Action/Thriller/Sci-Fi. Dwayne Johnson, DJ Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum, Lee Byung-hun, Elodie Yung, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Bruce Willis, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo, Luke Bracey. Director: Jon M Chu

The original G.I. Joe film, subtitled The Rise Of Cobra, opened at the peak of the 2009 summer blockbuster season to a blitzkrieg of largely negative reviews.

Aimed predominantly at teenage boys with limited attention spans, the all-guns-blazing romp based on the popular line of military action figures stormed past $300m in worldwide box office takings.

Money talks louder than a flimsy script, weak characterisation and clumsy digital effects, so director Jon M Chu (Step Up 3D) locks and loads for this bigger-budget sequel, which raises the action ante with eye-popping set pieces and bruising showdowns.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is slicker and more entertaining than its predecessor, although the bar wasn’t set particularly high.

Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick sensibly kill off swathes of their cast in the explosive opening sequence in order to focus attention on a handful of undernourished characters.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is preoccupied with spectacle over substance but does deliver pulse-racing thrills and spills that make good use of the 3D.

The cliff-hanging Himalayas sword fight incorporates vertiginous shots of bodies tumbling to terra firma.

Johnson, Channing Tatum, Willis and co flex their pecs, discharge hundreds of bullets and perform gravity-defying leaps in the name of world peace, but they still can’t save London from being reduced to rubble by a nuclear detonation.