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G.I. Joe: Why I Want to Bear Snake Eyes’ Children

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I don't think every movie has to be smart to be brilliant. The last movie I talked about in that vein was Transformers 2, a movie produced by Hasbro, and one that I found loud, silly, almost plotless — and totally awesome.

Well, folks, Hasbro is two for two this summer. I saw G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra last night, and when I went in I just wanted it to do one thing: I wanted it to make me remember why, when I was around 10 or 12 years old, I had to get home in time to watch G.I. Joe. No. Matter. What.

I get detention? I skip it to get home.

Car not working? I run.

Pass a burning bus full of nuns on the way? Sorry, sisters, you gots ta burn.

Because I know that G.I. Joe is coming on. And knowing is half the battle. The other half is watching the show. Point being, I wanted that feeling, that “YO, JOE!” feeling that I used to get.

And I got it for six specific reasons:

  1. Cool gadgets
  2. Hearing catchphrases like “knowing is half the battle” and “we got a lotta Joes out there.”
  3. Snake Eyes
  4. Snake Eyes
  5. Snake Eyes
  6. Snake Eyes

Sure, there were a couple things that didn’t work for me. The little kid from Third Rock From the Sun as Cobra Commander didn’t work for me. Wayans as the stereotypical black funny guy who has his moment to shine after essentially serving as the village idiot for 95% of the movie — meh.

There were a couple of lines that made my eyes roll so far back I was looking at the person in the seat behind mine (sometimes my brain and skull go transparent, allowing me to do that – a neat but creepy party trick).

I also was a little weirded out by the ethno-cultural changes. It used to be “G.I. Joe — a real American Hero” (and if you can’t actually hear the song being sung when you read that, you’re the wrong demographic for this article, dude).

This was not the case in the movie. In the movie it would have been more like “G.I. Joe — a real cross-cultural, mixed-ethnicity, international, U.N.-sanctioned, PC hero…” Which I have no problem with as a moral choice or anything, and I get that the folks in charge want to appeal to as many different countries as possible. It was just jarring is all.

But there were a few things – more than a few things – that did work for me.

Scarlett had a frickin’ rad crossbow. And yes, I did just actually say “frickin’ rad.” And I say frickin’ rad because frickin’ rad was what we said when the Joes were around as cartoons.

But anyway, her crossbow was like something Buffy the Vampire Slayer might have if she had Darth Vader’s tech/weapons guy working for her. It could shoot around corners and hit you in the eye and if that didn’t make you go “Frickin’ rad!” then the fact that it glowed red at the edges and had some sort of LCD video screen would definitely make you go “Frickin’ rad!”

And there were also submarines that looked like amphibious X-wing fighters, helicopters that made Airwolf look like one of those airplanes you wind up with a rubber band, and a whole slew of “wicked kewl” other stuff.

And the catchphrases. Hearing Dennis Quaid say, “And knowing is half the battle” was wonderful, if not quite as good as hearing Peter Cullen say, “Autobots, roll out.”

And last but not least (times four)… Snake Eyes.

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