Starring Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Byung Hoo-Lee, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Ray Stevenson, Adrianne Palecki, Elodie Yung, D.J. Cotrona, Walton Goggins, Luke Bracey and Arnold Vosloo.
Directed by Jon M. Chu.
The first movie was not good. You had director Stephen Sommers' Mummy-sequel sensibilities, Marlon Wayans, those CGI suits the Joes wore, phoned-in performances from the likes of Dennis Quaid and Rachel Nichols, and a movie that felt like the entire purpose was to set up Part 2.
Chu takes over directing duties, and he kills off most of the Joes, thereby nullifying a lot of the events from Part 1. Gone are Hawk, Baroness, Scarlet, Ripcord, Heavy Duty, etc. Destro's left in his Minority-Report-type prison, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt has left Cobra Commander duties to an actor named Luke Bracey. GI Joe 2 had a smaller budget, and I see where some significant cuts were made.
Master-of-disguise Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) has assumed the disguise of the President (Jonathan Pryce), which means this time around, Pryce gets to be the villain. (I don't think Vosloo himself worked more than a day on this film.) Storm Shadow (Byung Hoo-Lee), whom I swore died in the first one, is back, but his allegiances aren't as obvious.
New Joes include Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (the bland Adrianne Palecki) and Flint, played by D.J. Cotrona, who makes Palecki look like an Academy Award winning actress. Maybe his part was underwritten, or maybe they cut a lot of his stuff out after they saw what a dead weight he was, but he was sore-thumb bad for me.
For those who grew up on the 1980's cartoon and toy line, I can't say it's any better than the first one. But if you liked the first one, you'll probably like the second one. I didn't care for the first one, and I was hoping the significant changes might result in a better movie. Didn't happen.
Bright spot of the movie: Walton Goggins (Justified) as the supermax prison warden who loves his job.
Since GI Joe 3 is happening, and Chu will again direct, I hope they kill Flint quickly and bring back Destro. I can't imagine Christopher Eccleston couldn't use the money.