Monday, August 10, 2009

G.I. Joe, Oh no...

Snake Eyes!

Take a good look of the above pic. Got it? Good, now I just saved you ten bucks, go buy a cool miniature instead and paint it, it'd be an infinitely better use of your time. Heck, taking a hammer and deliberately smashing your hand with it, over and over, for two hours is actually a better use of your time than going to see this movie.

I'm thirty five years old. This means that when Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Rock 'n Roll, and the MOBAT tank came out in 1982, I was at the magical age of eight. This age is particularly magical because an eight year old boy, kitted out with tanks, laser cannons, jet packs, and the coolest action figures ever to come out, can sit in the backyard for hours imagining all kinds of missions and battles. Around high school, most kids lose the urge to play with toys, others don't. For me, getting my driver's license at sixteen just meant I could now drive myself to the toy store to browse the racks for what? GI Joe figures. So for a solid eight years, conservatively probably more, I was an active GI Joe "fan", collecting as many of the toys I could get my hands on, watching the cartoon, and collecting (memorizing) the comic book.

It's important to note that I realize that big screen translations can't mimic whatever original form we all know and love. Take the X-Men movies for example. The first two were nigh-amazing, even though they had to really mix things up to make a cohesive story on screen. They did, however, keep the soul of the X-Men alive. Same thing with the Hulk movies, Hellboy, Batman, and countless others. Some movies like 300 and Watchmen stick even closer to the source material which is an impressive feat in and of itself. I knew all of this going in and wasn't expecting them to adhere to strict GI Joe dogma.

I'm not going to pick it apart, frankly, it'd be too easy. From the tiniest, minute contradictions that only a 'true fan' (ie, someone as a kid in the 80's playign in the backyard) could pick up on (which isn't fair to do with any movie anyway) to the largest, overarching basic movie 101 concepts that shock me to have escaped such a large budget, big screen debut, this movie had it all.

There's a couple of pieces of eye candy they tried to throw in there 'for the fans' I suppose, but it felt too little, too late; for instance, Breaker chewing bubble gum, Heavy Duty actually saying "Yo Joe", Scarlett riding a motorcycle, and the Baroness being, well, mega-hot. Yes, they even threw in the 'knowing is half the battle' line as well.

The story made zero sense and paced as if written by someone with the worst ADHD case imaginable hopped up on twelve cups of coffee with near-diabetic coma causing levels of sugar in their bloodstream. You start the movie out with basic troops armed with standard M4's and Humvees, and end it with a technology level more advanced than the highest tech in any sci-fi genre. Literally, what they sported in GI Joe put the tech in Star Wars to shame. If the grunts of Starship Troopers had access to this equipment, their war against the Arachnids would've been over in about five minutes. There weren't any rules set to the genre, no parameters, no natural ceilings in the movie to reel all this tech back with. Once they started with an idea, it just snowballed and snowballed until it was mind-numbingly out of control.

The actor who played Duke does deserve special mention. Either the actor didn't want to be on set, or the direction was that the character Duke just shouldn't care about anything and be bored in every scene. Bottom line, he singlehandedly made a bad movie even worse. Oh, and adding the token minority character for comedic relief? Insulting.

I guess that's how I can sum up the whole movie, it was beyond bad, it was insulting. Did I expect a masterpiece? No. I expected a fun romp down memory lane, with lots of cool cameos and neat explosions. I didn't even get that. I had a free movie pass leftover from my birthday, but since 'Joe was a new release I had to "upgrade" my free ticket for an extra buck fifty. Yes, I consider the dollar fifty I paid entirely too much.


  1. Ouch. It was that bad?

    I mean, I grew up on the Joes back in the day (albeit, I graduated to BB guns, and the Joes...did too. briefly. Heresy, I know...)

    I'm like you in my expectations; I don't expect 'great' but I expect a 'good ride.' I've not bothered seeing Transformers 2, as I'd heard it was fairly bad (beyond the expected robot beatings).

    I mean, GI Joe WAS known for a bit over-the-top tech, but on the Cobra side. I mean, weather control, that kind of thing.

    Though, I may hold off and wait for it on DVD, based on this. I can at least fast-forward through the stupid parts, and slow-mo through the Baroness parts? (I kid, I kid. Maybe.)

  2. Yes Raptor1313, yes it was that bad.

    It's funny, I notoriously hate critics and blatantly ignore all reviews and like to make up my own mind...yet here I am, being a critic.

    If you're a Joe fan, you know you'll go see it. My brother-in-law loved it, and he's no idiot, so to each their own.

    Getting it on DVD isn't a bad idea, you can at least put it on another language and at make up your own story. And slo-mo those Baroness scenes, haha...

  3. When my wife saw the ad or trailer she asked me if we were going to go see this and I told her no flat out. I had tons of GI Joe stuff as a kid and could pretty much tell from the accelerator suits that this had nothing to do with the classics of my childhood imagination.

    I am guessing this movie without the high budget would be the same trash as the Sci Fi channel is running all the now.

