I only saw the first GI Joe because I heard so many reviews saying "Its so bad its good" or "Its the next best MST3K movie". Actually, it was a very milquetoast action movie, and nowhere near as outrageously stupid or as "in your face" as something like the Transformers series. The original's fundamental flaw in my opinion was just how it felt like it was poorly put together by an amateur novice, and I think a lot of that blame rests on the shoulders of the first film's director. It was a very typical of a mid August action movie, and I can't really pick on it any more than that because I can't really get mad at a movie when the project is already so defective from the start (ex: Twilight).
However, I guess it made enough money to warrant a sequel, but the producers wanted to protect their investment. Given that they knew they were going up against a summer destined to be ruled by "The Dark Knight Rises" they brought out the syringes of Adrenaline and Testosterone and pumped this movie up!
Dwayne Johnson is leading this time, and thank God. Dwayne has a more experience with action cheese and better screen presence. By which I mean he takes up most of the screen. It makes you wonder how the Cobra troops were able to miss a target that big when he was sitting completely still in the water. The power of badassery! Thats how!
Jonathan Pryce apparently didn't get enough of playing the villain in "Tomorrow Never Dies" because hes back at it again.
We've got an "A-Team" kind of set up (they should thankful this wasn't released last summer!) and these build up knowing that its our small little band versus the world. It was shocking to see a break-out character like Snake Eyes being incarcerated. But then the Cobra flag is raised at the White House and banners form the Cobra eyes. The impact of that hit like a punch to the gut. Its a sequence that is simple, iconic and powerful, and sets a stage of hopelessness for this "Empire Strikes Back" vibe they have going on.
There are plenty of unique action scenes on display. My favorite is the mountainside sword fight.
Bruce Willis' apperance at the end is akin to Josh Brolin's apperance at the end of the Men in Black 3 Trailer. If the action was the icing on the cake, Bruce is the sprinkles on top.
Trailer Grade: B+