“A Perfect Getaway” & “G.I. Joe”
            In “A Perfect Getaway,” the viewer is invited into the utter realism of a honeymooning couple realizing that their perfect Hawaiian vacation is suddenly going south.  In “G.I. Joe,” the viewer is invited into the utter fantasy of a couple of elite soldiers who are seemingly indestructible.   And they have a sense of humor.  What little lightheartedness exists at the beginning of “A Perfect Getaway” quickly melts into suspicion, mistrust, dread, then horrifying personal violence.  All the violence in “G.I.Joe” is bloodless.  Plenty of anonymous military and para-military guys get blown away, but we don’t know them, anyway, and they just disappear from the screen like in some video game.  The characters we care about (played by Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller) are both people of violence, but seem to be mortal enemies.  Except that we quickly learn that they used to be an item, and still have feelings for each other, and somehow we are led to root for them as a couple at the same time we want for the good guys to save the world from certain destruction and for the bad guys to be at least neutralized, along with their dastardly weapons.  And wouldn’t it be even better if they repented?
            There’s no repentance in “A Perfect Getaway,” but there is plenty of deception about who the bad guys are and then, once their identity is discovered, there’s no remorse, it’s only a question of who’s going to survive.  Yes, there are plot twists in both, but neither ending could be called unexpected.  What keeps both movies afloat is the enlistment of accomplished actors to play shallow roles.  What could have been completely cardboard-ish turns out to feel like it has some depth.  Sure “G.I. Joe” borrows liberally from the “Star Wars” saga, as well as other scenarios that juxtapose saving the world and saving your own soul.  “G.I. Joe” will probably appeal to very young males, because of all the action sequences, and  “A Perfect Getaway” is going to struggle to find any niche audience (too violent to be a chick flick, too gruesome for the older crowd who are sitting in the next theater watching “Julia and Julie”).  Both are lightweight summer movies that can’t withstand too much scrutiny, but both display a modicum of suspense, decent acting, and competent production.  Popcorn movies could do a lot worse.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas