G.I. Joe: Retaliation

tn_gijoe2BruceGI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA was a stupid fucking movie from a shitty director. I loved it. It was just so un-self-consciously ludicrous that it was hard not to enjoy. Like a hyperactive little kid that you would never want to be a parent to but just seeing him jump around giggling for a minute makes you laugh.

The directionist was Stephen “THE MUMMY” Sommers, a veteran of loud, dumb, rhythm-less and weirdly low rent big budget summer blockbuster type movies. The guy couldn’t direct his way through a “DIRECTORS ONLY” door, but he’s excited enough about ninjas and funny masks and shit that he accidentally made a fun one. I would say he made RISE OF COBRA fun not so much through his talents as through a series of coincidences.

So hiring Jon M. Chu for the sequel seemed like a stroke of genius. He doesn’t have any action or big budget credits to his name, but he did make some sequels that greatly improved on a series without betraying its silly roots. His STEP UP 2 THE STREETS added many clever gimmicks and an ensemble of appealing underdogs to the template of the teen-dancers-from-opposite-sides-of-the-tracks original. With STEP UP 3 he went even further, maintaining an earnest melodrama at the core but placing it in a cartoonish world where dancers have light up clothes, roof top parkour training sessions and coats with built-in speakers for public restroom dance battle ambushes. I’ve watched it a couple times even. I bought it on 3D blu ray and I don’t even have a 3D TV. Chu is the Justin Lin of dance movies.

It just seemed right. A better director than Sommers, in my opinion, but not a guy that’s above the material. If he could approach it exactly like STEP UP it would be perfect: embracing the absurdity, but taking it seriously.

I mean, I wasn’t totally wrong. He did alot of things right, even if the movie didn’t live up to my hopes for it.

mp_gijoe2Chu wasn’t a fan of the first movie, and maybe that’s why at the beginning of the sequel he has the whole GI Joe team get massacred, with only a handful of survivors. Roadblock (Dwayne T.R. Johnson) and 3 other new characters survive by jumping in a hole, but part 1’s main character Duke (Channing Tatum) is killed. We’re told that the entire rest of the team except for Snake Eyes (1999 Outlaw Award winner Ray Park), who was out of town being framed for assassinating the Pakistani president, was killed. So I assume that means that Dennis Quaid, Rachel Nichols, comic relief Marlon Wayans and everybody else from part 1 were in the pile of dead bodies there. Sorry guys. We’ll pour one on the curb for you. Thank you for your service.

The survivors are branded terrorists and replaced by Cobra as America’s elite fighting force, so they have to go into hiding in an old gym/garage and in Bruce Willis’s kitchen.

Most of the bad guys don’t return either, or at least the actors don’t. The terrorist leader Cobra Commander, who has to escape from being paralyzed in a tank deep underground in a German prison run by Walton Goggins, is no longer played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Now he’s masked Luke Bracey, voice by Robert Baker, the backyard brawler/cockfighter guy on this season of Justified. The other guy, Destro, is also in the prison, but Cobra Commander decides to leave him there. The Baroness is not mentioned. Master of CGI disguise Zartan is still supposedly Arnold Vosloo, but you only really see him in a couple brief special effects shots, because he spends the entire movie disguised as President of the United States, so he’s played by Jonathan Pryce. (Is it fair to say that Pryce is the replacement for the replacement Darkman?)

Remember, in part 1 Zartan ambushed the president, and we thought “ha ha, Zartan is gonna pretend to be the president.” And then at the very end of the movie the president started whistling “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” like Zartan did earlier, and we thought, “wait, we weren’t supposed to know Zartan was pretending to be the president until now?” Part 2 sort of continues in that tradition. Of course it knows that we know that the president is really Zartan, but the heroes still have to spend 2/3 of the movie trying to figure out why the president is acting weird. They figure out that he was replaced by an impostor in part because he started saying “pop” instead of “soda.” (I gotta assume he was deep into some kind of anti-obesity campaign if he really said those words enough to register.) They have to mount a big undercover infiltration in order to steal a hair and test the DNA.

I mean don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the ludicrousness, but it makes the movie fall kinda flat when the heroes’ primary goal is to catch up to where the audience was at 4 years ago.

The villain who does return is the best one, the white-clad ninja Storm Shadow, played by the great Byung-Hun Lee of I SAW THE DEVIL. Like in the first one the most legitimately good part of the movie is the part about the ninjas. Storm Shadow has a complicated relationship with heroic black-armored and masked mute Snake eyes. I forget the back story exactly but they grew up together. That turns out to be important here so I probly should’ve read the wikipedia page or something. The movie assumed I remembered some shit I have no recollection of involving Storm Shadow murdering their master, but it was totally worth bringing up again for the ludicrous twist they add to the proceedings.

Now Storm Shadow has a cousin named Jinx (Elodie Yung from DISTRICT 13 ULTIMATUM) and they all have a master named Blind Master, played by RZA. I knew he was gonna be in it but was pleasantly surprised that he gets to do lots of wise Sifu monologuing in a style just like on his albums or the narration in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS. He seems to live on Ninja Mountain, which I believe is north of Jungle Village. I think all the shots of him are in Shawscope.

As we all saw in the trailer there’s a big ninja battle on the side of the mountain, it involves rapeling, swinging, ziplining, and lots of ninjas getting their lines cut and retiring to the great Cobra Command Center in the sky. I think everybody agrees this is an amazing scene that stands out as being way better than anything else in either GI JOE picture.

I also like that there’s a whole honor thing going on between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow where they team up to find a common enemy and since Snake Eyes can’t talk they have to bond through expressionless nods and offers of sword lending.

There’s a new guy on the Cobra team, the great Ray Stevenson as Firefly. He’s a guy with a burnt up face whose talent is, I think, controlling robotic glowbugs that explode. When they fly around they make those type of computery sounds they couldn’t get enough of in the TRANSFORMERSes, so I guess we’ll have to consider that The Hasbro Sound. It’s always great to see Stevenson, even though his Cajun accent (if that’s what it’s supposed to be) is not that hot and he isn’t given room to elevate his character with a poetic performance like he did in PUNISHER’S WAR ZONE.

I think RETALIATION has more legitimately cool things in it than the first one. The Rock is a much more charismatic lead than Tatum was, and in fact Tatum is much more likable in his small appearance. In the first one he seemed like he didn’t really want to be there, in this one he’s funny and jokes around with the Rock. The digital effects in this one are not as constant but are up to modern standards. RISE OF COBRA was funny how ridiculously out of date and cheap everything looked, in this one the standout scene (Ninja Mountain) is presumably mostly animated, but looks real. Snake Eyes doesn’t have the rubber face so although goofy he looks less goofy. Same goes for Cobra Commander. And there are some cool vehicles, especially Roadblock’s bouncy high speed tank (which he borrows from Bruce Willis, but unfortunately they don’t show him driving it out of the garage and through his suburban neighborhood).

Oh yeah, Bruce is in this. I guess he fulfills the Dennis Quaid role as the older mentor figure. He gets some okay jokes and one good corny emotional moment, but it’s not one of his more heartfelt performances. I prefer Quaid’s honest attempt to add gravitas to a gravitas free zone. Did anybody notice that poor Bruce looks kinda wimpy standing next to Jai Courtney? Well, picture him standing next to The Rock. Maybe he should’ve kept his coat on.

