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Section Header
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Composed and Produced by:
Henry Jackman

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith

Orchestrated by:
Stephen Coleman
Andrew Kinney
Larry Rench

Additional Music by:
Dominic Lewis
Matthew Margeson
Tom Holkenborg

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande (Digital)
(March 19th, 2013)

Varèse Sarabande (CD)
(April 16th, 2013)

Also See:
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Audio Clips:
3. Get Me the GI Joes (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

9. Storm Shadow (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

16. End Game (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

18. Firefly (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release. The digital release preceded the identical CD album on the market by a month.


G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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Buy it... if you experienced uncontrolled spasms of joy while watching the intellectually devoid mayhem of this film's plot and hearing its equally juvenile and derivative rock score.

Avoid it... if your mamma taught you better than to be a sucker for stupidity.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation: (Henry Jackman) Never let intellectual failures deter you from milking a cash cow, a lesson reminded by the 2009 cinematic adaptation of Hasbro's classic "G.I. Joe" toy and comic lines. Despite its artistic shortcomings, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a fiscal blockbuster worthy of a sequel, though the arrival of G.I. Joe: Retaliation took longer than anyone anticipated. The film was ready to debut in the summer of 2012, but Paramount withheld it until early 2013 to convert it to 3D, squandering millions of dollars of promotional tie-ins and advertisements that had already been committed to the prior year. A significant turnover in the cast and crew of the sequel causes several incongruent aspects of the budding franchise to disappoint, many actors portraying returning characters refusing to reprise their parts. The plot of G.I. Joe: Retaliation doesn't crank up the intelligence meter, however, resorting to yet another set of logical fallacies of a massive scale that yields even more grotesque destruction of a major world city due to terrorist activities. In this case, the President of the United States (Jonathan Price, in a twist of Bond villain irony), along with members of his security detail, is replaced by a Cobra-sponsored impersonator who unleashes nuclear horror upon the planet. So much for powers of observation by the travelling press (seriously, Chuck Todd's goatee could spot this farce). The solution? Hire Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson to solve the world's ills with pithy commentary and equally nonsensical access to military assets certainly responsible for America's bloated national debt. Out the franchise's door with director Stephen Sommers went composer Alan Silvestri, who supplied at least serviceable, if not obnoxiously anonymous music for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In with dance-obsessed young director Jon M. Chu came Hans Zimmer spin-off composer Henry Jackman, who, in his defense, had proven in the early 2010's to be among the most capable artists to emerge from the Remote Control production house. With his choice, however, the "G.I. Joe" series was taking the inevitable step towards combining its musical sensibilities with those of the "Transformers" franchise, the two rumored in 2013 to be merged in a forthcoming picture. Whereas Silvestri had pandered to the modern, synthetic, techno-action sound while retaining some of his trademark orchestral mannerisms in the prior score, Jackman makes no such attempt to bring a sense of class to G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Instead, he proves himself just as capable in the role of brainless, knock-off Zimmer clone as any number of less talented composers.

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There is good news in regards to the music for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, however: it isn't as wretched as Steve Jablonsky's Battleship. As moronic and derivative as these types of scores can be, at least Jackman (aided by his own team of ghostwriters, the true sign of having graduated past the highest ranks of the Zimmer factory) shows glimpses of promise during some sequences of exotic texture and ballsy action. Still, this is, without question, a procedural, library cut and paste job with no unique features whatsoever, as well as continuing proof as to why this sound has been met with such a vehement backlash from traditional film score collectors. Some of Jablonsky's Battleship samples seem to have inspired the soundscape for Jackman, the expected, straight electric guitar performances slashed by heavily manipulated synthetic tones that often swallow up the string and brass-dominated orchestra. The only woodwind performer in the group is tasked with providing some Eastern flavor in "Storm Shadow," a dramatic highlight of the work. Rock percussion is supplied as needed, laying waste in "Get Me the GI Joes" and congealing with the main theme in "Honor Restored" in ways that will fry the brains of the average Silvestri enthusiast. That cue does present Jackman's heroic main theme in its best light, but even here it's so generic that it simply seems to convey pleasantly noble progressions rather than a cohesive motif. The villains' material is led by the atrocious "Firefly," a rowdy but nearly unlistenable cue sullied by the electronic layovers. Some of the synthetic effects are so emphasized in the bass region that they cause possibly intentional distortion in the mix, essentially the old "sinking feeling" effect gone ridiculous. None of the themes in G.I. Joe: Retaliation reprises what Silvestri had already written, which makes little sense given that Jackman's ideas are inferior versions that try to take advantage of the same basic musical concepts. If you combine "Prologue," "Storm Shadow" and "End Game," the last of which features a few hints of Silvestri's organic action mode in its latter half, you might achieve three or four minutes of decent material. But that's not enough to float a 56-minute experience on album, a presentation in which the music is tedious and fails to make any attempt to distinguish itself. Jackman is better than this. Would he have been fired from the assignment for writing a more fluid hybrid score with at least token nods to Silvestri's original? Perhaps with a few Jerry Goldsmith meters thrown in for good measure? Probably not. Earning paychecks for this kind of trash is fine, but don't expect to receive any praise for it, other than the instinctive spasms from those in the mainstream who buy rock scores because they can't restrain themselves from leaking their precious bodily fluids while watching such idiotic displays of illogic. * Price Hunt: CD or Download

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 56:06

• 1. Prologue (2:00)
• 2. Arashikage (1:38)
• 3. Get Me the GI Joes (2:34)
• 4. Friendly Fire (1:41)
• 5. Exile (3:34)
• 6. Presidential Facade (2:38)
• 7. Einsargen (2:44)
• 8. Making Things Go Boom (2:10)
• 9. Storm Shadow (2:11)
• 10. Bad Dojo (5:05)
• 11. Lady in Red (3:18)
• 12. Fighting Ugly (1:50)
• 13. Fort Sumter (2:35)
• 14. Scare Tactics (2:29)
• 15. I Want It All (0:51)
• 16. End Game (4:09)
• 17. Honor Restored (2:48)
• 18. Firefly (4:19)
• 19. Zartan (7:25)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from G.I. Joe: Retaliation are Copyright © 2013, Varèse Sarabande (Digital), Varèse Sarabande (CD). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/30/13 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2013-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.