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The new G.I. Joe movie: a tantalizing preview

These days, it’s hardly worth waking up on Saturday morning, unless you somehow crave 30 minutes of nausea-inducing lights, screeching, and creepily bug-eyed characters. I’ve seen the animated shows of today’s youth, and they’re all basically like watching somebody’s stream-of-consciousness narrative about their latest meth overdose.

More than anything, it makes me miss the days when cartoons were cartoons. The prime example of these was, of course, G.I. Joe. This show had a great theme song, featured good guys kicking some ass, and ended every episode with some sort of moral about sharing or not wearing bacon-vests and playing in the lion pit at the zoo.

G.I. Joe was a treasured part of my childhood, oblivious to its own clichés and transcendent silliness. I’m sure you can guess what happens next: Hollywood is producing a live-action G.I. Joe film. I don’t know if it’s because some producers saw an opportunity to make a quick buck, or if it’s because some pseudo-intellectuals thought they could revitalize the franchise and make it relevant to modern troubled times.

If I had to guess, I would say that Hollywood just can’t resist taking a dump on my treasured memories. It really is just that simple.

So below I’ve included some promo pictures of the main characters. Spoiler: This movie is going to be goddamn ridiculous.

copyright: Paramount Pictures

When fighting an international terrorism syndicate, there’s nothing more important than sticking a little red Lifesaver™ on your rifle, as seen above. And maybe I’m revealing my ignorance towards military protocol here, but I don’t know if just accentuating your muscles with body armor is the best idea. I mean, we understand that you probably work out a lot, but it’s not going to make one bit of difference when the enemy decides to aim somewhere other than your perfect abs or stunning biceps.

Of course, I suppose it doesn’t really matter. He has a massive brow, as well as a vacant, drooling sort of stare. He wouldn’t notice if you stood him at the bottom of a cliff and dropped an Acme™ anvil on his head, so a few bullets probably won’t slow him down at all.

Also, does anybody else feel as though the goatee here is last ditch attempt to make him not look like a cover model for Tiger Beat? I can practically hear the director musing, “Hmm, how to make people forget that he was in Step Up? Beard. Got it. Get me Special Effects on the phone.”

copyright: Paramount Pictures

To me, it’s perfectly clear that the financial backers funding the GI Joe team hate their soldiers. These uniforms are one giant passive-aggressive smirk aimed towards the armed forces. They might as well just come out and say “We think the idea of you getting shot is pretty darn funny!” In fact, unless I’m seeing things wrong (I’m not), they have actually used little pieces of body armor to form an X on this guy’s chest. They’ve also seen fit to deny him a single shred of crotch protection. And I bet there wasn’t even a budget item entitled “Helmets.” That’s just Latin for “sissy hats” anyway.

From what I’ve read, this guy’s name is Ripcord, and he’s supposed to be the “heavy weapons specialist” for the team. I’ve watched enough action/military movies to know what that means: bullets. This guy is going to fire more bullets and blow up more scenery than anyone else. We’ll never be bored watching him, because he’ll be using guns constantly. Needs to send an email? Shoots up a computer. Needs to refill the coffee pot? Blasts Mr. Coffee with a grenade launcher. Needs to take a leak? …Oh no.

Storm Shadow is the evil ninja, who dresses all in white. Why a shadowy, villainous organization would take their ninja and dress him up like an iPod is not something I can claim to understand. But there you have it, a ninja who purposefully dresses in the one color that stands out from pretty much every other color in the spectrum.

It is also, unfortunately, the color that most clearly shows the blood leaking from his nose after a bully hits him in the face with his own biology book – because, frankly, I can’t imagine a world in which this guy wouldn’t get his ass kicked and then unceremoniously stuffed in a trash can by a group of laughing 5th graders. Unfortunately, Paramount has a tendency to throw massive hissy fits that ruin the fun for everyone, so I can’t post any pictures of him, as none have been “officially released.” However, as a stopgap solution, I’ve provided a picture that conveys roughly the same level of martial arts terror. Looking into those little eyes is like playing patty cake with Death itself:

Meanwhile, I’m starting to realize that there’s something terrible going on. Stay with me here: this is a highly specialized team of military operatives that are meant to take on missions with a roughly 0% survivability, correct? So it stands to reason that their handlers and bosses would do everything in their power to give this team a chance at coming home with at least most of their limbs intact. Hypothesis: this team is being run entirely by assholes. It’s as though all of this equipment was designed by a stoned group of Adult Swim writers (1). I’m becoming more and more convinced that “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is going to be like “Schindler’s List,” but with a laugh track.

Paramount acts like an OCD child whose sand castle just washed away, so once again, I’ve had to go with a replacement picture that communicates the amount of snickering, blatant chauvinism on display here.

