G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a live-action film and the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra directed by Jon Chu and released on March 28, 2013. The film features the G.I. Joe Team coming into a conflict with Zartan, Storm Shadow and Firefly who are now all serving under the newly released Cobra Commander. Zartan (who is last seen in disguise as the President of the United States) frames all G.I. Joe operatives as traitors and wipes most of the Joes out with a sneak blitz attack, leaving only Roadblock, Snake-Eyes, Flint and Lady Jaye. Zartan now has all the world leaders under Cobra control, with warheads headed towards innocent populaces. Badly beaten, outnumbered and outgunned, the Joes had to make a desperate plan to expose the truth, and take back the world from Cobra where they make their covert black ops war called the "Second American Revolution".

Detailed summary

In the Demilitarized Zone of the Korean Peninsula, Duke leads Roadblock, Mouse and Flint to find their North Korean mole. While they succeed, Flint takes the victory a bit too far, hanging the flag of the Joes in place of the North Korean flag.

Later, Pakistan is in a civil war after the death of its President. The G.I. Joes are sent in to retrieve Pakistani nuclear warheads before any go missing. Unfortunately, the Joes are framed for stealing the nuclear warheads by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) who is impersonating the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce) since the events of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Most of the team is eliminated in a military strike with Duke (Channing Tatum) as one of the casualties. Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) are the only survivors.

In secret prison facility in Germany located mostly underground, Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) allows himself to be captured for killing the Pakistani President. He escapes and is joined by ex-Joe Firefly (Ray Stevenson) who both rescue Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey), but leave Destro behind. Storm Shadow is injured during the escape and retreats to a temple in the Himalayas to recover. Upon learning that he is alive, the Blind Master (RZA), leader of the Arashikage Clan, sends Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his apprentice Jinx (Elodie Yung), Storm Shadow's cousin, to capture Storm Shadow so he can answer for the murder of his uncle, the Hard Master.

Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye return to the United States where they set up a base of operations in a rundown gym. After Zartan announces that Cobra will replace the Joes as America's main protective unit, Lady Jaye deduces that someone is impersonating the President and Roadblock leads them to General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis) who provides them with weapons and helps them infiltrate a fundraising event that the President will be attending, where Lady Jaye steals a sample of his DNA and confirms that he is Zartan. They escape after a brief confrontation with Firefly and Zandar (Matt Gerald), the head of the United States Secret Service Presidential Detail and a member of Cobra.

Snake Eyes and Jinx locate and capture Storm Shadow after a battle with ninjas and take him back to Japan where Storm Shadow reveals that Zartan murdered the Hard Master and he joined Cobra to avenge his uncle, embittered that the clan didn't believe in his innocence. Storm Shadow then accompanies Snake Eyes and Jinx as they join the Joes' efforts to stop Cobra.

Zeus Satellite.jpg

Zartan invites the world leaders of the nuclear states to a summit at historic Fort Sumter, where he then launches all of the United States' nuclear warheads when the leaders don't immediately agree to total nuclear disarmament. All the leaders respond to the threat by launching their own arsenals, refusing to bow to Zartan's psychotic ultimatum. Zartan then self-destructs the US warheads and the other leaders are forced to do so as well. Zartan and Cobra Commander then reveal that they have created Project Zeus: Seven orbital kinetic bombardment weapons of mass destruction, all at his command. He destroys central London to prove his superiority and threatens to destroy other capitals if the countries don't submit to Cobra. However, Storm Shadow betrays Cobra Commander and kills Zartan, revealing Cobra's deception to the world leaders, who are safely evacuated by Jinx while Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes fight off the Cobra infantry and ninjas.

While Snake Eyes, Jinx and Flint fight Cobra's soldiers, Cobra Commander activates the remaining six weapons and instructs Firefly to protect the launch device. Firefly is killed in combat with Roadblock, who deactivates and destroys the orbital weapons seconds before they would have launched their weapons at their targets. Meanwhile, Colton and Lady Jaye rescue the President, killing Zandar as well.

Cobra Commander escapes during the battle and Storm Shadow disappears after avenging his uncle. The real President is put back into power and addresses the nation at a ceremony where Roadblock, Jaye, Flint, Jinx, and Snake Eyes are commemorated as heroes and G.I. Joe is reinstated as America's main protective unit. Colton thanks each of them, but when he gets to Roadblock, he presents him with the gun of General George S. Patton, for when he finally finds Cobra Commander and avenges Duke and the other Joes. Roadblock proudly raises the gun in the air and lets out one shot in honor of his fallen comrades.


Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Cobra Others

Memorable quotes

Roadblock: Let's move, the world ain't saving itself.

Other notes

Continuity errors

  • Everyone in Cobra seems to recognize Cobra Commander, even though he appointed himself Cobra Commander in a submarine with only Destro as a witness. Who led and grew the Cobra organization in the interim?