  4. You know Brad, that's a pretty close comparison to the 'SyFy' movies you see, just more flash. Actually, once Cobra Commander made his 'glorious' debut and started monologuing I was *immediately* reminded of the bad guys from the old Power Rangers episodes.

  5. I saw it and didnt think it was quite that bad. I mean it wasnt Hellboy or Punisher 1 (both films I really enjoy) but it was not a complete disaster in my mind.

    Of course there are the moments that drive you up the wall (bad guy basically hanging on for his life and the good guy has a gatling gun and DOESNT shoot him) but you see that in almost every heroic movie.

    The tech actually is right up there with the toys I had, like the H.I.S.S. 1 tank (remember that angular black thing with laser guns?) in fact I bet I could stat most of the guns out of the Alternity RPG core books.

    Transformers 2 was fun to watch but suffered from some Jar Jar esque characters which I think did more to hurt the movie then the tissue paper plot (GI Joe has a better plot, which isnt saying much considering the source material)

    I think part of what was ok for me was the fact Ive also seen and skimmed some of the newer GI Joe stuff which the movie draws on more then the classic.

  6. Being that I wasn't ever part of the GI Joe trend (I don't think he was that big over here in the UK) I can't really comment on what you have said. But I understand [u]exactly[/u] where you are coming from; as a massive fan of Judge Dredd and 2000AD when I was growing up, the travesty that was the Stallone movie made me feel exactly the same way!

  7. Yeah it was pretty bad. The Scarlett, Ripcord thing was the one of the most irritting things for me; as Scarlett always had a thing for Snake Eyes in the comics.

    You are also right, Snake Eyes was the best part of the flick!

  8. Thanks for the review, Mik. I, too, was a huge GIJOE fan back in the day. My parents spoiled me and I had both the USS Flagg and the Defiant Space Station playsets. Nothing like those exists for today's generation...

    I rarely spend money on movies, since they usually don't hold my attention, but it's a shame that I won't be seeing GIJOE. It's all just looks and sounds so ridiculous.

  9. Man, what a drag. I am going to see it tomorrow with my buddy Tom, we used to play in the yard with our Joes and as we got older we made a rules set using the stat cards and dice and used them in the first miniatures game I ever played.

    I am going anyway, at least I will have company and someone share the pain.

    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  10. Here Here to Mik. I too went in to the movie not expecting oscar class performances, but great cg and some actiony fun. But the tokin comic relief got on my nerves. Sadly i think the animated movie that came out a few years ago, was much better then this translation. Oh well, child hood memories beaten to a pulp and left to aspirate in its own blood, one, Hollywood Zero.

  11. Well said .... all of you.

    It's sad that they used the name of GI Joe but not the characters in the fashion they were designed.

    Scarlett and Ripcord ?!?!?! Shesh who the heck researched all the Joe toys, comics and movies ? And correct me if I am wrong but I thought I saw a preview with Baroness kissing Stormshadow .... if so you meant as well have Hawk date Duke.

    The supersuits were over the top and punched this movie into crap status.

    I will be using my 10 dollars for a platoon of germans for an upcoming FOW tournie.

    Be safe, keep painting and rolling dice


  12. @Evernevermore: Apparently, like Barjack said, the most recent cartoon, Resolution?, is singularly redeeming, and if you need a pick-me-up after this flick, track it down and watch it. The tech was over-the-top in the comics, so why not include it? Yeah, I remember the HISS, it was awesome, so why not put it in there?

    @Pacific: At least Judge Dredd had an authentic looking looking ABC Warrior!

    @Big Jim and Jmezz: The Scarlett / Ripcord thing was just pure asinine. And why was Scarlett portrayed as a Vulcan? Lame.

    @scdarkangel: Good luck, you may squeeze some nuggets out of it I didn't, if've been warned!

    @Jon: I had some of the big vehicles, but not the two of those (though I begged and pleaded), and yeah, there wasn't a sliver of that childhood goodness infused on screen.

    @everybody: Wow, it seems we've gotten a lot of mileage out of this topic, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Engaging in little conversations here at Mik's Minis (on any topic) is what I enjoy most! Rock on...

  13. You are a G.I. Joe action figures collector ??? You will surely enjoy this site :

    You will find here a huge batch of G.I. Joe action figures & vehicles

  14. Cool, thanks for the link, the site looks great. I'm not so much a collector anymore, but I still love them...

  15. This movie was disappointing. I wasn't expecting much either but I also wasn't expecting this.

    The tech was far too advanced. I mean look at the underground Joe base in the movie - what the heck was that all about?

    I hated the way Snake Eys looked - They tried but I really didn't like the plastic/rubber outfit - he's not Batman - he's a Ninja/Commando. Clothes people - please!

    I also didn't like the Duke/Baroness/Cobra COmmander connection.

    I think they did a decent job of Storm Shadow though.

    Again I wasn't expecting greatness - but I was hoping for a better treatment than this. Too bad - it could have been a really fun movie.

  16. I might have been expecting more than I realistically should have. You said it best, it "could have" been such a fun movie!

    They obviously had a budget, it's too bad they didn't spend more of it on the writing.