Ed. Note: The following article contains spoilers for the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. If you don’t want to know anything about the flick, stop reading!
In 2007, director Michael Bay broke the collective hearts of millions of Transformers fans with the release of his abysmal movie adaptation of the hugely popular 80’s toy line. The flick was a spectacle of excess, with lots of explosions and dramatic slow motion pans over the robot carnage, but it was obvious that Bay had no respect for the lore and legacy of the Transformers property.
I wasn’t too broken up about it, because I was never that into the Transformers as a kid. After Star Wars had run it’s course in ’83, I became a die-hard G.I. Joe collector. I was absolutely obsessed with the “Real American Heroes” action figure line and accompanying comic book series, so when it was announced that G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was finally going into production, I held my breath and hoped against hope that the same transgressions perpetrated upon the Transformers franchise by Bay and his cronies would not be visited upon my beloved G.I. Joe. Tragically, all of my hopes and dreams of a decent G.I. Joe film were annihilated as soon as the details started leaking on the Internet. This movie is going suck on an epic scale, and here’s the top ten reasons why:
10.) Roadblock isn’t called Roadblock: Anyone who has ever read a single G.I. Joe comic book or even watched an episode of that ridiculous animated series, knows that Roadblock is one of the most prominent (and popular) members of the G.I. Joe team. He’s one of only a handful of African-American joes, and as the team’s heavy machine-gunner (he could hand-fire a .50 caliber machine gun!), he was a vital component of just about every mission. He was also a great character, demonstrating fierce loyalty to his fellow Joes, as well as a knack for gourmet cooking! With that knowledge readily available, you have to wonder why the Rhodes scholars behind this production saw fit to essentially cast this character with a suitable actor (the uber-cool Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who played Mr. Eko on LOST), outfit him with a heavy machine gun, then inexplicably turn around and call him “Heavy Duty”, a lame add-on character who arrived on the scene at the tail-end of the G.I. Joe toy line.
9.) Destro won’t be wearing his steel mask: At least, not until the very end of the movie, according to spoiler reports. Which means that the primary villain of the film will be the invisble douchebag from season one of Heroes (he also played Dr. Who, apparently), running around in a three-piece suit. I bet we won’t even get to see the sweet pimp medallion… *sigh*
8.) It’s got a Wayans brother in the cast: First of all, there were over 300 Joe characters to choose from, and the writers stuck Ripcord in this film. Ripcord? The guy was in maybe one or two episodes of the animated series and about ten issues of the comic series. There were plenty of hugely popular Joes that could have filled this spot on the team. How about Flint? Gung Ho? Spirit? Hell, even Shipwreck would have been a far better choice. But Ripcord? Come on now!
A quick search on IMDb reveals the casting directors (yes, that’s right, they needed two clueless asshats for this job) for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra are named Ronna Kress and Nancy Bishop. These two geniuses were paid six-figure salaries to look at this extremely white paratrooper character and think, “Hey, how about that Wayans guy? He was hilarious in Little Man!” These two should be bound, gagged, tied to chairs and be forced to watch the later years of In Living Color (you know, the ones with Chris Rock…*shudder*).
7.) Storm Shadow looks like a member of Panic At The Disco: When Larry Hama introduced the concept of ninjas into the G.I. Joe mythology in 1984, it took the saga of the Real American Heroes to new heights of awesomeness. Suddenly, there was a mysterious and fascinating backstory that tied several characters together and introduced one of the most badass dudes to ever wield a bow & arrow, the Cobra ninja Storm Shadow. Ol’ Stormie rocked the classic ninja outfit, except his was stark white, which made it unique and completely kickass. Now, sadly, Snake-Eyes’ sword brother and ultimate nemesis looks like he belongs in a super-gay Asian emo band with this incredibly lame white leather suit. His battle togs aren’t that much better, either. Nice Keds, asshole.