I have a question about The Rock. Is he owned by Under Armour? I don’t know if you know this company, they make athletic gear. They were started by a high school football player who didn’t like his shirts getting soaked with sweat during practice and he sewed some shirts from the fabric of women’s lingerie. He made a small business innovating in “sweat wicking” materials and it grew into a company so huge it’s now one of the main competitors with Nike. I have one of their sweatshirts that’s made out of “Charged Cotton” that repels water. It’s kinda ugly but it’s crazy because really, the rain rolls right off of it. I saw a profile of them on Dateline NBC or some shit and they are like the jock answer to Pixar, this utopian workplace where every employee is assigned a personal trainer.

Anyway I bring this up because The Rock has the Under Armour UA symbol on his chest for this entire movie, and before the movie they had the trailer for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 6 and in that he also has the UA on his chest. Also I remember Stone Cold had the UA in HUNT TO KILL, that might’ve been the first time I noticed it.

Is it possible that these guys are athletes who are given these products and find that it’s useful to them because they’re big dudes who get sweaty and so that’s what they like to wear in movies? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible that the Under Armour company purchased the rights to all WWE wrestlers with geologically themed names, so now if those guys want to show their likenesses on film they’re contractually obligated to have their owner’s logo visible at all times. That’s the theory I believe, and thanks to the brave sacrifices of people like Duke and Joe Mazello from Justified it’s a free country so I can believe what I want to believe.

RETALIATION is just all around a better designed, better acted, less moronic movie than RISE OF COBRA. But I’m sorry to say that doesn’t make it more enjoyable. Part 1 felt like it never quit. Every couple minutes a ninja pulls out a jet pack or they’re bouncing around in power suits or the guy with the rubber face is standing there like he doesn’t notice that he’s not a normal guy that can just stand there, and there are jets and submarines and things that just look fake and you laugh and I think there was a CGI polar bear at one point and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a humorously mega dual-super villain performance and a guy had a metal head and they would refer to “Dr. Mindbender” in dialogue as if that was normal. And it kinda felt like Stephen Sommers didn’t know this wasn’t an awesome cutting edge summer blockbuster. It’s not just that it doesn’t wink at you, it’s that it doesn’t seem like it is aware that there is any reason to wink at you. There was a certain naive crappy beauty to it.

In comparison this one is more tasteful but kinda dull. There’s a long stretch in the middle where not a whole lot actually happens. The Joes are walking through a desert for a while and then talking in a gym for a while. It’s great that they upgraded to The Rock, and he does look like a giant action figure when he’s standing on top of a tank shooting a gun that’ s bigger than Bruce Willis. But he’s still The Rock in military gear, which we could probly see in other regular movies. In this movie I want the emphasis to be on the crazy cartoon MORTAL KOMBAT type shit that you don’t get in all the other shit. I even kinda missed the rubber mouth on Snake Eyes.

They got this colorful villain in Cobra Commander but he barely gets any screen time compared to Zartan, who is not very exciting when he’s just pretending to be the president. But at least at the climax when he gets all the world leaders together to trick them into launching their nuclear missiles and then to override them so that, you know… what he does with the satellite that he has, with the Cobra symbol on it. You know come to think of it I have no clue what the evil master plan was. But in that scene he reveals his true colors so he gets to be really funny finally.

So anyway, that’s what happened when I had high hopes for the long delayed release of the sequel to the terrible movie built on nostalgia for a shitty cartoon from the ’80s made to sell militaristic toys to little boys. But while it is an underwhelming movie in many ways it also has a long list of things that made me happy, including but not limited to the Secret Service agents wearing Cobra lapel pins, the White House flag being replaced with a Cobra flag, Jinx beating up an old lady for some reason, Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow arriving at a nuclear summit on the front of a hovercraft, Storm Shadow consciously stopping his heart as part of a prison escape, and of course any time when a person or a computer screen refers to “Zartan” or “Destro” or “Cobra Commander” as if it’s their actual names and not weird.

So I had fun with it, and I suspect it will seem a little better when I watch it again some time a few years down the line. We were all excited and we saw so many of the highlights in the trailer and then they delayed it for almost a year and we still kept seeing the trailer. And it also ended up sort of a victim of bad timing because they kill off the actor whose popularity exploded between the two movies, and like THE LAST STAND they have an extensive “ha ha, this guy has like a thousand guns in his house” scene that doesn’t seem quite as cute at this particular moment in our nation’s history when our frequent real life gun massacres are starting to wear out their welcome. (The reverse of Channing Tatum.) Later on, with no expectations, these things probly won’t matter as much, and it’ll just be a pretty fun movie about tanks and missiles and The Rock and Ninja Mountain.

P.S. I know I’ve been saying this for years, but I think the momentum is building, the time has come. Isaac Florentine for GI JOE 3. Make it happen, toy company.


This entry was posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 1:58 am and is filed under Action, Bruce, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

95 Responses to “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

  1. Well damn. I’d hoped with the pedigree involved it’d be better, but I suppose it’s about as expected what with all the production delays.

    This was also an amazing mini re-review of the first one, which I also loved, so that was fun.

    I assume since you didn’t mention anything Vern, that they missed the obvious opportunity to have a badass Ray Stevenson vs the Rock extended beat-down sequence?

  2. You’re problem with the Zartan plot reminded me that I always thought the only major problem with PREDATOR 2 was that Glover spent pretty much the entire film trying to find out about the alien race we already all found out about in the previous film. The Zartan thing here was less of a problem to me, it wasn’t really the focus of the plot because, well, the plot wasn’t really focused.

    Florentine for three is a good shout, heck, I’d be happy if he made it a Storm Shadow vs Snake Eyes riff on NINJA

  3. Watched this with my 9-year-old son on Friday morning and we both loved it. The Himalaya scrap was outstanding, and clearly the best use of 3D in the movie (I don’t personally care for 3D but the boy enjoys it). I was honestly surprised by the fight scenes in that I was expecting them to be shot and cut with utmost precision, like the dance scenes in Step Up 2&3, but they were a little too post-action though not disgraceful or anything.

    They certainly missed a trick in killing Tatum, he and The Rock had genuinely good chemistry in their brief scenes together and would have elevated the movie had they been a team throughout.

    And Byung-Hun Lee! Dude took his shirt off and I was like, “shit man, I gotta stop with the Dominoes and get in the gym”.

  4. Also, I wonder how long Arnold Vosloo had to shoot this thing for? Or did they just CGI his face or something?

    It’s kind of funny how Chu wanted to make a movie which distanced itself from the first, but it ended up being a pretty similar kind of film that relies on knowledge of the first film to be followed at all.

  5. how could they make a GI Joe movie without the Baroness? I’m not even a fan but that seems like an odd exclusion

  6. Thank-you for your easy to use, easy to understand action comprehension chart. I hope major studios start using it on their advertising, like food labelling. I hadn’t noticed it before, is it the first time you’ve used it?