G.I. Joe references

  • Jinx is seen training with Snake-Eyes dressed in a red outfit, as in her original appearance in G.I. Joe: The Movie. Later on the mountain she is seen in her black and yellow ninja suit from G.I. Joe: Sigma 6.
  • During the run of the 1980s animated series Flint and Lady Jaye had a bit of a romantic relationship with each other. In the comic book series, they are an actual couple. This relationship is foreshadowed in the scene after Jaye infiltrates the presidents party.
  • The film is influenced by G.I. Joe: Renegades, where Cobra turns the authorities against the Joes, and they end up on the run.
  • The revelation that Zartan is the true killer of the Hard Master comes from the Marvel comic "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #45" (March 1986).
  • During the President's press conference, one of the news vans has the logo for Extensive Enterprises, the COBRA front company run by the Crimson Guard commanders Tomax and Xamot.

Real world references

The vehicle driven by Roadblock in the final action sequence is a relatively new U.S. Military vehicle called the Ripsaw. At the time of the film's release it is deployed in a display capacity for the U.S. Army. It can reach top speeds of above 80 mph, and an amphibious version is in the works.


Rob Moore, the studio vice chairman, has stated that a sequel will be developed. The film's lead actors are contractually obligated to return.[1] In January 2010, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Zombieland, were hired to write the script for the sequel.[2][3] Stephen Sommers was originally going to return as director of the sequel, but as of January 2011, Sommers will not be returning to direct.[4][5] Production on the film will begin in June and the film will likely be released in 2012, also seeing the return of Storm Shadow actor, Lee Byung-hun.[6] On January 17, 2011, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed once again that Lee Byung-hun will reprise his role as Storm Shadow in the sequel.[7] Channing Tatum and Ray Park are also returning to the film as Duke and Snake-Eyes, respectively. Paramount Pictures announced that Jon Chu will direct the sequel. The film's original released date was August 10, 2012 is now changed to June 29, 2012.[8][9] [10]The sequel's name was revealed as G.I. Joe: Retaliation,[11][12] before being speculated the title G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes.[13] Joseph Gordon-Levitt confirmed in an interview that he will not be returning as "The Commander" in the sequel. Elodie Yung is in talks to join the cast in the film as Jinx. On June 27, 2011 actor D.J. Cotrona and rapper Rza were cast as Flint and Blind Master. On July 1, 2011, Adrianne Palicki was confirmed for the lead female role of Lady Jaye. It was also announced on July 8 that Irish actor Ray Stevenson would portray the villain Firefly in the film. [14] On July 26, 2011, Joe Mazzello was confirmed for the role of Mouse.[15] In August 2011, Walton Goggins was added as Warden Nigel James,[16] and it was confirmed that Bruce Willis was cast to star in the film as the original G.I. Joe.[17][18] Ray Park also revealed that Snake Eyes' pet wolf, Timber, would be appearing in the sequel.[19]

In September, a casting call sheet leaked to the Internet revealed that Cobra Commander would appear in the sequel, though it was unknown who will play the character.[20] Director Jon Chu stated in an interview, that this Cobra Commander is not the same character that Levitt played.[21]In February 2012, Chu confirmed that Cobra Commander will not be the same as in the first film, meaning that he will have a different backstory. Chu also said that fans will get a glimpse of Destro in the film, but Christopher Eccleston will not reprise his role in the sequel.[22] On May 1, 2012, it was confirmed by Jon Chu that Retaliation's Cobra Commander is Rex Lewis, the same character that Joseph Gordon Levitt played in The Rise of Cobra.[23]

Filming began in August 2011 in Louisiana.[24][25] On November 22, 2011, a crew member died in an accident at a New Orleans warehouse that was serving as a sound stage for the production. The incident happened while crew members were changing out a set.[26]

The film's Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed that Channing Tatum might come back and The Baroness will also be back.[27]

The film was released on March 28, 2013.[28] The movie was previously slated for release in mid-2012,[29][30] but the date was changed, officially to add 3D and boost interest in international markets.[31] The delay "gobsmacked" the film industry, according to Deadline Hollywood, because Paramount had begun a substantial advertising campaign after the Super Bowl commercial, because "warehouses full of" toys were waiting for the film's launch, and it was one of only two Paramount-produced films scheduled for Summer 2012 release. Deadline stated that the real reason for the delay was to reshoot scenes to strengthen Tatum's character's relationship with Johnson's, reportedly the most popular aspect in test screenings, and—more importantly—change the plot to avoid Tatum's character's death early in the film, as Tatum has become a star with the successful The Vow and 21 Jump Street. The studio also wanted to avoid competing with Tatum's Magic Mike, also opening on June 29 2012, in which he plays a stripper.[32]

