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G.I. Joe: Retaliation

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation's 4K UHD lacks major upgrades; fun yet flawed film for fans only.

    G.I. Joe: Retaliation 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation's 4K UHD upgrade presents minimal improvements over Blu-ray, with overly bright darker scenes and subtle detail enhancements, making it a debatable upgrade.

  • Audio
  • Paramount reuses Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation,' delivering dynamic, reference-quality sound with exceptional clarity, powerful bass, and precise surround effects, despite no new Atmos/DTS:X upgrade.

  • Extra
  • The UHD and Blu-ray release of GI Joe: Retaliation includes an audio commentary, detailed 72-minute Declassified featurettes, and a few deleted scenes, with no new extras added since the 2013 version.

  • Movie
  • Paramount releases 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' on UHD with no new extras but improved visuals, while the sequel offers action yet lacks cohesion and diverges from its predecessor, struggling despite The Rock.

    Video: 82

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" offers a nuanced upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart, showcasing Paramount’s efforts to cater to fans of the franchise with advancements in video quality through 2160p/Dolby Vision technology. While cinematographer Stephen F. Windon’s original shooting on film in Super 35 format using ARRIFLEX and Panavision cameras, finished with a 2K Digital Intermediate, laid a solid foundation, this Ultra HD version benefits from a native 4K rescan of the original camera negatives. The upscaled 2K VFX footage and the introduction of new grading for high dynamic range contribute to a slight enhancement in sharpness, detail, and color saturation. Highlights and explosions are brighter, and the film's diverse palette breathes with more intensity thanks to Dolby Vision, albeit the improvements vary in visibility across different displays.

    However, this upgrade is not without its caveats. The transition to UHD has resulted in some scenes, particularly those occurring at night, being perceived as overly bright or washed out, with a notable loss of the deep, inkier blacks showcased in the Blu-ray version. This alteration affects the portrayal of darker sequences, sacrificing some of the original’s atmospheric tension for increased visibility and contrast. Despite this, well-lit scenes and daylight exteriors exhibit enhanced depth and clarity, illustrating a careful though inconsistent application of HDR technology.

    Regarding fine detail and texture, increments are visible yet not groundbreaking. Close-ups in brighter scenes do reveal more intricate details, such as facial pores and textiles, but don't significantly surpass the Blu-ray's performance. Overall, while the 4K UHD version of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" presents a modest improvement in visual experience—especially in color richness and some aspects of clarity—the inconsistencies in black levels and the occasionally overwhelming brightness might not justify the upgrade for all viewers. Nonetheless, it stands as a clean conversion free from noise/artifacts, promising a more vivid if not entirely transformative viewing experience.

    Audio: 91

    The audio presentation of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" on the 4K UHD Blu-ray retains the powerful and intricately designed Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound mix from its original Blu-ray release, foregoing an upgrade to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X formats. Despite this, the soundtrack remains a high-quality aural experience that stands up to contemporary expectations. Featuring an English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD main track, the mix delivers aggressive dynamics and robust directional effects that immerse the viewer in the film's intense action sequences. The surround sound engages with striking precision, enveloping the listener in a cacophony of gunfire, explosions, and vehicular mayhem, complemented by a substantial low-end presence that punctuates the on-screen chaos.

    This audio track excels in its clarity and breadth, managing both the bombastic and the subtle with equal finesse. Dialogue remains clear and centered amidst the whirlwind of activity, ensuring no narrative detail is lost. The soundstage is expansive, facilitating a meticulously layered audio experience where every environmental nuance and musical cue contributes to the immersive quality of the presentation. Noteworthy is the remarkable channel separation and the use of additional surrounds, which are leveraged to amplify the intensity of action scenes—ranging from bullets zipping across the room to the climactic resonance of tank battles and satellite launches, showcasing exceptional depth and involvement.

    While some may lament the absence of an Atmos or DTS:X upgrade, the existing 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" continues to offer reference-quality audio performance. Its comprehensive dynamic range, precise sound placement, and commanding bass response encapsulate what a blockbuster mix should be, cementing its status as a top-tier auditory experience for home cinema enthusiasts.

