If any of you fuckers out there loved the old 80s G.I. Joe comics, toys, or cartoon, and you DON'T like this movie (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), well then, I just don't understand you. This flick is pretty much every goddamn thing I wanted in a G.I. Joe live action movie (short of "making too much sense," but nothing is perfect). The filmmakers took what worked in the first movie (a movie that I liked, but admitted had MAJOR flaws in it), and then read my open letter to the writers of the sequel and took my best ideas (like killing off Duke and Ripcord [which I never in a million years thought they'd have the balls to even try]; bringing in Flint, Lady Jaye, and Firefly; putting Cobra Commander in his iconic mirror mask; taking away Snake-Eyes' retarded rubber mask with built-in lips; and bringing in a lot more of the weapons and classic vehicles that we all know and love [like the Rattler, the Wolverine, the HISS tanks, the Water Moccasin, and the A.W.E Striker]), and blended everything they had into one giant slushee of awesomeness. Then they went the extra mile and threw into the mix classic storylines like the Commander's rescue from prison from the second mini series, the Silent Interlude comic book issue where Snake-Eyes fought Storm Shadow with zero dialogue, and the Larry Hama-written long-setup plot line where we find out who really killed the Hard Master, which leads to Storm Shadow's next life choice. Honest to the gods of Mt. Olympus, this is the movie you've waited 30 years for, 80s Joe and Cobra fans.
Now, I totally get why the legitimate film critics of the world are knocking this film as ridiculous... because it is. It's crazy and really, really stupid at times, but it's crazy stupid fun. Cobra Commander's plan in this movie — while insane and pretty complex — is absolutely genius (in the annals of storylines based on toys). When I saw where he was going with his grand scheme that was left over from the first movie (that would be with Zartan impersonating the president of the United States) I laughed and applauded. The over-the-top theatrics and balls it took to pull that off were quite impressive, and the way that everything (from the opening action sequence) led up to the final Cobra power play made me appreciate the writers of this thing in such a way that I would NEVER never ever do in a similar fashion for Michael Bay and his crew who butchered the Transformers universe with their shitty translation of said property — mainly in focusing on a dweeby kid instead of the title characters, not to mention the Bay movies just having godawful, painfully dumb scripts.
This new Joe movie resets the live action Joe universe whilst simultaneously propelling it forward from where we last left off. Yeah, it's weird like that, but it's for the best. Cobra Commander and Destro are being held prisoner in a super secret underground prison after being captured at the end of the over-the-top silly Rise of Cobra, Zartan is in the White House, and the Joes are still looking for the Master of Disguise™ and a few other Cobra agents who got away from them at Destro's Arctic weapons facility. Buuuuuut on the flip side, the Joes are now pretty much Real American Heroes© in this new flick (and no longer a global integrated strike force to cater to foreign ticket sales), Storm Shadow is still alive (don't ask why or how, just enjoy his badassery), and nobody seems to give two shits about the Baroness, nanobots, or General Hawk. Which I'm okay with.
"That's great and all," you state, like an ignorant peasant who knows what he believes about certain films and books because he's heard that they stink or rock from other people before he's even seen them. "But I heard this stupid movie stinks, and therefore YOU stink!" First of all, you really need to grow up and start having opinions of your own, Chachi. Second of all, MY opinions are the only ones anyone should ever listen to, because everything I like is just pure awesome.
Anyway, now on to the plot, and I'll be talking massive spoilerssssss!
