To borrow a phrase from one of the recent Star Trek series “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.” Two years since Rise of Cobra and then an unexpected nine month delay before G.I. Joe fans were treated to a second attempt at a big screen franchise of their favorite Real American Heroes. Nearly three years since G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra tore apart the G.I. Joe fandom and tarnished the image of the once-dominant brand as a kitschy modern day remake of Mega-Force. This time, however, things appeared to be different. Director Jon M. Chu, better known for his Justin Bieber documentary, set to direct a script from the talented duo that brought us Zombieland. Admittedly, all were fans of the incredible comic run by the “godfather of G.I. Joe” Larry Hama and promised a film that was more true to its comic roots than RoC. However, I’d heard that song and dance before but tonight felt different. The lights dimmed and I sat with friends in a surprise early birthday celebration organized by my wonderful girlfriend Amanda. Was this a film to redeem the brand, the fandom, and reignite the enthusiasm of many disheartened fans?
I’ve tried to stay spoiler-free when it comes to G.I. Joe Retaliation. Really, I have. I’ve only watched the shorter clips and have avoided asking those fortunate souls who’ve already seen the movie for details. However, some times there are things so amazing that they prove that I’m really a weak weak Joe fan.
Remember that preview footage that was shown exclusively with the Hansel & Gretel film? Well, the crew at ComicBookMovie.com have come through for the fandom and have been able to post the video on YouTube.
Seriously– be prepared for some pure AWESOME.
WOW! WOW!! WOW!!! From the pacing to the camera work to the scoring I was getting chills while watching this! While it may be “just an action sequence” it’s the kind of amazing martial arts prowess that I’ve come to expect from the G.I. Joe comics. Seriously– words are pretty much failing me right now.
In the next week there will be a lot of critics who turn their eye toward G.I. Joe Retaliation and offer their thoughts on the film’s merits. Some will be familiar with the property and others will not– and therefore these reviews have the potential to be a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, the critic for the Springfield Herald might have enjoyed the film but he might not have any idea of who the charaters are, etc.
Yesterday, Larry Hama, the fan-dubbed “godfather of G.I. Joe” was treated to a screening of the film. The author of the majority of the file cards and comics from the A Real American Hero as well as the current ARAH comic from IDW, no single individual has contributed more to the characters of G.I. Joe than Larry. He posted his spoiler-free thoughts on the film last night on Facebook:
I liked RETALIATION a lot. Vast improvement over ROC. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow are much more up front, and the whole thing is a lot more character-driven. Not only is there no sinking ice, but the big finale involves physical action with people rather than choreography of CGI vehicles. The Rock is perfect as Roadblock, and Bruce Willis’s take on Joe Colton is brill (he has some of the best lines.) There’s no sign of Scarlett, but the actress who plays Lady Jaye is quite good. Jinx is amazing. Flint is kind of meh. Overall, the direction is terrific and crisp. I can tell what is going on all the time, and everything LOOKS great. Ninja fight sequence in the mountains is amazing, in that you never lose track of what is happening, and there’s a ton of fast visual input. Is there stuff I didn’t like? That would be quibbling. The positive outweighs the negative here. And I walked out feeling that the characters had been treated with respect.
Larry’s background not only time in the US Army and extensive martial arts training but even work as a guild-sanctioned actor. To hear that he felt the characters were treated well and that the film’s direction is solid may help reassure a lot of fans who were still on the fence about a live action sequel in the wake of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Up until now the press for G.I. Joe Retaliation has been limited mostly to videos released through Paramount Pictures and interviews conducted with some of the cast and crew. Last year a number of websites were treated to set visits although the details of those excursions were held back when the film’s release date was pushed back.
Well, now the flood gates have opened! Check out the following links for a plethora of great information!
Twitter user Twitziller continues his “40 Reasons to Be Excited About G.I. Joe Retaliation” series with today’s image: Storm Shadow!
One of Larry Hama’s INFINITE contributions to the G.I. Joe mythos was the tale of Thomas Arashikage also known as Storm Shadow. Whereas the Sunbow animated series presented the Cobra Ninja as a spooky sounding foil for the G.I. Joe Tracker Spirit, the Marvel Comics series took a decidedly different approach. Storm Shadow was shown to be working for Cobra only to find out the true identity of his uncle’s killer. Once he had this information, Thomas did the only thing he could– contacted Snake Eyes, set aside their differences, and went on a two-ninja assault of Cobra Island! Later, he’s put aside his ties to Cobra entirely, join the Joe team, and even serve as a mentor to Cobra Commander’s son Billy.
In the film universe, as portrayed by Byung-hun Lee, Storm Shadow is portrayed as a conflicted mentor to the Baroness who is at odds with his own past. It looks like G.I. Joe Retaliation is going to confront head-on the real story as to who killed the cinematic Hard Master! It also looks like Tommy will be fighting on the side of angels before the film is over. Either way, I’ll be there opening night popcorn in hand!
Check out Twitziller’s previous entries in the series below. We’re getting closer, gang. Closer every day!
I’m playing catch-up on my reviews of G.I. Joe Retaliation! (And Rise of Cobra, and 25th Anniversary, and every other line that dropped during my nearly 4 year hiatus…) I was planning on jumping ahead and hitting the newer waves first but some figures are just so interesting that you can’t put them off for too long. Such is the case with the wave 1 Storm Shadow figure. I’ve had him sitting around since the figures dropped in 2012 but only recently sat down and spent some time really looking at the new design for Thomas Arashikage.
Do fans really NEED another Storm Shadow figure in their collections after having been inundated with them over the past few years? Hit the G.I. Joe Retaliation Review Index and check out this Joe fan’s opinion.
The next 40 days until the debut of G.I. Joe Retaliation are going to be a whirlwind of activity in the media! New TV promotional spots, new viral advertising and, thanks to Paramount Pictures’ International YouTube Channel, a new trailer. Geared toward the Asian market, these new spots offer increased exposure for returning star Byung-hun Lee as Storm Shadow! As more footage is leaked it appears to be increasingly likely that Storm Shadow may end up on the “side of angels” after all. (Check out the kitchen sequence– both he and Colton appear to be in the same room!)
Here’s the trailer:
And the TV spot:
Is it March 29th yet? The more I see of this film, the more excited I get!