    Extra: 86

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" presents a substantial package of extras, headlined by the engaging audio commentary track with Director Jon M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. This commentary offers an informative dive into the production, sharing behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and discussing various aspects of the film, such as casting decisions, location choice, and visual effects, featuring insights across the board from cast to crew. Accompanying the commentary are the extras on the bundled Blu-ray, mirroring the original 2013 release, but crucially not introducing new content. Among these, the standout is the comprehensive "G.I. Joe: Declassified" series, spanning 77 minutes and detailing every facet of production from conception to the detailed execution of action sequences, significantly drawing back the curtain on the movie's ambitious scope. Although the deleted scenes segment is relatively brief, it includes significant cuts like the referenced assassination of the Pakistani President, adding depth to the narrative's context.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: A detailed track with Director Jon M. Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura.
    • G.I. Joe: Declassified: An extensive 8-part documentary covering various production stages and elements.
    • Deleted Scenes: A small collection including crucial narrative pieces left out of the theatrical release.

    Movie: 75

    Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," released in anticipation of "Snake Eyes," is upgraded to the UHD format boasting a 2160p/Dolby Vision video, while retaining its original Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Despite the absence of new audio tracks or special features, the inclusion of the original Blu-ray release provides additional supplements, maintaining a link to its predecessor, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." This sequel, serving simultaneously as a direct sequel and a soft reboot, leverages the notable addition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to navigate through its continuation from "Cobra" with a mix of returning characters and a fresh cast. However, despite Johnson's box office appeal, the film's global earnings modestly surpassed its predecessor's, leading to an eventual franchise reboot with 2021's "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins."

    The narrative pivots around Zartan’s disguise as the President to initiate global disarmament, a guise to facilitate Cobra's plan for world domination using the satellite-based Zeus weaponry system. The movie's plot thickens as the G.I. Joes are wrongfully accused of international crimes, sparking a mission to unveil the truth and thwart Cobra's scheme. Unlike its predecessor, "Retaliation" scales back on futuristic gadgets in favor of more grounded military action, even as it delivers heavy on high-octane sequences, including a visually captivating ninja battle showcasing paramount martial arts in Western cinema. "Retaliation" finds itself in a tug-of-war between attempting seriousness with its plot and indulging in the franchise’s inherent silliness, made evident through over-the-top action scenes and a hefty dose of western machismo.

    Director Jon M. Chu steers this sequel with a blend of dramatic visuals and action-packed sequences that both enchant and anchor the film’s entertainment value, though not without its critiques. The film endures criticism for its almost too-serious take mingled with relentless action sequences and underutilized star power like Bruce Willis. While "Retaliation" improves upon its predecessor in certain domains, notably in its action choreography and lean towards more realistic military hardware, it struggles with cohesiveness and fails to fully leverage Johnson’s charm which typically rejuvenates franchises. The resultant mix leaves audiences with a visually stimulating yet narratively disjointed experience that oscillates between trying to honor its source material’s extravagance and grounding itself in cinematic realism.

    Total: 80

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" offers an upgrade that ranges from subtle to disappointing, especially when juxtaposed against expectations for a significant leap over its Blu-ray counterpart. The inclusion of Dolby Vision color grading occasionally enhances visual depth and vibrancy, particularly in brighter scenes. However, the transfer struggles with consistency, often appearing too bright or washed out in nocturnal sequences, without achieving a noteworthy improvement in clarity or fine detail. This inconsistency, coupled with an unchanged audio track and lack of new extras, makes for an underwhelming update.

    The supplemental features carry over from previous releases, maintaining their quality without offering new insights. The commentary by director Jon Chu and producer di Bonaventura provides an informative, albeit overly satisfied perspective on the film's production, echoing the detailed exploration found in the "G.I. Joe: Declassified" featurettes. These extras delve into various aspects of filmmaking, from pre-visualization and location scouting to character development and action choreography, offering a comprehensive if not critical behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the movie. Despite their depth, the absence of new bonus content leaves something to be desired for return viewers.

    In conclusion, while "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" in 4K UHD boasts occasional improvements in visual presentation thanks to Dolby Vision, the overall enhancements are underwhelming, hampered by inconsistency and a lack of fresh supplementary content. This release speaks directly to franchise enthusiasts or collectors yet to own the film. For casual viewers or those already in possession of the Blu-ray version, the incentive to upgrade is minimal, suggesting a purchase only when discounted. Reflecting the film’s own approach of tempering improvements with missed opportunities, this UHD release highlights the challenges of breathing new life into existing content without substantial content or quality upgrades.