  7. What did you think of Lady Jaye, Vern? Especially her in that red dress.

  8. “Chu wasn’t a fan of the first movie, and maybe that’s why at the beginning of the sequel he has the whole GI Joe team get massacred, with only a handful of survivors. ”
    I dunno, because if that was the case, why would he not even mention the characters absent from the first movie, and make one of the characters killed in the ambush a completely new one? Plus, they seem to have rewritten what GI Joe is. In the first movie they seemed like a full blown army that was internationally backed, whereas here, they’re apparently a smaller special forces unit that’s U.S. sourced.

    But yeah, a lot to like, but a lot of faults too, including some massive plot holes, such as: Why does the the superweapon EXPLODE when they hit the override on it? if Cobra Commander is using it to get the world leaders to give him their allegiance, then surely he’d want to keep the thing around so they won’t go back on that?

    And I personally thought The RZA was terrible, Vern. His hamminess was the opposite end of the spectrum from Stevenson’s enjoyable brand of hamminess(I loved that his accent sounded like Hannibal Lecter’s impersonation when he’s talking about Clarice’s “pooah white trash” background in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS).

  9. Thanks for the review, sounds like a stupid, yet fun movie that surpassed the original, which wasn’t a tough thing to do in the first place! Looking forward to seeing it.

  10. Man, I remember trying to convince some friends that the first JOE was honest-to-god entertaining. They explode a lot of people’s heads in a PG-13 movie, and it may be bloodless, but I’ll take it. I totally look forward to Ninja Mountain.

    Also, the ACR is genius. Never stop using it. And maybe consider going back to older reviews and adding it.

  11. I noticed that you changed the ACR a little bit. 3 is now “passable”, but before it was “mediocre”.

  12. I liked it. Clearly, it’s not the “Fred Astaire joins the Expendables in Candyland” masterpiece of balletic grace, rainbow colors, and flawless mise en scene we’d hoped for when Chu got the job (It’s telling that you got a breakdance director making a part 2 and nobody’s made any ELECTRIC BOOGALOO jokes yet), but I’d long since given up on that idea anyway. Wild, idiosyncratic filmmaking concepts like “Put the camera in the right place and let awesome people be awesome in front of it” can’t possibly survive a year-long rejiggering process like the one RETALIATION went through. I mentioned in the JUDGE DREDD thread that I thought the mild choppiness of the action was to safeguard the PG-13 rating. Long takes and precisely composed camera moves might be great for action fans, but they suck for studios who need to chop out a few frames of impact here and there to prevent their feature-length toy commercial from getting an R. It’s all part of the package. You want a G.I. JOE movie, you gotta recognize that it’s never not gonna be a wounded duck. You take what you can get.

    Me, I liked most of what I got. I think the ridiculousness of the film is getting short shrift. I did not see this as the grim and gritty G.I. Joe. My biggest laugh was the jump cut to RZA narrating in his minigolf course/ninja garden. It was like a completely different movie got spliced in. (I also have a hard time saying RZA is terrible in the role because that’s the way the man talks. It’s not bad acting if you’re being totally naturalistic.) I loved Pryce’s hamminess as a POTC who totally does not give a single solid fuck. I hate to say it, but America would vote for that guy. I liked that I can now check “The Rock vs. The Punisher” off of my scorecard, and Stevenson’s terrible hick accent was hilarious. (He also had the best non-ninja action beat when his motorcycle separated into a dozen wall-destroying missiles.) And Walton Goggins added another subtle facet of weasely sadist to his ever-expanding menagerie. The subtle grace notes of “yuppie douchebag” he added to what could have been a standard prison warden character were quite entertaining.

    Also, the Joe Team’s pit escape was way cooler than Batman’s.

    And Patton’s gun? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of straight-faced ridiculousness I can get behind.

    On the negative side, Flint was a total waste of a character (Did they even take time to give him a single defining characteristic? Cocky, wet-behind-the-ears, uses an exotic novelty weapon, anything? He was basically the man who wasn’t there), I didn’t enjoy Lady Jaye’s unconvincing tough girl act and regressive daddy issues one iota (Bruce calling her Brenda was pretty funny, though), and I could have used more Cobra Commander (I loved how cocky his strut was in that preposterous costume). And speaking of Lady Jaye and novelty weapons, I was disappointed that they didn’t follow the cartoon’s insistence on making its heroines use phallic substitutes instead of guns by giving her some explosive-tipped spears.

    One thing I found unbelievable (yes, just one): I don’t think North Korea would have called back their nukes. This was the Democratic People’s Republic’s time to shine, and I don’t think they would have backed down from the chance to once and for all eliminate the poor, lonely, homosexual snow-drinkers of America who keep freeloading on North Korea’s ingenuity and generosity: http://www.glittersnipe.com/2013/03/29/north-korea-exposes-life-in-u-s-via-hilarious-propaganda-video/

    But yeah, Florentine for GI JOE 3: REDEMPTION. Is there a Kickstarter campaign I can donate to?

  13. I obviously meant POTUS, not POTC. Though it would be awesome if for unknown reasons Zartan chose to play the president as Jack Sparrow.

  14. “The Himalaya scrap was outstanding,”

    D13 – Yes it was. If only the rest of the movie captured that energy, that imagination and joy, then we would’ve had a real winner here.

    I won’t repeat my complaints that I shared in the JUDGE DREDD thread, but instead I’ll make a new comment that I’m sure some locals will disagree with. But here it goes.

    I was bored the other day and streamed the Albert-Pyun-free CAPTAIN AMERICA, and I felt stupid for not noticing how this and G.I. Joe are basically almost one and the same. (Of course that is ignoring that this is set in WW2, the movie is an intentional throwback to the corny serials, this is more about the walking flag’s story than his squad and their fight, this is 2 movies crammed into one, etc.) I mean I believe in the JD thread I cited THE AVENGERS of somewhat being the G.I. Joe movie I had envisioned in my head (and briefly realized in that mountain fight), but “less superpowers and more ninjas and vehicles that blow stuff up.”

    But CA its an even more apt comparison. Both are heavy CGI, big spectacle action-adventure films designed (at least in part) to sell toys. Both involve a disfigured fascist (Red Skull/Cobra Commander) who wants to conquer the world and is backed by his cult army and sci-fi technology. Both organizations (Cobra/Hydra) are named after animals, and fancy their operational methods as similar to those animals’ traits. Both “leads” are Americans with a real comic bookish codenames given by their governments (Evans/Tatum/Rock), and are surrounded by your usual squad where each member is known for an attribute or/and their nationality.

    Yet unlike any of the G.I. Joe films, CA for me was charming, entertaining, and even interesting at times. So how is it Marvel is able to pull off that larger than life, live action “cartoon” vibe better than Hasbro? Not like both companies spend more than the other on their films, so I wonder why?

    Is it just the personel? Is it just Marvel tries and Hasbro doesn’t care and does just enough to make their money? Is it Marvel is movies off comics with well-established mythologies to plunder and Hasbro sometimes has to build up a world from scratch like adapting a board game like BATTLESHIP? I don’t know. What do you all think?

