When all else fails…these guys don’t! Based on Hasbro’s wildly popular action figures, G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation make their U.S. 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debuts from Paramount Home Entertainment. Check out Ralph Potts’ review below.


The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Paramount – 2009, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 110/117 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, Jonathan Pryce, Rachel Nichols, Sienna Miller, Byung-Hun Lee, Marlon Wayans, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson, Ray Park
Directed by: Stephen Sommers, Jon M. Chu
Music by: Alan Silvestri, Henry Jackman
Written by: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 20, 2021

"Evil Never Looked So Good"


When all else fails…these guys don’t! Based on Hasbro’s wildly popular action figures, G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation make their U.S. 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debuts from Paramount Home Entertainment.

My Take:

Both G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation have been previously released on Blu-ray. These catalog titles are making their debut in Ultra HD Blu-ray. They are available separately however I have opted to review them together here. I am going to include details from my previous reviews as it will coincide with the elements contained in these releases. I will be adding new comments regarding the Ultra HD video quality. Neither has received an upgraded sound mix and include the original DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio (Rise of the Cobra) and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Retaliation) listening tracks. The technical rating will be derived from those ratings alone. It should be noted that these Ultra HD presentations essentially share the same attributes, which is why I opted to review them together. As such the technical rating will apply to both. Each of these two disc sets include the film (both the Ultra HD and previously released 1080p versions), previously released supplemental material, and Digital copies.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra follows a top-secret elite strike force featuring the best operatives from around the globe. After a high-tech secret weapon is stolen by a mysterious and evil organization known as COBRA, it’s a race against time for the G.I. JOE team to avoid their enemy from plunging the world into chaos.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is the continuing adventures of the G.I. Joe team, Duke (Channing Tatum), second-in-command Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), and the rest of the Joes face a two-fold threat. Not only is their mortal enemy COBRA rearing its ugly head again, but there is also a threat from within the U.S. government: There might be an impostor in the White House. Meanwhile, Snake Eyes (Ray Park) is on a search for inner peace but learns that his nemesis, Storm Shadow, is still alive.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra is an overcooked hyperkinetic actioner that is pretty silly but depending on your tolerance for convention isn’t all bad. I actually don’t have a problem with the character design, or the choices for the cast. I enjoy the banter between Rip Cord (Wayans) and pretty everyone he engages. Channing Tatum isn’t much of an actor and is the weakest link in the chain. Poor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is stuck in all that make-up playing a campy villain but, whatever. I thought that having the two female characters on each side of the equation worked well as did the subplot/rivalry involving Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The action and production elements are decent although watching it today the CGI is quite bad. I have owned G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra on Blu-ray since its release. It’s not great but, ticks a few of the right boxes to qualify as fair popcorn enetertainment.

Honestly, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is essentially more of the same, although clichés and nonsensical situations abound. The attempt at humanizing several of the characters is weak but, not detrimentally so as I found them likeable. Dwayne Johnson is a much better lead than Channing Tatum which certainly helps. The action is of course repetitive (perhaps with the exception of the Himalayan Mountains battle sequence) but, nonetheless entertaining and, I found the production elements to be very decent. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is exactly what you might expect and is most definitely aimed at the popcorn flick crowd. As with its predecessor, I acknowledge its shortcomings as a film but, must admit that I don’t mind it. It’s the kind of adrenaline fueled, frenetically paced and routine style genre entry that provides the type of escapism that is fun to take from time to time.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

UHD Presentation: 77
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • HDR: Dark Highlights:
    • HDR: Bright Highlights:
    • HDR: Expanded Color:
    • Resolution:
    • Visual Impact:

G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra & G.I. Joe: Retaliation comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio & Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

From a cinematic perspective, each of these films was shot with a contemporary visual aesthetic in mind, which comes through in their respective Ultra HD and 1080p presentations. The palate of autumn-based hues/earth tones and, variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD's wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution is stable, even in scenes containing CGI, although I wouldn’t say there was a noteworthy uptick in sharpness, and detail compared to the Blu-ray. Upon closer inspection, I could make out finer details in facial features and clothing, but this predominantly came during close ups. On occasion, discernible improvements in depth could be seen in wide angle shots, but in most respects, I saw only incremental differences in apparent resolution when comparing select scenes from the UHD and Blu-ray.

Both of these films feature a host of visual elements where high dynamic range is employed. The results were fair but, far from the best implementations that I have seen. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as explosions or arcs of light opening assault on the convoy in Rise of the Cobra or the prison escape in Retaliation. Dark sequences had appreciable depth of field and contrast with occasional fluctuations in black levels. Retaliation being the newer of the two looked better overall but, frankly, neither of these presentations offered imagery that made a visual impact over their 1080p counterparts.

G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra: Ultra HD Video Rating: 76

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
: Ultra HD Video Rating: 78

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Dolby True/HD 7.1 & DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio:

Paramount Home Entertainment included only the original DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio (Rise of the Cobra) and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Retaliation) soundtracks found on the previous Blu-ray releases with this Ultra HD offerings. I most definitely would have liked to see immersive soundtrack upgrades here as these films are tailor made for 3D listening. Luckily the lossless multi-channel tracks are quite good, especially Retaliation. Generally speaking, these are aggressive and active surround mixed that have extended dynamic range that positively renders the bombastic nature of the elements in the recording. Low frequency effects rumble with tactile authority while occasionally pressurizing the room with punctuated deep bass that resonates throughout the listening area. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produces just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers. All in all, solid home theater experiences on both fronts.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Material
  • Disc 1: G.I. Joe: Retaliation Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: G.I. Joe: Retaliation Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Material
  • Digital Code: G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra
  • Digital Code: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Final Thoughts:

G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and its follow-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation are adrenaline fueled, sum over substance, routine style popcorn flicks that provides the type of escapism that I enjoy from time to time. Both are making their Ultra HD Blu-ray debut from Paramount Home Entertainment in separate Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo packs featuring unremarkable Ultra HD video quality, solid lossless sound (no immersive soundtrack upgrade) and legacy bonus material. G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation on Ultra HD Blu-ray don’t warrant upgrade consideration in their current form. Should that change down the road I would more than happy to see those results and revisit them.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7706 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems