Synopsis: Super soldiers fight a secret war against each other. I think.
About: They actually made a G.I. Joe movie. The Mummy’s Steven Sommers has been allowed out of movie jail to direct it. And I was so hoping he would do Van Helsing 2.
Writers: Stuart Beattie, Revisions by John Lee Hancock and Brian Koppleman & David Levien
For a long time I was baffled by the fact that so many people, even people over 14, liked the Transformers movie. Like, it hurt my brain. Because I fully thought it was understood that to like that movie you had to be at least a little bit retarded. From the liquid transforming (keeping us from actually seeing the coolest thing about the transformers – how they transformed) to the 360 degree swirling extreme close-ups whenever robots fought, to a robot “peeing” on someone, I never felt this was aimed at my demo. People tell me it was “fun” and I obviously didn’t want to have fun. How is something fun when I can’t tell what the fuck is going on? All I wanted was clarity. On any front.
So how did it make so much money? Well, cause I (and others like me) went to see it. Cause despite the fact that I knew all this would happen, I still paid 10 bucks. Cause I wanted to see big fucking robots fight each other on the big screen. Big robots aren’t meant to be seen in your house. They’re meant to be seen on a screen the size of your house! And I hoped – prayed – that I would be wrong. That Bay would somehow pull it off. And even with my low expectations, the movie is easily one of the most incoherent pieces of film I’ve seen in a long time.
So this leads us to G.I. Joe. The logical extension of Transformers’ success. The problem with adapting a toy franchise though is that…well…it’s a TOY FRANCHISE. It’s not a story. It’s a bunch of toys. The mythology and backstory is thin to non-existent. Which is ultimately why, no matter how hard you try, Transformers and G.I. Joe can’t be made into good movies. They’re toys man! Plastic and metal. Lifeless. Not real.
I have to admit that the Super Bowl trailer looked pretty cool though. And afterwards I thought, “Hmmm, maybe they actually pull this off.” But then I remembered that if you spend 170 million dollars and can’t come up with 20 seconds worth of awesome footage, you should never be allowed to make a movie again. So that brought me to my senses a bit.
Let’s get to the “story” shall we? I’m going to do my best to explain this and if I get anything wrong, well, I don’t apologize because I don’t believe the filmmakers gave a shit if *they* got it wrong either. A couple of guys named Duke and Ripcord (Ripcord is played by a Wayans Brother – just sayin) are out there – I believe – working for the army when out of nowhere…THEY’RE RECRUITED BY A SUPER SECRET ORGANIZATION. An organization that lives out by the Egyptian pyramids. This new organization consists of an advanced breed of super soldier which works outside the jurisdiction of any government (why Egypt lets them hang out by their pyramids though I don’t know). This organization is G.I. Joe.
G.I. Joe is rocked when ANOTHER mysterious super secret organization called COBRA gets its hands on four super secret technologically advanced warheads! Why are they technologically advanced? Cause they don’t just blow up. They send out “nano-machines” (yes, you heard that right) that eat up all the metal but – get this – don’t eat humans!! Therefore they’re the perfect weapons.
Okay. Hold up. Stop for a second.
The bad guys contain a weapon that will destroy a city but won’t kill a single person? And that’s supposed to be…scary? First of all, what bad guy doesn’t kill people? And second…
Back to the story. Apparently the American government isn’t equipped to handle this kind of problem. So our boys over at G.I. Joe decide to take on Cobra by themselves. They discover that Cobra plans to blow up one of these bombs in Paris so they hurry on over there. Unfortunately the bomb blows up and (like you saw in the trailer) it starts taking down the Eifel Tower! Non! Half of the Joes try to save the people on the tower. The other half go chasing after Cobra.
Is it really that important that I’m explaining this? I mean, couldn’t we have asked a group of 8 year olds to make something up and it would be relatively close to what we have so far?
Anyway, Cobra gets away and G.I. Joe learns that Cobra plans to detonate the other three bombs (or maybe two) in Washington and Moscow (you know, so they can make sure a whole bunch of people don’t have a place to live! God these terrorists and their plans!). The Joes race against time to stop them. Do they save all those people from having to file really big insurance claims? I think it’s pretty safe to say “yes”. They do!
Okay, here’s the thing. This is the reason you make G.I. Joe. It’s one reason and one reason only. Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow. When I was a kid and used to play with G.I. Joe, we would set up these massive wars that spanned many many rooms. But the only thing that mattered was Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow. Cause Snake Eyes (a ninja in all black) was the coolest toy ever. And Storm Shadow (a ninja in all white) wasn’t far behind. So, does their battle live up to the hype? Well…it’s impossible to tell in the script. Obviously, fighting is very visual. But they make a choice to flashback to when Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes were being taught by the same master DURING THE FIGHT. And it threw everything off-kilter. You don’t want flashbacks during the most important battle in a script. You want these two to get it on. So I’m hoping the editor chops that part out while the producers aren’t looking.
Anyway, after they deactivate the bombs (taking a cue from the George Lucas school of filmmaking and having Ripcord accidentally destroy one of them all by himself), Cobra sneaks off and the obvious sequel is set up. And I’m pretty sure the president of the United States is revealed to be the leader of Cobra.
I will give it to the producers of this movie that the production of this film looks top-notch. It honestly looks like they’re doing things here that haven’t been done before. But where were these guys when the script was being written? How is it that in a group of people who have been dominating this industry for years, no one knows how to craft a story?? I think there’s a bigger problem here though. If you held a gun to any single person on this production team and asked them to tell you the truth, from the producer to the director to the actors all the way down to the p.a. – if you asked them if they gave a rat’s ass about G.I. Joe – heck, if they even knew what the fuck G.I. Joe was five years ago - If you asked them if they were doing this for anything outside of a paycheck, we all know what the answer would be. And that’s the problem. Is that it’s clear nobody gives a shit. And no heart equals no soul. Your 100 million dollar marketing campaign will buy you your 75 million dollar opening weekend. But there isn’t a single person over 11 that will recommend this to their friends. Which goes back to my initial point. They’re toys. You don’t make a movie out of them because there’s no emotional core to base them off of. And that’s why G.I. Joe, the movie, is looking bad folks.