REAL AMERICAN SPOILERS
Retaliation begins with the assassination of the president of Pakistan, which leads to a total collapse of the Pakistani government because that's exactly what happens in the real world. Oh, and all the Pakistani nukes become less than accounted for because it's only ever the president of a country that keeps shit in line in the military. So President Zartan calls for the G.I. Joes to sneak into Pakistan and secure all the nukes before they're sold to rogue nations or terrorist organizations. Then the president and his cabinet are told that the Joe commando with the code name of "Snake Eyes" was responsible for the assassination in the first place, and the call for the elimination of this top secret military strike force (the G.I. Joes... Seriously, keep up with me) is made, and the NEW secret military strike force of the United States (that President Zartan called into being) named COBRA (which I don't understand how the world is fine with this right after a criminal organization named Cobra led by a man named Cobra Commander was responsible for killing tons of folks and destroying the Eiffel Tower in the first movie) is sent in to take all the Pakistani nukes that the Joes just collected, and put the proverbial hammer down on our heroes like a shoe on a drunk fly. Cobra does this with extreme and terrifying precision... But they miss three Joes: giant, hulking man-beast Roadblock, kick-ass woman warrior Lady Jaye, and kind of douchie Flint. Oh yeah, and Duke gets blown up but good, on screen, pretty much keeping Channing Tatum from coming back for another sequel unless it's in the form of a dream sequence or a flashback or something in a dust pan.
So, Snake-Eyes is captured after the Pakistani prez's assassination, but once he's unmasked in a super secret underground prison where they're holding Cobra Commander and Destro the slimy warden finds out it's really Storm Shadow (hey, if I were the guard responsible for his transport halfway around the world I wouldn't want to get close enough to him to take his mask off either)! The warden keeps him as his prisoner anyway because the paperwork is already filed in triplicate.
Storm Shadow then immediately breaks CC out of prison badass style, but he gets injured in a super-duper explosion (apparently ninjas aren't faster than flames, but they are quicker than bullets... I don't get it either except for NINJAS!). The Commander orders that he be fixed up in his rogue ninja clan's secret Himalayan healing chambers, and then Snake-Eyes (who just watched this escape without lifting a finger to stop it) goes off to see the Wu Tang Clan's RZA's Blind Master of the Arashikage Clan act "blind" about as convincingly as a 5 year-old acting surprised that the cookies he was forbidden to eat are all gone after you left the kitchen for 2 minutes. Then Snakes and Jinx (Storm Shadow's Hindu cousin? Seriously, what kind of accent was she using?) raid the naughty ninja healing hide-out, kidnap Stormy, and kick tons of ninja ass in an action sequence that I had honestly never seen the likes of before — swinging on ropes between mountains while playing keep-away with an unlimited supply of red-clothed bad ninjas constantly trying to cut them the hell up! It was pretty sweet.
Meanwhile, Roadblock, douchie-Flint, and hottie Lady Jaye start living in an old and abandoned YMCA just blocks away from the White House, and Lady Jaye takes old 1990s obsolete computer equipment and makes it all run the most modern CSI-like facial recognition software imaginable (with 3D power and constantly moving screen graphics), but in the end she just uses her brain to figure out that the POTUS isn't really the POTUS because he folds his left thumb over his right now, whereas just a few months ago he used to put his right over his left. That and sometimes he says "I mean" instead of "Uhm," because Zartan is apparently pretty sloppy at his one and only job. So then they go see General Bruce Willis.
General Willis is the epitome of ass-kicking old soldiers, but he just can't emote past "whispering," which makes him tougher because real men talk soft. Willie decides to help Roadblock and co. after being bummed out by a shit-ton of bloodied dog tags, but won't join the 3 remaining Joes until they can prove to him that the president is not the real deal. So Lady Jaye uses her sexiness to kidnap the Secretary of Defense, and they then use him to get her into a presidential dinner where her super sexiness gets her introduced to President Zartan, where she steals some of his DNA (by taking a strand of hair, not by doing it the old Clinton way), and they immediately test it, and they're all like "Holy shit! It's Zartan!"
Jaye then laments the fact that she's not seen as a soldier, only a sexy woman, while Flint leers at her reflection as she changes out of her slinky red ho-dress behind him (I can't make this shit up). Then Snake-Eyes, Jinx, and an out-for-revenge Storm Shadow (who just found out that the REAL person who killed the Hard Master [and framed him for the job] was Zartan, and now he's joined the Joes to kill the man) show up, and then they all all head on over to General Willis' house where it's time for an Easter egg hunt, but instead of eggs it's guns and grenades hidden all throughout his small two bedroom house... Honestly, the general must not have any real cabinets or utensils at all... Every drawer and door just hides a crap-ton of well oiled firearms! Is that all he does all day? Clean weapons?
