time a soldier is shot point-blank. There are also some close-up fist fights in which soldiers are punched and kicked in the head, face and body many times. Enemy soldiers are thrown out of windows and over balcony railings to their deaths. The scene shows minimum blood and gore, however.
  • During one scene showing battle violence, several helicopter gunships fire on a group of G.I. Joe team members. Missiles fired from helicopters blow up trucks. A man is engulfed in an explosion. G.I.s are thrown through the air, and afterwards many dead bodies are scattered over the ground. The three survivors have cuts, grazes and bruises.
  • Throughout the movie, there is stylised action violence. Ninja-style soldiers using swords, knives and throwing stars of various types slice, stab, slash and impale others.
  • During a stylised fight between two women, the younger woman kicks the older woman in the head, knocking her unconscious.
  • Tiny robot insects with glowing abdomens explode, killing some men who are thrown through the air. In one scene at the end of the movie, an insect explodes and the man holding it is engulfed in a ball of flames and vaporised.
  • In one of the more brutal fights, two large muscular men punch each other in the face and body. One of the men attacks the other with a metal pipe, hitting him in the stomach. A car deliberately crashes into one of the men, who is thrown over the bonnet.
  • A weapon fired from space crashes into the city of London, resulting in a giant explosion that levels the entire city. Large sections of earth are lifted up into the air as if a giant earthquake has struck.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the scary characters, scenes of destruction, explosions and noise throughout this movie. The following scenes are particularly disturbing:

  • In one scene, a man takes a long knife and cuts his own face from top to bottom; we see the actual cut being made. The man’s face then immediately changes, taking on a black metal appearance. The cut heals itself and the man’s face goes back to normal as though the cut was never made.
  • A man removes his oxygen mask to reveal a grossly disfigured head and face. He has a badly scarred face and should.
  • One of the film’s main characters, Snake Eyes, is engulfed in flames when a gas tank explodes. Snake Eyes survives but his back is badly burned. The scenes shows his black smouldering flesh.
  • A sword thrown at a man spears him through the chest, and he falls backwards dead. His face changes, taking on a black metallic appearance and changing shape. 

From 5-8

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by much of this movie and particularly the scary and disturbing scenes mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many scenes in this movie. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie has occasional low-level sexual references. For example:

  • A man is playing with two young girls, who run screaming from the room. A second man, the father of the two young girls, says, ‘That’s not the first time you’ve sent a girl running from the room screaming’. The first man replies, ‘That not the first time I’ve sent two girls running from the room screaming’.
  • One man says to another, ‘That’s on the rise, like your panties’. The other man says, ‘You love my panties’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A man has a gas mask forced on his face to make him unconscious.
  • A man is injected in the leg with a drug. He’s told the drug will make him unconscious and that he won’t remember anything when he wakes up.
  • Three men imprisoned in water-filled glass tube are deliberately given a drug that keeps them asleep. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Women wear low-cut and revealing clothing, sometimes deliberately to attract men. For example, a woman dressed in shorts bends over in front of a man. He stares at her bottom.
  • In one scene a man unzips a woman’s dress. There is a back view of her bare back and the top of her bottom, her bra and pants. The man looks at her reflection in a TV screen. 

Product placement

This movie is based on G.I. Joe comics, action figures and other products, which are marketed to children. 

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an action adventure targeting teenage boys and fans of the comic series. It’s a sequel to the first G.I. Joe movie, Rise of the Cobra, picking up where that movie ends.

Younger boys might want to see the movie because G.I. Joe comics, action figures and associated merchandise are marketed to children, but the movie isn’t suitable for them. It features constant violence and disturbing characters and scenes, which are likely to scare children under 13 years and many younger teenagers.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • People who work together as a team can overcome any obstacles.
  • There are no winners in nuclear war – everybody loses.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, bravery, self-sacrifice, friendship and respect.

You could also talk about the mixed messages in this movie. Although Jaye presents herself as equal to men and goes out of her way to prove it, she also uses her sexuality to seduce a man into giving her information.