If a big, dumb action movie knows it's a big, dumb action movie and revels in that fact, is that preferable to a big, dumb action movie making the mistake of thinking it's significant, relevant art?
That's the question to ponder here - if you can think straight and your ears aren't ringing too badly. This sequel of sorts to the 2009 blockbuster "G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra" seems to have some cheeky fun with itself, from Bruce Willis cheerily revealing the arsenal he's hiding in his quiet suburban home to RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan essentially showing up and playing himself.
A major city is obliterated with the touch of a button and several others are in peril as the world hinges on nuclear destruction in what amounts to a hammy game of chicken. Nothing matters really. This is a movie based on a Hasbro toy, after all - it's all spectacle and bombast.
But at least "G.I. Joe" is aware of its vapidity compared to, say, last week's "Olympus Has Fallen," in which North Korean terrorists took over the White House in self-serious fashion, but our Secret Service agent-hero found time to make wedged-in, smart-alecky quips on the way to saving the day. That's not to say that this "G.I. Joe" is good, aside from a couple of dazzling action set pieces, but at least it's efficient in its muscular mindlessness.
Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Jonathan Pryce, Adrianne Palicki and Byung-hun Lee star.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality.
Running time: 110 minutes.