Hardly Rock solid

by Gazette Reporter
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MY name is Paul and I quite like professional wrestling.

At 26 years old, this confession still raises eyebrows, but the absolute daftness of it all, mixed with the levels of athleticism on show, make the squared circle a favourite form of entertainment for me.

With that in mind, and remembering that I grew up in his heyday, I also love The Rock.

Sure, nowadays he goes by the name Dwayne Johnson and likes to be thought of as an actor and occasional wrestler, but to me he’ll always be The People’s Champion, The Great One, The Brahma Bull: The Rock.

Such is my love of Johnson, I have subjected myself to some of his, shall we say, less glorious filmic output.

Faster, Doom, The Game Plan and more have been consumed with gusto, with Johnson continuing to prove himself a talented actor (outshining everyone in the absolute wreck that was Be Cool).

Another thing that I carried over my childhood is an appreciation of GI Joes.

Four inch plastic figures that consumed many hours of my formative years, GI Joe was brought to the big screen in 2009 with a star-studded cast and a woeful movie.

Such was the poor reception of 2009’s Rise of Cobra, the producers did the only logical thing: call The Rock.

Of course,

GI Joe: Retaliation also features one Bruce Willis and a certain Channing Tatum (cumulatively setting a world record for biceps in a film).

But, really, this is a play directly from the Fast Five playbook. In the fifth instalment of the car-chase franchise, The Rock reinvigorated the whole thing with his stern gaze and unbelievably built body.

Again the role of shot in the arm of a flagging franchise is left to The Rock because, spoiler alert, Tatum bolts early doors and Bruce Willis, one of the biggest stars on the planet, is marginalised in favour of story building.

Normally, a  focus on story is a good thing, but this is a GI Joe movie.

The whole premise is so preposterously nonsensical that the only way to make a decent film is to have some fun with it.

Unfortunately director Jon M Chu (director of the Justin Bieber movie), didn’t get that memo and decided that a film based on action figures, starring The Rock, had to be a deadly serious thriller.

It’s the filmic equivalent of having a band with Slash in it and making a dubstep album.

Chu seems weighted by the ridiculousness of the premise established by the end of the first film (an evil doppelganger has taken the office of the US President).

So weighted, he seems, that he fights it with every inch of his being, trying desperately to establish his film as something else.

But Eliza Doolittle, GI Joe: Retaliation is not.

Two collaborations with Bieber put Chu in enough stead to be given a budget of $185 million and despite the early buzz of this being almost singularly negative, he has been handed the reins to The Masters of the Universe reboot.

But based on this, he does not have the power to revive a franchise.

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