6.) It’s directed by Stephen Sommers (You know, The Mummy guy): He also directed Van Helsing, one of the biggest cinematic turds of all-time. After that travesty, this fucking guy shouldn’t be allowed to direct traffic on a one-way street, much less helm a G.I. Joe movie. Don’t get me wrong, the Mummy films certainly have their charms and are fun summer popcorn flicks, but the same style of filmmaking just won’t fly for G.I. Joe. What the hell were the producers thinking here? Couldn’t they have found someone with a background in making military action films? Shit, was Michael Bay not available? That guy’s notorious for fetishizing soldiers, aircraft, and other military equipment in his flicks. Oh wait, that’s right, he was busy raping the childhoods of thousands of Transformers fans. My bad.
5.) Duke and Cobra Commander are teenagers:
Oh look honey, the two main characters and leaders of their respective organizations are played by that kid from Step Up 2 Tha Streets and that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun, isn’t that cute? [shoots self].
4.) It’s an origin story: Good Lord, just for once, could Hollywood have one iota of respect for an audience’s intelligence and drop them into a universe where everything is already established? Would it be that difficult to follow a story that involves a group of highly-trained elite military specialists fighting against an evil terrorist organization? Well, apparently Hollywood feels the world is made up of slack-jawed mouth-breathers who need to know the origins of every face that hits the screen, so valuable time that could be spent on a compelling and intense story is wasted on character introductions and tedious exposition. It’s becoming incredibly frustrating.
Think about it for a minute, some of the greatest movies of all time simply dropped audiences into the middle of a story without explaining a damn thing. Take the original Star Wars, for example. You got a very brief text crawl that set up a few things, but then you were immediately smack dab in the middle of an insane space battle where all hell is breaking loose and the two main characters for the first 30 minutes of the movie are freakin’ robots! It worked, however, because eventually the strength of the story and the characters erased any need for background information or “audience orientation”. In my opinion, the exact same scenario could work for G.I Joe. Just plop the audience down in the midst of an intense firefight between some Joes and Cobras, and let the characters and the story shine through.
3.) It’s set in the future: Ten years in the future, according to the uber-geniuses behind this project. Fantastic. This means we’ll get to see “futuristic” weapons, “futuristic” battle armor, and all the Cobra soldiers will more than likely be cyborgs. FAIL.
2.) No Stalker: This omission is probably the most criminal of them all, as Stalker was a crucial member of the team with ties to the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow story. See, Stalker was part of a LRRP (Long-range recon patrol) in Vietnam along with Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow (who went to train with the same ninja clan together after the war), and after the war he was one of the first members recruited for the team by the U.S. Government. If you go by the comics and not the animated series, Stalker was a total badass who was essentially third in command of the team behind Hawk and Duke. It stands to reason that if you are going to do an origin story of the G.I. Joe team, you’d probably want to feature the one guy who helped start it all, asshats.
1.) Everyone’s wearing black rubber suits…AGAIN. Please….please…For fuck’s sake…CAN WE STOP WITH THE FUCKING BLACK RUBBER SUITS ALREADY??? Jesus Christ, this movie could have a been a competent Hollywood costume director’s wet dream, with hundreds of unique and colorful military costume designs to choose from, but it all went up in flames when some douche-y studio exec or market analyst stuck their mitts in where they didn’t belong and said, “Hey, X-Men was a group of heroes and they wore black rubber suits! I seem to recall that franchise made a shit-ton of cash, so let’s scrap all of this camoflauge and practical military clothing and have them wear black rubber suits too!” Yeah, great. Wonderful. So instead of having a team comprised of unique individuals with costumes reflecting their identities, we once again have a bunch of guys who all look exactly the same, so they can look pretty for a group photo. FUCK. YOU. This decision was beyond terrible, and it’s getting to be a ridiculous team/action movie cliche. I guess we have the costume director for the first Batman film (1989) to blame for this trend, as almost every single superhero flick to come out since then has featured the dreaded black leather/rubber jumpsuit: all the subsequent Batmans, Daredevil, the Blade films, The Matrix films, The X-Men films, the list goes on and on. ENOUGH ALREADY!