    What’s amusing is some people online defending GJR (though nobody on this websight thankfully) pull the excuse card that this is about what one can expect or hope from a movie based off a toy. Such a shitty excuse because:

    (1) What do Rom: Space Knight and Micronauts have in common? Both were memorable 1980s comic books that were based off toys, with comics meant to promote them. Yet people from that era remember those comics, because the people who wrote them were actually INSPIRED by the concept of those plastic chunks and did creative wonders with those. (And when I mean people, I mean Bill Mantlo.) Funny enough the same applies to G.I. Joe. The people who made RETALIATION say they were heavily inspired by those Larry Hama comics*, but I don’t see it. Rom I still believe would make for a good picture.

    (2) Not a toy, but CLUE was a movie based off a friggin board game. And that’s movie’s awesome. (PSYCH even just did an episode inspired by it.)

    *=My favorite touch was when Cobra funded their operations by funneling money from a soap-selling scam. Or when (if I remember correctly) they became an “independent” nation and got recognized, a seat at the U.N. and everything. Where is that inspired, wonderful absurdity in those films?

  15. “And Patton’s gun? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of straight-faced ridiculousness I can get behind.”

    Mr. M – Exactly. Why not more like that? Be interesting, be colorful. Be inspired. (Like Red Skull writing the city tagets on his bombs. Why? Why not?) Its a term I call “wonderfully asburd.”

    I wonder if the movie being too grounded was like Hasbro trying to be too much like Nolan (a complaint I also throw at the first movie with giving everybody a flashback backstory) but they made the shitty mistake that NOT EVERY PROPERTY/CHARACTER SHOULD BE DONE LIKE BATMAN. Damn you Hollywood, when you assholes gonna understand that? Every title or characters have their own charms, or potentials ones at least, and should be embraced by their own identities. G.I. Joe to me is like James Bond but on steroids, more ninjas and awesome stuff that our world is too lame to produce yet.

    But alas I think Vern was right. The franchise was already wounded, and they could only do so much when fucked in a corner like that. They tried a sequel/reboot but that almost never works. Oh well.

  16. JSIXFingers – The Rock vs. Stevenson is actually the climax of the movie – it’s a hard-hitting fight with some Equilibrium style Gunkata thrown in for good measure. I know other reviewers have complained about how “small” the finale feels to this, but I think two dudes going mano-a-mano while the world is about to be vaporized is always a great ending (see Under Sieges 1 and 2). I also loved how in any other movie, the Stevenson character would be a computer nerd (his main weapon is sending out explosive fireflies for God’s sake!), but here he’s still a badass.

    I actually really liked the action sequences and the 3D – I normally can’t see 3D effects for the life of me and I’m super-sensitive to shaky-cam, but I thought it was great – maybe I sat in the right part of the IMAX theatre for once? (Back row and to the left).

    Anyways, I loved it, even though I can’t decide if I liked the dumber, but more fun first one, better or not. Palicki is surprisingly great (I think she’s part of that emotional moment involving Bruce that Vern liked). The Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes plot is a ludicrous retcon but it had me grinning ear to ear. But I agree with others that you could literally cut Flint out of the movie and nothing would change. He has no character or character traits to speak of, except he has the power of PARKOUR. I know some have complained that Lady Jaye’s daddy-issues subplot is cliche, but it’s given about 2 minutes of screentime and handled in a well-acted and satisfying way. They could have thrown Flint some kind of bone while they were at it.

    Also, let’s discuss how DJ Cotrona (Flint) gets first billing. I know it’s alphabetical order, but I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a big budget Hollywood (intended to be Summer) movie that had a complete unknown be first billed. I’m guessing they went that route to hide how much/little Tatum is in the movie? (I still to this day don’t get how anyone was surprised by the big celebrity death in Deep Blue Sea – the person got a “and…..” credit!)

  17. Vern – I’m surprised you didn’t mention that RETALIATION’s director is attached to make that He-Man movie. I wonder if this movie making $135 million globally this past weekend will spur momentum behind that project now? “Yes clearly this guy knows how to make movies based off 80s toys.”

    Mr. Majestyk – Hammy Jonathan Pryce is like pouring pepper on coleslaw: There’s never too much. I loved that one line that Pryce nails: “Why does everybody want to be President? Because everybody wants to rule the world!” Also you gotta love faux-Pryce mocking real-Pryce for how his approval ratings went up since taking over.

    But again, why not more of that? RETALIATION, you’re a fucking cocktease you know that ho?

  18. As much as I loved Pryce, I wished Vosloo got to play Zartan for the big confrontation with Stormshadow. He’s a solid mega-actor in his own right and it’s an insult that he only got to be a special effect. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for him because “I have to come back here, I carve myself a steak” remains one of my favorite henchman threats ever. He gets a lifetime pass for that.

    Another dropped ball: no Cobra uniforms. C’mon, fellas. We want navy-blue penis helmets, uncomfortable-looking leggings, and big red chest icons so our heroes know where to shoot.

    But yeah, I had a lot of fun.FAnd I still have hope. Dranchises are like glaciers nowadays: They move slow but sometimes they actually get where they need to be. Maybe by the fourth one we’ll get Indian warriors with spirit eagles and emperors cloned from history’s greatest tyrants and arctic troops who get Dr. Moreaued into werewhales. You know, that good shit.

    Oh, and Ryan Reynolds as Shipwreck. He needs a franchise to call home, this franchise needs some reliable comic relief. Hollywood seems determined to do something with Reynolds, despite the free market explicitly stating otherwise, and this is the best use of him I can come up with.

  19. Holy shit I didn’t know Foywonder is on Twitter. I wonder what he thought of this movie:

    “G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is the finest G.I. Joe movie Cannon Films never made in 1988”


    (Or knowing this board, locals will consider that a compliment.)

  20. A 1988 Cannon G.I. JOE film is the reason somebody will eventually invent a time machine. Michael Dudikoff as Duke, Sho Kosugi as Snake Eyes, Chuck Norris as General Hawk, Frank Langella as Destro, that chick from NINJA III as the Baroness, Cynthia Rothrock as Scarlet, that bug-eyed fuck from INVASION U.S.A as Zartan, Brad Dourif as Cobra Commander, Steve James as Roadblock, Charles Bronson as the President.

    Don’t even front.

  21. Mr. M – Don’t forget, get the director of DEATH WISH 3.

  22. Well, obviously. Not only had 1988 Michael Winner reached his ultimate not-giving-a-shit potential, it’s the only way you’d get Bronson in it.

  23. I agree with Vern that RETALIATION is a better conceived and crafted film than THE RISE OF COBRA, but it is not as fun or as enjoyable. There is nothing that stands out to me as glaring flaw that prevented me from enjoying the film and it does feature some inspired parts (ninja mountain fight), but at the end of the day it is a film that is never quit as good as it’s ingredients. Any film with a cast of The Rock, Bruce Wills, Channing Tatum, Byun-Hun Lee, The RZA, Ray Stevenson, and ninjas it should be more fun than RETALIATION is.

    PS: Vern I love the new action comprehensibility rating system.

  24. I liked this one. Not love, but like. I think we could hold hands and maybe get into some heavy petting, but home plate isn’t in the cards.

    What worked for me were the little touches other people noticed. For example, it really feels like Walton Goggins took a character who was supposed to be a warden similar to the Aspen number we got in Stallone’s DREDD, and created an interesting sadist who managed to punk Storm Shadow not once but twice (defibrillator/heating system). It’s as though his inherent Goggins awesomeness out-ninjaed the ninja. Couple that with the mountain fight, Lady Jay, the Rock, and Lady Jay, and you’ve got a satisfied Bad Seed. At the same time Vern’s point about the president and all are spot on: come on movie, we know who the villain is, so let’s get into it (and Cobra Commander: he was criminally under utilized).

