Peter Suderman Reviews G.I. Joe: Retaliation


Paramount Pictures

Senior Editor Peter Suderman reviews the new G.I. Joe film, Retaliation, in today's Washington Times:

The opening credits of the second "G.I. Joe" film informs viewers not once, but twice, that the movie is produced by Hasbro, the toymaker behind the line of cartoonishly militarized action figures on which the movie is based. The toy line has existed in some form for decades; originally, the figures were modeled to represent characters from various divisions of the U.S. military.

But in the early 1980s, Hasbro took the toys in another direction, transforming

 the Joes into comic-book-style sci-fi heroes — a motley assortment of ninjas and elaborately armed robo-warriors fighting a gang of laser-wielding supervillains known as Cobra.

The good guys had names like Duke and Scarlett and Snake Eyes. The bad guys had names like Destro, Copperhead and Cobra Commander. Each had a simple but distinct personality, which made it easy for young fans to generate their own stories.

And they did. The toys were massively popular, and over the course of the decade millions of young boys — myself among them — spent countless hours spread out on the floors of their parents' dens, imagining the giant-sized battles and adventures

 that the 3.75-inch toy figures might have if they were somehow real.

But now those boys are all grown up, with little time to waste on such play. The movie's proposition to its old fans seems to be: How about if someone spent $130 million attempting to imagine one of those adventures for you?

They needn't have bothered. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is noisy and incoherent, packed with big biceps and bigger guns, but with little in the way of imagination or fun.

Read the whole thing

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  1. “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is noisy and incoherent, packed with big biceps and bigger guns, but with little in the way of imagination or fun.


  2. Yes, but…Adrianne Palicki.

    1. who was in the Red Dawn remake. or, ah, so I’ve been told.

      1. That was so terrible, even having Adrianne Palicki didn’t help. Much.

        1. When the original is stupid, it often follows that the remake will also be stupid.

          1. Look, I don’t like Epi’s attempts to imitate you either, but that’s no excuse for self loathing.

          2. Are you talking about Star Trek?

            1. URGE TO KILL RISING

            2. Nice try, but even you know the remake was stupider than the original. Well, except for those few episodes that we must not acknowledge.

      2. At least she’s not being typecast.

  3. Loder and Suderman reviewed different movies today. Are they having a spat or something?

  4. I tried to read the article, but all I got was a bigger picture of Bruce Willis. I’m not sure if I came out ahead on that or not…

    1. Interesting interview with him in GQ recently.

  5. The decline of the USA can be traced to the marketing of GI Joe in 1964. Boys began playing with dolls, and the fate of the USA was sealed.

    1. Dolls that killed, killed, and killed yet again. And when we weren’t playing with those dolls of death or plastic army soldiers of death, we were playing war or cowboys and Indians–with more violence, violence, and even more violence.

      I think some other threshold was passed. Perhaps Alan Alda?

      1. “some other threshold was passed”; choosing LBJ over Goldwater?

        1. Could be. Or maybe it was those stupid bell-bottom jeans.

  6. When I was a kid, G.I. Joe was this somewhat over-sized action figure, usually bearded. Always looked to me like one of those Vietnam vets that’s going to snap at any minute, but what did I know?–I was just a kid.

    Big Jim, who came with a conversion van and a karate chop strikes me now as a little gay, which G.I. Joe most assuredly wasn’t. Well, maybe the ginger was, but not the other guys.

    1. Whoa whoa. Are you trying to imply that Shipwreck isn’t gay?

      And what about a href=””Gnaw? That guy has “backwoods buggery” written all over him.

        1. Where Hugh has gone, I cannot follow.

      1. Lemme try that link again. Gnaw. Totally Gay.

        And as for Shipwreck, every sailor who leaves port has his poop deck covered in seamen sooner or later.

        1. It’s not gay if you’re underway.

      2. Look dammit – shipwreck isn’t gay. A bit of non-consenual buggery when you’re away from homeport doesn’t mean you’re gay.

  7. Does it really have Willis and The Rock in it? Lemme see…

    Watched the trailer. Yes, it does. Crap. I wish they had just brought back the cast from the first one. They had a load of hot chicks. Especially the redhead, although I don’t remember her name.

    Oh, Great Oracle Google, who was the hot redhead in the first GI Joe movie?

    Answer: Rachel Nichols

    I’ll watch the new one when it gets to the cheap theatre.

    1. And now I need to go watch the first one.

      1. The first one was cool because it had a variety of hotness: Redhead, Asian, Blonde.

        1. how much redhead?

          1. However much, it was too much.

            1. that must be a typo. I’m sure you meant “not enough”

          2. If by “how much’ you mean screen time, she was one of the main characters. If “how much” means skin exposure, no nudity, but some nice glistening workout sweat.

            1. i’ll be in my mobile command unit.

            2. As opposed to her role in “Continuum” where she is modestly clothed at all times. Of course, they are filming on location in Vancouver.

              1. Did that show (Continuum) get any better after the first 2 or 3 episodes?

                I’d never watched a SyFy channel show before; tried that one, and couldn’t really get into it. (And I’m the guy who thinks even ‘Revolution’ is watchable!)

                1. I like it but it’s not a great show. And, technically, it’s not a Syfy show; they just have US distribution/screening rights.

  8. So should I see it?

  9. Big and loud and can be fun if done right. I think the main thing is to be be smart. Die Hard was a smart movie. The dialogue zips, the women are sharp as knives, the villains have back up plans to their back up plans, and the main character has to solve at least a dozen crises all at once.

    Contrast with Transformers and the other Hasbro movies, which are basically Shia Lebouf chasing boobies and attempting not to get killed by extraterrestrial, gigantic action figures.

    1. My kids simply do not understand why I roll my eyes when they say Transformers was a good movie.

      1. Have your kids seen Back to the Future? and if not, why not?

    2. Hear, hear. A good, smart action movie is a lot of fun, but they are rare. Others that rose above the muck (though not to Die Hard level): Terminator, The Fugitive, Cliffhanger.

      1. Also: The Game.

  10. Copperhead? Geez, Pete, could you come up with a more obscure G.I. Joe character? Seriously, Copperhead was the guy who drove Cobra’s little speedboat! Not Storm Shadow, or Zartan, or even Firefly? Was Wild Weasel too mainstream for you, so you went with friggin’ Copperhead?[/gijoefanboy]

    1. When I was a kid, none of us knew any name but G.I. Joe. We figured Joe was just a common name among baby-killing Vietnam vets.

  11. But in the early 1980s, Hasbro took the toys in another direction,

    Wasn’t children’s television deregulated around this time, making it okay to have shows that were explicit tie-ins to toys? It sure resulted in some great shows, because the toys cross-subsidized the shows’ production.

  12. Lets roll with those punches dude.

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