(28 Mar 2013)
Jon M. Chu1
(they wrote Zombieland)
"GET ME THE G.I.
Lately, it seems people (not Action Movie
Freaks, of course) complain SO MUCH about Action
Movies. They go in with a bias
that Action Movies are dumb movies for dumb people. They
write like they are deigning to watch one and speak
about the "clichés" in Action Movies like it's
so dreadful that we're doing 'that', again. Of course,
are—They just don't get it.
Clichés, as they
dismissively label them, are why Action Movies work or don't
work. I like to call them
Action Movie Essentials. Why an Action
Movie doesn't work can be directly attributed to a lack of
Action Movie Essentials. There is no shortage here.
If you love military Action Movies, loved
A-Team movie, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon,
you should be thrilled with this movie.
To explain all I like about it, I want to
start with the first
movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Rise of
Cobra was not well liked. I don't know why not, though. It was
great fun. The special effects were so plentiful, and the
pace so frantic, I really thought they could have made 3 movies
out of all that material. I actually worried the world was
speeding up, and that this would be the future of all Action Movies.
Thankfully, they turned the pace down a little and get it just
right in this movie.
My only real problem with the first movie was that
Channing Tatum didn't carry it
for me as a G.I. Joe2. He
wasn't big and beefy enough. [To be sure his physique is
perfect, but he's not an
(I even had him in my
list under the
Regular Joes, but I'm fixing that right now and moving
him up to
Half and Half.)] Marlon Wayans was buff, too, but he's too skinny. These are
Super Solidiers—Action Movie Freaks want to see
MASSIVE MEN! Like
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson or
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, not the buff, boy-next-door
type. And so . . . when you heard
The Rock was going to be in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, you expected
it to be good because he can carry anything, literally, like
when [SPOILER ALERT] they're trying to get out of the well and
they almost fall. Who holds the other two Joes up with sheer strength
. . . You smell it! They get that right too!!
"I WANT IT ALL"
There was already a story to make a movie out of here with the
Cobra Command. [The
Bond Movies are proof that we love a
villain with plans for world domination or destruction.] Enter
the Cobra Commander with a weapon that drops a rod from space,
working more destructively than a bomb. Gotta be more
expensive though, huh, to build and orbit these satellites?
How did we not stop that? We don't find out about these
satellite weapons until the
end. That's a shame because showing what one rod could do at the
beginning and then putting a timer on it would have really kept us on the edge of our seats. It
should have been about a race to stop that from the start,
not just in the last few minutes. Until the end, we think it's all about stolen nuclear weapons.
(That was done well back in 1995 with GoldenEye and many times
since, maybe even before . . . so there was no novelty although
the raid scene was cool with rapelling.)
all the running around in this movie, there were a few too many
characters. After the movie The Rundown's intro of
the football players in the club, I feel like almost every
Action Movie should
introduce their characters that way, so I loved that they did
that here. Yes, tell us how big they are,
what their nickname is, and what they specialize in. So, lets
The 3D in this movie is SFC (seriously
fucking cool) and it's nonstop. It seems like it's going to be a
Movie until [SPOILER ALERT]
Channing Tatum is
killed. If you love military-themed Action Movies, this is a
Super Soldier extravaganza!
I loved the look of the desert air base, it
also has an underground prison. There's plenty of really cool
weapons, you won't believe (well, unless you saw it already on
the trailer—hate when they ruin the best moments) the motorcycle
with guns and missiles that breaks apart and
becomes bombs. The only phrase to adequately describe that comes
from an unusual source, Rachel Zoe: "Bananas!"
This movie also does plenty of
Trash Talking, such as . . .
"You're out of the band." LOL You gotta love infighting
among the bad guys.
"Making more things go boom by 9:00 a.m. than most people do all
"It's good to know we're not running
low on crazy."
There is big 3D in nearly every frame. The movie is a
string of amazing fight scenes. The fight scene between Storm
Shadow and Snake Eyes would really be something in
2D, but in 3D, it's even cooler. When Snake Eyes shoots the Chinese stars,
it's ridiculous (but in a good way). How do you
shoot the stars coming right at you with an automatic weapon
without shooting the man throwing them? But these things are
best left unanswered. There was a moment when
Snake Eyes has a knife or trident that he throws up in the air and then catches
it just to change his grip. That was the coolest moment in the movie for me
That's the kind of thing Action Movie Freaks live for. It's so
Bad Ass that he's that skilled. They
really mix up the fight scenes. There 's a gun vs. swordsman, girl vs. old
woman, girl vs. girl, and then, enter the ninjas. All this and
ninjas too?! Really, the movie DELIVERED!
G.I. JOE RETALIATION FIGHT SCENE between SNAKE EYES and STORM
The scene everyone went to see is the
cliffside zipline fight. The running
sideways with the scale of the mountain, the camera angles, the
height, and how it all looked in IMAX 3D really just takes your
breath away. It's beyond crazy dangerous. You have to wonder,
how did they come up with that?!
There is all this amazing
fighting with everyone else but The Rock, and then, to make up
for it they give him a huge move: I loved when The Rock comes up against Firefly
and he just throws Firefly down the stairs
. . . SLAM! Handled. Watching Action Movies, me and my
friends sometimes add up the entertainment value. As if great
scenes have a dollar value and we wait until we get our ticket
price worth. Here's an example I am sure you can relate to. In
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, when they got to the
chase scene in the beginning of the movie, it was already worth
double the ticket price for us! After this scene where
Roadblock handles Firefly, this
movie was all gravy for me.
A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE?