    Also, I liked the Cobra master plan: make the world powers use up all their nukes, and then rule them using your own catastrophic, space-based weapons system. Pretty simple, when you think about it, and a lot more plausible than nanobugs (really, these rod-based weapons are still allowed under current national law).

  25. It was ok. It’s goofy and has its fun moments, but it isn’t as goofy and fun as the original.

    Like Vern said, the Joes spend way too much time trying to figure out why they were betrayed. It doesn’t help that the surviving Joes are pretty boring. Rock is playing the generic leader, ‘Flint’ is basically an extra and Lady Jaye dresses sexy a couple of times to lure in bad guys. Snake Eyes should have gotten more to do.

    Cobra doesn’t do much either. They spend most of the movie waiting for their SUPER-WEAPON to be completed. Still, the villains are much more interesting that the heroes. Cobra Commander sounds like a Transformer now and says stuff like “The Cobra Revolution HAS BEGUNNNNN”, Stevenson has a funny country accent and Jonathan Pryce really seemed to be enjoying himself. The nuclear disarmament scene is the funniest part of the movie.

    The action isn’t horrendous, but there’s way too much of that ‘super-quick cuts to make it seem like the action is FAST & EXCITING!’ crap. The silent interlude with Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx is only action scene that’s memorable and really works. I had the most fun with the ninja stuff. I have no idea why Zartan did that, but the cheesy makeup and RZA’s cheesy line readings made me laugh.

  26. I also liked how Cobra is a GREEN terror organization! They get rid of all the nukes and introduce a new, environment-friendly weapon of mass destruction.

  27. VERN, how about a review of Sommer’s best film, Deep Rising? I think you’re would enjoy that one. The bigger budgets Sommers got, the worse his films got. Deep Rising is lean, mean, clever, funny, action/horror hybrid.

  28. Agree it’s enough fun but it should have been the great American action movie with The Rock and Bruce playing GI JOE and it’s not. Disappointing shaky cam from a guy who knows how to shoot choreography.

    Majestyk, I thought you meant Pesident of the Cobra.

  29. The original Paul

    April 1st, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    So no nanobot superweapon that eats large national monuments? Crap.

    Sheesh, I was looking forward to this one, but now I think I might wait for the DVD. Thanks for the warnings guys.

  30. Well, the superweapon they do have manages to bullseye Parliament from space, so it probably has some sort of monument-seeking guidance technology.

    So far Cobra has managed to take out the capitols of France and England without anybody really giving much of a shit at all. I’d watch out if I were you, Berlin.

  31. The weapon is basically a giant bullet that is dropped from space

  32. Fred – funny remember when you called that one blockbuster last summer the MOST CYNICAL HOLLYWOOD DECISION EVER or some hyperbole decision like that? Yeah well that said movie was better than this.

    Mr. M – Cobra will bomb Lisbon in the next movie. That way AsimovLives will never bother you again.

  33. Mr Majestyk, by 1988 I’m afraid Bronson hated Winner’s guts. They split up before DEATH WISH 3 came out and didn’t speak to each other again. So I guess you will have to set your time machine to 1985.

  34. Mr Majestyk, Berlin is save. Germany NEVER shows up in such movies. Unless they take place during WWII.

  35. Well maybe in Majestyk’s time machine, he gets Winner and Bronson to kiss and make up (without the kissing)?

    Also since we’re playing 1988 Cannon, would Van Damme play Snake Eyes?

  36. CJ – what about AVENGERS? True only a guy loses his eyeball, but still that’s something for that city named after a 1980s band.

  37. Toy and comic adaptations just weren’t Winner’s style, a Cannon G.I. JOE joint has got Pyun written all over it.

  38. RRA: Yeah, I was thinking that Sho would make a better Stormshadow. Snake Eyes doesn’t have to talk or do anything except pose, really, and ’88-model Van Damme was already good at that.

    As for director, I’d actually have to go with Mark L. Lester. He didn’t have a movie out in ’88, believe it or not, so the timing’s right. We wouldn’t want to disrupt history or anything. We go back to ’85, we might make it so he makes GI JOE instead of COMMANDO. Then we’d come back to a dystopian alternate present where we’d be considered lunatics for raving about some phantom movie where that guy who was in TERMINATOR and then kinda petered out after that saws the top of a guy’s head off and has sexy murder times with a pudgy leather daddy in a sweaty old boiler room.

    Maybe Dudikoff becomes governor of California.

    It’s not a price I’m willing to pay.

  39. Was I talking about BATTLESHIP? What else could it have been?

  40. Fred – No no that superhero reboot from last summer that the Internet hated because…you know I still don’t understand why but they absolutely hated it. Then again unlike those idiots, I remembered the last movie before the reboot.

  41. Also, am I wrong to think that if Michael Bay had actually made BATTLESHIP as that movie was constructed, it would’ve been a super hit instead of sinking?

  42. You know what the next G.I. Joe movie desperately needs?

    A gratuitous (but awesome) Sgt. Slaughter cameo.


  43. RRA – If Bay made Battleship and it was the exact same movie and the exact same cast, no, I don’t think it would have made any more money, it’d be his next Pearl Harbor/The Island. The average joe on the street probably thought he did direct it anyway, the same way everyone thinks he directed Con Air. The thing that hurt it was the toy tie-in, I mean, it looked moronic even though I actually really dug the movie. But I do believe if the exact same movie came out minus the tie-in and was just billed as an Independence Day-type alien action movie, it would have made more money. Especially if it was called Aliens vs. Seamen.

    Back to GI Joe 2 – anyone else think it was weird that everyone’s suddenly taking orders from Cobra Commander? According to the last movie he was just a lowly doctor, and only became the leader roughly 30 seconds before getting captured. Also, I still hate the new Cobra Commander voice, especially b/c I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Someone had to point out to me he told Destro “We’re kicking you out of the band’ which is actually a pretty funny line if I could hear it.

  44. neal2zod – I don’t know, Bay has a big global fanbase. THE ISLAND was before the giant robots made that possible. If his name was attached, I’m sure it would’ve made money and the same people who dismissed BS would’ve defended it on popcorn/populist grounds.

    Then again, THE AVENGERS. Would even he contend with that juggernaut? Maybe not. We’ll never know.

  45. RRA – I’m one of those people that hated The Amazing Spider-Man, I guess that makes me an idiot?

  46. Does a duck fart?

  47. Can a mallard actually cut wind? Really I don’t know. Can somebody help?

    Griff – No not everybody who didn’t like that movie is an “idiot.” (No more than anybody who liked or hated RETALIATION.) I was refering to some of the hyperbole made by some folks which can really make your eyes roll. For example, comparing it to BATMAN & ROBIN. Heh?

    Then again, Internet going hyperbolic is to be a given and I should know better.

  48. the guy with the rubber face is standing there like he doesn’t notice that he’s not a normal guy that can just stand there


  49. RRA: That’s my point. When it comes to minor inconviniences, like some guy in a freaky costume poking someone’s eye out, blowing up a police car and force a group of citizens to participate in a sit-in, they use Germany. But when it comes to TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION, Germany is always left out.