Scarlet is literally doomed; I am not kidding at all when I tell you that the woman in the movie is armed with nothing more than breast armor, a Kevlar thong, and a dinky-looking crossbow. I would actually go so far as to suggest that PartyPants Kelly (featured below) has a higher chance of survival, since she at least has a chance at giving her enemies advanced neurosyphilis:

Now take a look at this:

copyright: Paramount Pictures
copyright: Paramount Pictures

I was completely wrong; I take it all back. I understand that the production companies have to allocate their funds appropriately. And it is clear to me that they took the majority of their budget and spent it all on making this guy look as badass as possible.

And it was worth it, it completely paid off! They literally built a sleek, high-tech stealth person, put a sword in his hands, and told him to wreck as many people’s shit as he possibly could (2). I have no idea what that visor is for, or even if he can see out of it, but I simply do not care. In light of this guy’s completely awesome existence – and I never thought I’d say this – I have to say that I’m a little grateful for evil terrorist organizations, since they provide an almost limitless supply of asses for this guy to kick.

Of course, there are downsides. For instance, knowing that this guy is out there vowing bloody revenge on everything in sight will make it much more difficult to watch the rest of the movie. My blood will literally light itself on fire if I’m forced to watch Channing Tatum stutter out his lines when I could be watching this guy cartwheel kick somebody’s head off.

Another downside is the very real possibility that he won’t live up to his own appearance. In fact, unless they load him into a cannon and fire him into space with orders to beat the shit out of the moon, I’ll just be underwhelmed.

copyright: Paramount Pictures
copyright: Paramount Pictures

I realize that it seems like a joke, but this is actually one of the bad guys of the movie. I’m not going to lie, ugly Sienna Miller is the least terrifying terrorist ever conceived of. If you strapped me to an operating table and had her standing over me with a chainsaw, I would still be more scared of the bad guy from the Care Bears movie.

I think it’s the glasses and electric screw driver that gets me. Is she threatening to install a towel bar in my bathroom? I know the U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, but what if she retiles my kitchen floor at an affordable price? Where are you, G.I. Joe??

Sienna Miller’s career has been like a badly fixed roller coaster. For a while, it was flying along. Then there was a rattle or two. Next thing you know, there’s a raging fireball where that birthday party used to be. I don’t really know when things went wrong, but if I had to guess, I would say it was the way she blatantly ignored the massive press attention to her illicit and entirely topless relationship with a married man named – of all things – Balthazar (3).

So actually, it’s strangely fitting that she play a ridiculous looking woman who ends up losing to the worst special ops team in the history of anything ever.

Unfortunately, Paramount is also classifying the picture I want to stick up above. One of the characters in Rise of Cobra will be an old man in a kimono. Frankly, between his Spock eyebrows and his giant beard, I love this guy.

I don’t necessarily think he’s great, or even an interesting-looking character. But I do think that he looks completely lost –both in the context of this movie and in general – which I like very much. When everyone else is involved in a high-stakes gunfight for their very lives, he’ll be wandering around looking for a dog that he never owned, or trying to make a sandwich. Awesome.

Also, everyone in the movie will treat everything he says as wise and mysterious, no matter how ridiculous it is (4). The worst part is that, since he clearly has a limited grip on reality, he won’t even be able to verbalize his ideas and feelings, with the result being a sort of accidental, fake wisdom. Because of his untreated dementia, he’ll say something like “Sometimes, red is really green,” and the G.I. Joe team will treat it as an elaborate metaphor about justice. But in sad reality, he’ll just be trying to tell them “I am about to fill my trousers with shit.”

Now, I saved the best part for last. I haven’t made a big deal of names up until now, because they haven’t really mattered; once you talk about a chick that’s been outfitted with bangs and a bulletproof thong, what she calls herself becomes more or less irrelevant. But the final character, whose picture is also classified, is different, and I’ll tell you why: his name is The Hard Master. You read that right.

Whoever gave him this name must have been thinking “This old man is clearly senile, but I probably can’t get away with calling him ‘Boner Lord.’ ‘The Dongsketeer?’ No. But I’m getting warmer…” Anyway, I hope that this movie results in a Mortal Kombat-esque fighting game, and that this guy’s signature move involves sidling up to his opponent and creepily rubbing on them.

I tried to find something equally loveable, and came up with this picture of a cactus playing a flute. But… cacti don’t have lungs! Outrageous!!

1. I realize that might have sounded redundant.
2. Thank God for 1980’s-era America, and its nascent obsession with ninjas.
3. Unless you’re the general leading an army of the undead, this name just sounds stupid.
4. Something I call the “Morpheus Paradox.”


Joe Sapien

Joe Sapien is a regular columnist. He is currently floundering through grad school and running up debt. He never got to be a bully as a child, but he would have been pretty good at it.