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G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2013 / 57m

You won’t find many people saying many good things about 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, apart from those who favour films with cumbersome titles.  But, of course, it made a load of money, so four years later, here’s the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation – unfortunately this time there isn’t even enough there to satisfy those who favour films with cumbersome titles.  It comes from the director of Justin Bieber – Never Say Never, Jon M. Chu.  Of course, Bieber’s baby-faced pop is not for everyone, but I will say one thing – if you thought you would go through your lifetime without coming across a film featuring more puerile, more irritating music than Justin Bieber – Never Say Never, then you didn’t count on G.I. Joe: Retaliation, whose score by Henry Jackman makes Alan Silvestri’s pretty mediocre effort for the first film sound like a gilt-edged masterpiece.

Sadly this score takes the least appealing aspects of Silvestri’s – the dated synths, noodling fragments of themes that don’t go anywhere – and fills in the rest not with the kind of ballsy action music that at least partially redeemed the earlier score, but rather with banal laughably overwrought Zimmerish melodrama and headache-inducing electronica.  Even when it tries to be serious, such as in “Exile”, it’s so simplistic, so facilely telegraphed, it comes off more as an insult to the intelligence.  I’m sure the film itself is no great intellectual challenge, but lord knows, enough films like that over the years have inspired wonderful scores, so that’s no excuse.  I would traditionally at this point play my usual card and say that I guess Jackman delivered exactly what the filmmakers wanted – but that assumes the filmmakers wanted a score that spent half its time being so bland as to pass by unnoticed, and the other half being so offensively dumb that everyone just pines for it to go back to being bland again.  Well, I guess the guy did direct the Justin Bieber movie.

Rating: * | |

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