  50. BTW, am I the only one who hopes that the next GI JOE movie will finally feature body massages and pork chop sandwiches?

  51. RRA: Thank you for the Bill Mantlo shout out. Although I say that The Micronauts would be the superior movie.

    But that’s because they have Bug and Rom doesn’t.

  52. Also Acroyear. I have wanted to see THAT movie since 1979.

  53. Oh, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Well, I didn’t compare it to BATMAN AND ROBIN, and I wouldn’t have because I find BATMAN AND ROBIN much more entertaining than ASM. Have I not explained on this forum before how BATMAN AND ROBIN is the movie America demanded, and then turned on? I’m sure I have but suppose it needs to be restated.

    Everyone loved Tim Burton’s BATMAN, biggest movie of the decade. Then he came out with BATMAN RETURNS and everyone hated it. They complained it was too dark, and the Penguin was gross. So then they had Joel Schumacher make BATMAN FOREVER and everyone loved it. It was light and colorful and funny and this is the way we want BATMAN. So then Joel Schumacher did it again and went a little crazier with it, and everyone hated it. How dare you make Batman so silly and sexual and we hate you and this is the worst movie ever. America asked for BATMAN AND ROBIN. Never forget.

    Sorry, Vern. I managed to go from Spider-Man to Batman in the G.I. JOE thread. Perhaps it does speak to audiences’ fickle forgetfulness. Really none of these movies exist in a vacuum. They’re all somebody at a studio or filmmaker responding to what audiences say they want. Only by the time the movie is finished the audience doesn’t remember what they wanted. They’ve moved on to something else. So they got the dark, brooding, mechanical web shooter, Gwen Stacy movie they wanted in time, but in the four years between GI JOEs they’ve pretty much forgotten they wanted a grittier military ensemble, or that Zartan was the president or whatever.

    RRA, I do detect some hostility in your posts. I think there was some pretty analytical non-dismissive writing about ASM last summer so fair is fair. I don’t think you have to worry about the internet. They’re making another one that will likely follow a similar thread.

  54. BR Baraka – Amen.

    CJ Holden – I also want Mike Tyson to finally get his day and become a G.I. Joe. He can take his boxing gloves into battle.

    The Limey – I guess I picked Rom because of the inspired twist on the sci-fi trope: monster robot comes to Earth, “kills” humans. Except he’s the good guy and they’re the baddie aliens infiltrating Earth. He has a full arch as a character, Silver Surfer-esque in giving up his humanity to fight this great evil he’s still fighting centuries later and trying to regain it with the girl he teams up with. If I remember right, she gives up her humanity as well to become a Rombot too, which is inspired dark fuck-upery for a “kids comic.” And ultimately, something very rare in Marvel comics: An uncompromised, fitting happy ending for them.

    Speaking of Micronauts, the guys hired to write the movie say its going to be pretty different from the comics and something new. They were the same ones I believe who wrote that R-rated Deadpool script that Ryan Reynolds has been pimping in public lately to get produced, because he realizes his 15 minutes are just about up.

  55. I agree with Mr. M, if we are playing the “what if” time machine game and were making an 80’s Cannon JOE film I would go with Lester as well. If he was busy my runner up would be Joseph Zito (THE PROWLER, MISSING IN ACTION, RED SCOPRION), or I bet you could get a young Renny Harlin on the cheap back then.

  56. RRA

    Sadly I think Rom was ultimately rehumaned, but I could be wrong. Jeez, I hope the Micronauts sticks to the STAR WARS rip off it was, Baron Karza, Enigma Force, gay robot/fiesty robot, energy swords, et al. Just so I can hear the sonic blasters go ‘Veep!’ And Worldmind. Jeez, I’m having a ludicrous nostalgia moment.

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with GI Joe. I didn’t mind the first one until the end. I have a theory that Stephen Sommers doesn’t dislike fakey visual effects, because what’s the difference? And I kind of agree with him.

  57. CJ: I remember watching INDEPENDENCE DAY in the theatre and getting all excited when there was a brief shot of an alien mothership crashed into Sydney Harbor “Woo-hoo, we made it in!”

    RRA: I didn’t really like ASM either. I thought it was okay when I watched it, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. The villain was boring (Raimi always made sure the villains had a strong personal connection to Peter Parker) and it didn’t feel like it understood Spider-Man as a character. Did you read about that origin story that was cut from ASM? I think it explains a lot.

    Fred: *redacted* AND ROBIN is the TRANSFORMERS 2 of superhero movies. Everybody turned on it, even though they just gave people more of what they thought they wanted.

  58. The original Paul

    April 2nd, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    “If Bay made Battleship and it was the exact same movie and the exact same cast, no, I don’t think it would have made any more money, it’d be his next Pearl Harbor/The Island. The average joe on the street probably thought he did direct it anyway, the same way everyone thinks he directed Con Air.”

    Nope, still never gonna live it down. Who the fuck IS Simon West, anyway?

  59. I saw this last night. Sensory overload, but enjoyable. I’d recommend it for the reasons Vern wrote. However, did anybody pick up on the use of Tears for Fears lyrics in this movie. I could swear they said the phrase ‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ at least 3 times!

  60. “Griff – No not everybody who didn’t like that movie is an “idiot.” (No more than anybody who liked or hated RETALIATION.) I was refering to some of the hyperbole made by some folks which can really make your eyes roll. For example, comparing it to BATMAN & ROBIN. Heh?

    Then again, Internet going hyperbolic is to be a given and I should know better.”

    oh, I just thought it was tedious because so much of it was a retread of the first Spider Man movie

    CJ Holden – it is pretty absurd that we’ve had TWO GI Joe movies and not one single Fensler Films reference in either of them, how the hell did that happen? I know those videos are old, but come one, talk about missed opportunities!

  61. Guys I don’t really have any interest in arguing about TASM*. We’ve been there, done that. I thought it was ok, a decent timekiller if nothing more. Just baffled by the sincere hostility against it like it was GREEN LANTERN or something. Just odd from my perspective. (Better than the clusterfuck that was SM3, so that’s where I was coming from.)

    I guess I’m less hostile to reboots/remakes/whatever in their general nature because its like Hollywood has a long history of making Bible movies. And Ridley Scott is directing a new Moses movie with Batman. Do I really need the Exodus story again? Perhaps not, but its a good story in the first place whether you’re Christian/Jewish or an indifferent agnostic like myself. In the end, how will they tell a story? How well will they tell it? I can accept more than one Hamlet, more than one NRA President drowning the Egyptians.

    Its why I laugh whenever people bitch about a new sequel or remake or whatever. That sure doesn’t keep them from enjoying those movies if they’re good.

    *=Sometimes I see that online and think why are nerds talking about A SERIOUS MAN?

  62. Speaking of which, I loved Mr. Majestyk’s comment about franchises being like glaciers. That’s genius analysis. Bravo you magnificent bastard.