So, who can the G.I. Joes go to when
double crossed by the government? To the original "Joe", General Joseph Colton. Naturally, if the Joes are the
ultimate soldiers, you would expect even an older version to be
a total physical bad ass.
Willis is not who I would have cast in this role, but he
is so well liked it really doesn't matter—but it kinda does . .
. Who I pictured is more of a chiseled jaw, buff, career
hard ass like Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar.
In the movie, what "Joe" lacks in physicality, he makes up for
in weaponry with his hidden cabinets with a stockpile of weapons
Action Movie Essential). Bruce's scene (where he does a
quick change of wardrobe) seemed a little beyond his ability, and I wondered
if he got hurt in that scene. (I am sure it was a stunt double but it
was hard to tell). It was still a really cool deception
even though I wondered if it was planned or spur-of-the-moment
improvised. So much rested on that going off successfully, I
wondered what if they weren't the same size in clothes? It left
a lot to chance . . .
TOYS and more TOYS
There are many wow moments in this
movie, toy wise, from the fireflies to the motorcycle that
breaks apart and becomes more weapons, to an airboat, a Robocop-like
'toy' HISS tank with guns (yes plural), and the most
impressive weapon: one only The Rock could handle. The one
they should NOT have shown in the trailer, the 50 caliber. Showing big
moments like this ruins their impact in the movie. Sure it makes
the trailer great but it takes away from the movie and makes you
feel let down (because you already saw it), instead of being super
surprised, and giving you something big to tell your friends.
It should have been a total HOLY SHIT
moment but you knew it was coming :(
According to this
io9.com interview with the writers "Roadblock, we had to
give that big 50 caliber machine gun, which is extraordinarily
difficult to hold. They had to strip weight out of that gun so
that Dwayne carry it. Even Dwayne, as strong as he is, couldn't
hand hold that machine gun. So Dwayne now owns the distinction
as the only character in history to ever to hip fire one of
those big 50 caliber guns."
Although there are a lot of toys, there is a
lot of hand-to-hand combat throughout. The bad guys really like to throw
down in this movie. The villains are really entertaining. The 'President'
makes all the other countries launch their nuclear weapons. What
an incredible scene that is! When the rod weapon hits, I have to say that
since the movie "Earthquake" has a theater shaken so much.
This is what we pay for!
There were so many incredible visuals in this
movie. The Cobra flags on White House really hit home. I wish
that wasn't shown in the preview. There was a high-speed tank with dune buggy mount,
armored helicopter with boxy shape, an airboat with an explosion to the face in 3D.
There was so much going on that when the final showdown between
Roadblock and Firefly went down I wondered what they could
possibly do, and they pulled out a double-handed fist fight with both of
them having guns in both hands. I wondered why hit, why not just
shoot, but they were 'in the moment'. Personally, beating
someone to death has got to be more satisfying than pulling a
trigger. Just the Action Movie Freak talking. I also enjoyed the bullet to the
face, the wrestling takedown, and how they take Firefly
out using bugs! PAYBACK. So satisfying. They know what we
Action Movie Freaks want, they really do!!
Essential is having our heroes make us feel pumped up,
and what better than the Joes all armed up, strutting, coming home in uniform with full dress
to be recognized and given awards.
This is a
Soldier movie to be sure. At the end, they give a
nod to all women as General Joe pays Lady Jaye the most respect by saluting her.
After the "Brenda" joke, it's a nice touch and a payoff on her
personal story about her father. Come on, women fighting side by
side with men, what could be 'sexier' than that? Watch how
you answer . . .
Jon M. Chu has directed . . .
2013 G.I. Joe:
2011 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (documentary)
2011 The LXD 2: Secrets of the Ra
2010 The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers
2010 Step Up 3D
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets
2002 When the Kids Are Away (short)
2001 Silent Beats
2 "G.I. Joe is a line of
action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro.
The initial product offering represented four of the
branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action
Soldier (U.S. Army), Action Sailor (U.S. Navy),
Action Pilot (USAF), Action Marine (USMC)
and later on, the Action Nurse. The term G.I.
stands, in popular usage, for Government Issued,
and after the First World War became a generic term for
U.S. soldiers. The origin of the term dates to World War
I, when much of the equipment issued to U.S. soldiers
was stamped "G.I.", meaning that it was made from
galvanized iron." - Wikipedia
3 "The development of G.I. Joe led
to the coining of the term "action figure".
G.I. Joe's appeal to children has made it an American
icon among toys." - Wikipedia
"The G.I. Joe trademark has been used by Hasbro to title
two different toy lines. The original 12-inch line that
began in 1964 centered on realistic action figures. In
the United Kingdom, this line was licensed to Palitoy
and known as Action Man. In 1982, the line was
relaunched in a 3¾-inch scale complete with vehicles,
playsets, and a complex background story involving an
ongoing struggle between the G.I. Joe Team and the evil
Cobra Command which seeks to take over the Free World
through terrorism. As the American line evolved into the
Real American Hero series, Action Man also changed, by
using the same molds and being renamed as Action Force.
Although the members of the G.I. Joe team are not
superheroes, they all had expertise in areas such as
martial arts, weapons and explosives."
"The conventional marketing
wisdom of the early 1960s was that boys would not play
with dolls, thus the word "doll" was never used by
Hasbro or anyone involved in the development or
marketing of G.I. Joe. "Action figure" was the only
acceptable term, and has since become the generic
description for any poseable doll intended for boys.
"America's movable fighting man" is a registered
trademark of Hasbro, and was prominently displayed on
every boxed figure package."
"G.I. Joe was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame
at The Strong in Rochester, New York, in 2003."