Cast list

Actor Role
Dwayne Johnson Roadblock
Channing Tatum Duke
Bruce Willis Joe Colton
Adrianne Palicki Lady Jaye
Ray Park Snake-Eyes
Byung-Hun Lee Storm Shadow
Ray Stevenson Firefly
RZA Blind Master
Arnold Vosloo Zartan
D.J. Cotrona Flint
Elodie Yung Jinx
Stephen Martines Cross-Country
Eddie Hargitay Tunnel Rat
Joseph Mazzello Mouse
Jonathan Pryce The President of the United States of America
Walton Goggins Warden Nigel James
Luke Bracey
Robert Baker
Rex Lewis/Cobra Commander
Ryan Hansen Grunt
Jim Palmer Clutch
Matt Gerald Zandar


Paramount had announced that there would be a third G.I. Joe film in 3D.[33][34]The film was slated to be released on March 27, 2020.[35][36] In 2018, the film's sequel was announced as G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant.[37] However, G.I. Joe: Ever Vigiliant was later either scrapped or postponed. In its place, a different film was announced, titled Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. The film was originally announced for the same release date of March 27, 2020, then shuffled around various dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before finally being scheduled for July 23, 2021. The film is a complete reboot of the G.I. Joe film franchiser, focused on the character of Snake Eyes, and featuring an entirely new backstory and new cast.[38]


Although intended as a "soft reboot" of the G.I. Joe film franchise that would revitalize the series, Retaliation actually fared worse with critics than its predecessor, The Rise of Cobra. As of June 29, 2021, the film holds a score of 29% fresh at the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes with 180 reviews, the site's Critics' Consensus feature stating that "Though arguably superior to its predecessor, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is overwhelmed by its nonstop action and too nonsensical and vapid to leave a lasting impression." Leonard Maltin stated that "There's a decent attempt to humanize the characters and make them more than mere fighting machines...but there are also potholes in the logic of the screenplay," while Peter Bradshaw stated that "It would be nice to report that this movie, based on the Hasbro toy soldier line, was amiably daft or engagingly silly. But actually it's dull and aggressive, steroidally humourless."

Poster gallery

External links


  1. G.I. Joe opens to $100 million worldwide, but will it hold?, accessed August 11, 2009
  2. G.I. Joe Sequel is Happening; Zombieland's Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Writing G.I. JOE 2 accessed January 13, 2010
  3. Par OKs G.I. Joe sequel, dates Trek, accessed January 13, 2010
  4. Exclusive: Stephen Sommers to Direct G.I. Joe Sequel, accessed August 4, 2010
  5. Stephen Sommers won't dress for battle on 'G.I. Joe' sequel, accessed January 6, 2011
  6. Storm Shadow to Return in G.I. Joe Sequel
  7. Lee Byung-hun to Reprise G.I. Joe Role, accessed February 1, 2011
  8. Paramount Drafts Jon M. Chu For G.I. Joe 2, accessed February 25, 2011
  9. 'G.I. Joe 2' Strikes August 2012
  10. 'G.I. Joe 2' Moving Release Date Up to June 29, 2012
  11. JJ Abrams Moving Toward Helming 'Star Trek 2,' But 'G.I. Joe' Sequel Will Get His June 29, 2012 Release Slot Deadline Hollywood, July 2, 2011
  12. G.I. JOE Sequel Gets a New Title and Release Date
  13. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" Sequel Has A Title, Comic Book Resources, April 28, 2011
  14. 'Thor' Actor Ray Stevenson to Play Villain in 'G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes' (Exclusive)
  15. Joe Mazzello Enlists For 'G.I. Joe 2'
  16. |title=Walton Goggins Signs On For ‘G.I. Joe 2′
  17. Bruce Willis confirmed for GI JOE 2: RETALIATION - News
  18. Bruce Willis Confirmed for G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation!
  19. Timber To Appear In G. I. Joe: Retaliation - GI Joe News
  20. G. I. Joe: Retaliation Casting Call Reveals Cobra Commander - GI Joe News
  21. Jon Chu On Why 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' Will Be Nothing Like 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra'
  22. G.I. Joe Movie Retaliation Director Jon M. Chu Confirms The Return Of Destro - GI Joe News
  24. G.I. Joe 2's New Title & Trek Takeover
  25. G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation Photo with Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock
  26. 'G.I. Joe 2' Crew Member Dies At New Orleans Set
  27. Video Interviews: G.I. Joe Director And Producer Say They're Basically Rebooting The Franchise
  28. Par boots 'G.I. Joe' to 2013
  29. 'G.I. Joe 2' Strikes June 29, 2012
  30. Joe 2' Moving Release Date Up to June 29, 2012
  31. ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Moving To March 2013 To Add 3D For Bigger Foreign Box Office
  32. Big Problems Behind ‘G.I. Joe 2′s Big Delay
  33. [1]
  34. Paramount Brews More ‘Joe’
  35. [2]
  36. Paramount Sets 'G.I. Joe,' 'Dungeons & Dragons' Release Dates
  37. EXCLUSIVE: Character Details About The G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant
  38. Inverse - "Everything We Know About Snake Eyes..."