  63. But RRA, I’m Franchise Fred. I’m naturally precluded to root for a franchise.

    CrustaceanHate, interesting comparison to TRANSFORMERS 2. I see it a little differently. I feel TRANSFORMERS 2 is the Transformers movie Bay wanted to make all along, while TRANSFORMERS 1 was the Transformers movie he made for Spielberg. Although interestingly, some people with no affection towards 1 couldn’t see why 2 was any different. Only people who liked 1 felt something was missing. REVENGE OF THE FALLEN has actually grown on me, probably only thanks to how much I hate DARK OF THE MOON. And I love the first one.

    All this to say G.I. JOE RETALIATION still isn’t good enough. Just being enough fun to pass the time isn’t striving for excellence. But I was really worried at first. Those first two action scenes with Channing still in them were so boring and lifeless I was like, “Oh, no.” Then at least the prison breakout and ninja scene came to life a little.

  64. One thing about Tatum in the movie; absolutely nothing in the movie suggested he was supposed in charge of The Rock’s character, except we were told he was twice, once in the hideous trading cards recap sequence, and once in dialogue from one of the reshoot scenes. Absolutely everything about their dynamic made it seem like The Rock was in charge. I wonder if this is because you simply cannot make Tatum seem like he’s a guy who tells The Rock was in charge, or if they added it in during reshoots because they thought it would make Tatum fans feel all tingly or something, and somehow help make up for what happens later.

  65. *Tells The Rock what to do*

  66. Fred – Yeah what WAS up with the first scene (the pre-credits scene with Tatum)? I don’t even know if you could call it lifeless, because it barely qualified as a scene! They sneak into (I guess) North Korea, shoot a guy’s coffee cup, and grab some mole/snitch that we literally never see again. When it cut to the credits I seriously thought they skipped a reel and cut out an entire action scene. I wonder if that was one of the re-shot Tatum scenes and they just didn’t bother to write it or flesh it out, especially because it’s kinda redundant to the next action scene.

  67. neal2zod – I believe your gut instinct is correct.

    I know you guys disagree with me on GIJR, and that’s fine. But I can relate something that happened to me today that really pissed me off?

    At another message board, somebody to say the least “strongly disagreed” with my bad review. Again fine, whatever. But then the little bastard writes this: “Unlike you, I wasn’t expecting THE GODFATHER.”

    Don’t these people understand how stupid that argument makes them look? I think what’s worse is that mentality belittles, demeans the truely good popcorn movies that these people are supposedly defending. Consider that JURASSIC PARK is coming back to theaters this weekend, which in my book is terrrific popcorn. A classic summer blockbuster.

    No you idiot I don’t expect THE GODFATHER in my popcorn movies. But JURASSIC PARK is one of many popcorn movies that I do expect in my popcorn fare.

  68. The original Paul

    April 5th, 2013 at 1:05 am

    RRA – I believe Vern covered that one in his “Transformers” review. And yes, it’s an obnoxious attitude and a patronising one. You didn’t like the movie because you went in with the wrong expectations, not because of its bad qualities!

  69. On a slightly similar note, what if “everyone” tells you that a movie is awesome, and you don’t like it?

  70. pegsman – You mean like “everyone thinks the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series is so goddamn awesome and you as a person could not give a singe fuck about it, even if part 5 apparently seems to be particular great” kinda way?

  71. well, obviously that wouldn’t happen, that would be ridiculous, but yes, something like that.

  72. Well, I was trying to be more philosophical – and as you know that’s not easy for Norwegians – saying that it’s easy to dislike or hate art, but not that easy to explain why you like something. I don’t know, I wrote that on the train home from work just before I fell asleep, so maybe I didn’t actually have a thesis ready. And besides, I usually have it the other way, I like something and get told – often on this board – that it’s actually crap. So what do I know, right? But you’re right about the FAST series, I don’t care much for the first 4, but I love number 5.

  73. Sgt. Slaughter claims he originally was supposed to play the Bruce Willis part, but a toy company dispute prevented it. (Joe is Hasbro, Slaughter like most WWE employees/ex-wrestlers has a Mattel toy contract.)

    I have 2 thoughts:

    (1) Sure Slaughter, the studio didn’t want Bruce Willis but YOU first.

    (2) If that’s actually true, damn those toy companies for fucking up a perfect thing that would’ve potentially helped both in the long run (nostalgic fanboy buzz from Slaughter appearance, Slaughter action figure sales go up.)


  74. So would he have been General Slaughter? Because that doesn’t really have the same ring to it. I guess that’s the problem with having your rank be part of your supercool code name. Nobody’s gonna want to ruin the alliteration by promoting you.

  75. Mr. M – Why not? First few Star Trek movies, Captain Kirk was an Admiral. (Before he got his ass demoted back to Captain.)

  76. Yeah, well, what about Captain America? Motherfucker’s been in the service since the forties, you’d think he’dve at least made major by now.

  77. Mr. M – For all we know, he got promoted but kept the “Captain” moniker because changing it would fuck up the merchandising and brand-name value.

    Or hell, maybe he was offered a promotion and thought: “Let’s see, get a payraise and desk job or keep kicking ass and punching out aliens in the public eyeand shit? What a tough decision. I guess I’ll have to turn your promotion.”

  78. This came on TV late last night. I tried watching the first movie but couldn’t make it even 10 minutes into it. So I had no real expectations going in and it exceeded them. Sure a lot of it made no sense and it often felt like a disjointed movie that was structurally all over the place due to endless rewrites and lack of real vision. But one thing I give it credit for is that it at least tried to strive towards capturing the spirit of G.I. JOE.

    A team of soldiers going up against Cobra through a series of imaginative obstacles like in the cartoon. It was pretty unapologetic about presenting that too. Even had cool quirks like Cobra flags being erected at the white house and other charmingly cartoony stuff like Cobra Commander POV shots and fireflys flying explosives. There were many scenarios that reminded me of the type of stuff I would come up with using my imagination and my G.I. Joe action figures. From fighting ninjas while scaling mountains to the elaborate Cobra Commander breakout.

    It’s not perfect. Not even sure if I’d ever see it again but yeah it was at least fun and had a cool quick pace despite the movie being all over the place. It never let up in delivering action and blatant scene chewing villainy. I hope the third time is the charm because if this was any indication of where the series could go then it’s almost there. I mean I’ll certainly say that it reminded me a lot more of what I liked and remembered about G.I. JOE than the movie TRANSFORMERS did with the toy property it adapted. In that sense I consider it a greater success.

  79. Also I did really like the idea that John McClane was the original Mego looking G.I. JOE in this universe. Regardless of the lackluster execution of said idea in the actual movie. At least it was inspired.

  80. GI Joe: Renegades is leaving Netflix Instant really soon – I’m only about halfway through but so far it’s one of the best “re-imaginings” I’ve seen. (small praise, I know) Joe purists might not like the changes in plot and characters, but the spirit of both remain the same. The story, btw, is that 5 of the Joes get framed for a crime, go on the run, and every episode stop to help new people while unraveling a conspiracy involving evil corporation COBRA and staying one step ahead of military cop Flint doing his best Tommy Lee Jones. So yeah, it’s a little bit the A-Team, a little bit The Fugitive, a little bit like Lost with the Dharma Initiative stuff. If that sounds too different from the Joe you know and love, you might not like it, but if you keep an open mind you’ll find well-written stories, good dialogue, and really likable characters.