Anyway, everything culminates at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, with President Zartan inviting all the world leaders who own nuclear weapons to talk about disarming their bombs. They refuse and laugh at him, and he's all like "Pfffft! Check THIS shit out! Wooooooooooooosh!" as he fires all the U.S.'s ICBMs at the rest of the world. Then all the leaders launch theirs and are all like "Great, douche nozzle, now we're alls gonna dies!" But then President Zartan says, "No, wait... I change my minds. Cancel that launching shit." And he hits the self destruct button in his missile-launching briefcase. Then all the other world leaders are like "Well fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!" and they have to do the same or else everyone in the world dies at their hands. So then ALL the nuclear nations detonate their launched nukes while still in transit without ever coming close to EMPing the world into a new Dark Ages because G.I. Joe.
So then President Zartan says "Whoops! I forgot to mention that we have this new orbital weapon that can launch rail-gun nukes that we got from Pakistan at you guys from orbit, and it's called 'Zeus,' bitches! Better start bending over and letting us rule you or else..." Then President Zartan nukes London to show that he's for serious, and Storm Shadow just watches about 10 million people die because Roadblock didn't give him the go-ahead to cut off Zartan's finger. Just following orders, huh, Stormy... Just like every Nazi south of Hitler...
THEN the Joes attack the Cobra forces guarding the summit, all while Cobra Commander appears and starts going on all badass-like about ruling the world, then the Joe ninjas start slicing shit up inside the conference room. Roadblock blows up the HISS tanks with his Wolverine and then with his big gun, all the while Jaye and General Willis free the REAL president from under Cobra guard (and apparently Zandar, which I only found out in the credits) at his own summer home. Roadblock finds Firefly, who has the Zeus nuke device briefcase that's set on auto-nuke to nuke the rest of the countries' capitals because Cobra Commander is a dick and doesn't play well with others. And then Blockie gets the briefcase and pressed the red button to stop the rail-gun nukes, which apparently blows up the satellites completely, instead of just, you know, stopping them from launching (a total Doofenshmirtz moment if I've ever seen one), and then happy day, even though the Commander escaped in a Fang helicopter and London is still dead.
END OF THE SPOILERS
I may have made it sound bad, but G.I. Joe: Retaliation was a lot of fun. The action, the weapons, the costumes, the characters (except for the dickifying of Flint, who was one of my favorite Joes in the cartoon and comic)... I enjoyed all of it. I still wish they had gotten Sgt. Slaughter to make a cameo in some way, but this was a total live-action G.I. Joe comic book brought to life. Man, for the sequel to this, I hope they bring the Cobra Island storyline to life. Or maybe Extensive Enterprises! And maybe bring in Big Lob! And Tomax and Xamot! And the Crimson Guard! And make the Baroness sexy again! And bring in the Jack Nicholson-talking Shipwreck! And have Cobra Commander scream out "UNSUBSTANTIATED LIIIIIIIIIES!".... Maybe I'll just put together another list that they writers need to follow for the third Joe flick.
Yaaaaay... Another movie based on boys' dolls from the 80s... No giant robots who transform into trucks and shittily-rendered airplanes or anything, but stupid grunts doing stupid things while trying to fight a guy in a silver mask and some guy who looks and acts exactly like the president of the United States, except he crosses his fingers slightly differently. Seriously, who the fuck notices that?
No, it wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, nor was it really painful, but when your only female character in the entire movie is just there to dress sexy and kidnap 4-star generals with her sexiness, well then you know I'll have an issue with it. Okay, there was a ninja chick who hung out with the black-clad silent guy, but she was a non-character. She must have a new toy out or something, 'cause she served even less a purpose than the kidnapping sexy GI Joe gal. She was just THERE... But not in a slinky, high-cut dress or yoga pants (bending over to pick up stuff). And no, I do not base my movie choices based solely on the number of women in main roles, but really, women make up 50% of the population, but when they only make up 5-10% of a cast you know something's wrong — especially when that 5-10% is nothing but women who are there to just look sexy.
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