    It’s not exactly a Nolan-esque reboot, since there’s even more fantastical sci-fi elements than in the movies, but there’s a lot of Nolan-esque touches like Zartan here can’t morph his face or anything and has no affiliation with COBRA, he’s just an asshole leader of a biker gang who likes doing impressions of people. It’s alot of fun seeing how beloved characters like Storm Shadow and Shipwreck will pop up in this alternate universe and what their incarnation will be, almost like the Star Trek/Terminator reboots without the time-travel stuff.

  81. How’s everyone feeling about SNAKE EYES? Given that it’s a month away, there have been two trailers and nobody has mentioned it, I’m thinking “very little”.

    I think it looks fun. The new Baroness gives a vibe a bit like a character from a 90s syndicated show based on a movie; not a bad thing in my book, but not really what you’d expect from a Blockbuster in 2021. The writers and directors don’t exactly scream “oh yeah, these are the guys!” either. You think there’s got to be a reason why they’re barely hyping a film like this in a year where there aren’t many potential mega-hits in the can. But I’m looking forward to it.

  82. Good question, Pacman. I’ll give it a look, as it has Iko Uwais and Andrew Koji, both of whom are in credit with me – Iko probably forever. Henry Golding has never struck me as anything more than a handsome chap, but I am reliably informed that he really is a very handsome chap. Whether they can make it look like he’s a Ray Park-level martial artist remains to be seen. If they want to build some buzz they should put out some videos of Golding’s training regime. They worked nicely for Bob Odenkirk and NOBODY. Feeling interested but not overly excited.

  83. That may be mainly because GI Joe just doesn’t have the pop culture cachet they think it does, but it doesn’t help that moviegoing has not fully returned. Even devotees like me haven’t been back to theaters yet (I’m seeing F9 tomorrow). So there are upcoming movies I will definitely see like this, BLACK WIDOW and CANDYMAN, but I don’t have an awareness of when they come out like I normally would, since it doesn’t quite feel real yet. Add to that that if you don’t pay attention you can’t necessarily keep track of what is coming to theaters or what is coming to a streaming service and if so which one.

    That said, I’m looking forward to SNAKE EYES, with caution because I don’t have any faith in the director. I also think it’s silly to cast an actor whose whole thing is being charming and handsome as a character whose whole thing is being silent and faceless, but that won’t matter if it’s good. On the positive side, I love this kinda ninja shit, I like Golding and Weaving, Iko is in it, fight coordinator Kenji Tanigaki is excellent (SPL, FLASH POINT, BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS, the RUROUNI KENSHIN series), and the trailers give the impression that they’re serious about showcasing the action. So my fingers are crossed.

  84. ” I don’t have any faith in the director”

    I feel like I should be a bit more supportive towards a fellow German who lives the dream of making the kind of movies that he would never be able to do in his homecountry, but I think he has proven more than once that he isn’t really someone who can handle action and/or special effect movies. He is quite good with small scale stuff though. His German SESEVENEN rip-off TATTOO is pretty impressive for a German movie of that kind and a few years ago he directed a black & white true story WWII drama back in Germany, that won him some awards. (And probably is the reason why he is still working in Hollywood, despite a string of expensive bombs.) Even his US debut FLIGHTPLAN is pretty watchable, if you are into that kind of studio thriller.

    But yeah: Hope for the best, expect the worst.

  85. My gripe about SNAKE EYES is the all too familiar and depressing “commercial” decisions that drive casting in many big budget movies. So you get the young, fit and one of the best martial artistes working today relegated to a Miyagi-Style Sensei supporting role while a pretty boy with a syrupy English Accent gets the lead. Equally depressing is that more people probably have seen CRAZY RICH ASIANS, A SIMPLE FAVOR and LAST CHRISTMAS than THE RAID, MERANTAU or THE NIGHT COMES FOR US.

    Although the choice of director for SNAKE EYES remains a head scratcher. I know Stephen Sommers got so much shit for GI JOE RISE OF COBRA (confession: guilty pleasure) but the man had at least TWO 100 million grossing MUMMY movies under his belt.

    I wonder what went into the decision to choose a director whose credits include one okay-ish Jodie Foster thriller, one decent but hardly spectacular Bruce Willis actioner, a Ryan Reynolds mega flop and the 3rd part of a YA franchise which tanked so badly plans for a fourth was scrapped?

    At least they got Andrew Koji for Storm Shadow which is a huge PLUS in my book

  86. “I wonder what went into the decision to choose a director whose credits include one okay-ish Jodie Foster thriller, one decent but hardly spectacular Bruce Willis actioner, a Ryan Reynolds mega flop and the 3rd part of a YA franchise which tanked so badly plans for a fourth was scrapped?”

    Marvel does that all the time. Well, It’s Hollywood.

  87. I wasn’t looking forward to it before (didn’t even bother watching the trailer), but that was when I didn’t realize Samara Weaving was the female lead. I’ll go see it in theatres.

  88. grimgrinningchris

    June 24th, 2021 at 4:50 am

    Weaving is topping my list currently.

    She is really fucking talented. And totally transforms.

    Like from The Babysitter to Guns Akimbo to Bill & Ted.

  89. grimgrinningchris: On the topic of Samara Weaving you and I are perfectly aligned.

  90. I only recently saw the preview for SNAKE EYES and I was excited to see Koji and Uwais and then confused that Golding was the lead, but willing to give it a chance. Then it popped up that it was a GI Joe thing and was immediately disappointed. Still, I like the look of it, so I’ll see it. Just not sure about it. I don’t know if I’m treating it unfairly since I haven’t seen the other GI Joe movies and honestly don’t remember the cartoon well enough to even know if Snake Eyes was a bad guy or good guy, but there you go.

  91. Snake Eyes is everyone’s favorite kind of good guy: the kind who looks like a bad guy.

  92. grimgrinningchris

    June 24th, 2021 at 10:28 am


    Like I watched them, in that order, and it took an IMDb search after watching Face The Music to even realize it was the same person. Total chameleon. She’s so great!

  93. Maggie, I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is meant to be connected to the other two movies, neither of which really caught on with the public at all. Snake Eyes is a good guy and the most popular character because 1. he’s silent 2. you never see his face and 3. he has a complicated rival ninja clans background. Looks like they decided to save the first 2 for the end of the movie and focus on the third one.

  94. This film actually got me interested in G. I. Joe – I was barely aware of it earlier, it seemed to be something US-only or mostly US, and the first film was as atrocious as anything its idiot director has ever done.

    This one, however, is actually quite entertaining. And the Cobra Commander is excellent! Imposing, greatly dressed, with a good voice, and a superb mask – complete opposite of the cretin from that first film, with that moronic plastic skull-face which looked like an empty mould for a children’s mask for that “He-Man” film from ’87.

    And look how nice and fair the mirror-masked Cobra Commander is to his henchmen all the time! Kind treatment, firm direction, good salaries, attractive benefits, and a powerful evil vision and project to follow. No wonder they’re so eager to free him, and so excited and happy to see him return!

  95. The funniest side effect of this film was a collection of ads from the “Cobra” organization – they realistically mimicked the appearance of true military recruitment ads which they really do air on television in USA, and, in fact, they certainly would inspire one to join the “Cobras”:


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