Yo, Joe!

Saw the new G.I. Joe movie.  I’m not going to sugarcoat this.  I’m just going to come right out and say it.

G.I. Joe was freakin’ awesome!

Do you remember when action movies actually had action in them?  Back before The Matrix created a world where action movies have lots and lots of boring scenes where people talk and talk and talk and then, occasionally, someone gets kicked in the head but then we’re right back to talky talky talk talking.

G.I. Joe is a welcome return to that art form.  All hail the return of the genuine thrilling action adventure film, where the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and shades of gray is for wusses.

And it’s about damned time.

I know that it’ll be fashionable to call G.I. Joe stupid, to say that it’s a ridiculous film built on ridiculous action pieces with two-dimensional characters and an absurd plot out of a Saturday morning cartoon.  The problem isn’t that these cirticisms aren’t valid.  It’s that many will think this is a negative, when in fact, it’s the film’s greatest strength.  Yes, G.I. Joe is based on a line of toys, and the cartoon was often just categorized as a toy commercial.  Rather than hide away from this, the makers of the Joe movie decided to run with it, and the result is more wonderful than words can describe.

Hovercrafts!  Neovipers!  Exosuits!  Blasters!  Ninjas!  Underwater bases!  Doomsday missiles!  Jetpacks!  If this list doesn’t convince you that this movie is awesome, well, save yourself the trouble because it’s clearly too much fun for you.

This was the movie Transformers should’ve been.  A gutsy adrenalin rush of good versus evil tinged with just enough nostalgia to give it a little extra kick.  The movie even improves on the original by managing to make Cobra dangerous.  Though this was more a product of its 80’s origin, Cobra never really seemed a credible threat.  It wasn’t just because they couldn’t kill anyone.  (Death is too often a cheap contrivance in modern adventure fiction.)  More often, their plans were too easily foiled, their schemes so ineffectively executed that they were more like The Three Stooges than an elite secret empire.

But in this film, Cobra proves to be far more effective.  Also, while they are foiled, they aren’t entirely foiled.  In fact, they achieve quite a noteworthy victory.  I won’t spoil the details, but some will undoubtedly think the ending a bit of a cliffhanger.  But to me, it was more of an acknowledgement that the battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra is far from over.  And that Cobra is more dangerous than even the Joes have ever suspected.

I could go on and on about this film, but the bottom line is that you’ll either like it or you won’t.  If the idea of a car chase involving two Joes in supersuits, another Joe on a motorcycle, a souped up SUV with a battering ram, and–not one–but two ninjas isn’t appealing to you, forget it then.

But for those of us who like underwater Arctic bases, doomsday devices, and a dash of Baroness with a healthy side of Snake Eyes, this movie is an instant classic.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted August 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Might see this soon. Less and less time on my hands though, so I may miss it at the cinema and catch it on DVD – but every time I’ve had time for a movie recently, I’ve wanted action….

  2. Posted August 8, 2009 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Wondering… does Christopher Eccleston get much screen time?

  3. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted August 9, 2009 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    Eccleson gets a significant amount of screen time, although his role of Destro is mostly behind the scenes and thus, often underplayed. I felt he was in the movie enough to justify his existence, but not overused. But then again, I’m not an Eccleson fan (though I do enjoy him in whatever he’s in so it’s not like I don’t like him).

    Still, he has more lines than Snake Eyes. 😉

  4. Gabe
    Posted August 9, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m willing to lay down hard cash for awesome ninja sequences. That’s all I want out of this movie. If it’s there, if it’s awesome, I’ll leave a happy customer.

  5. jboyd01
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lee, This isn’t the right place for this but…just saw Harry Potter and like most HP films the director chose to tell their own story and strip out most of JKR’s subtlety and meaning. Specifically the last scene. Instead of what was in the book we get everyone from Hogwarts lighting their wands in unison to dispel the Dark Mark. Don’t let them ever do this to your books please (not a realistic request but I wanted to make it anyway.)


  6. jonquest
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    My problem with a movie like Joe (which I have admittedly not seen) is not the notion that it needs to be smart or high brow, I love a good summer action popcorn flick as much as the next man. I just think it looks bad. It looks like ol’ Sommer’s hasn’t upgraded his CGI game since Van Helsing. I haven’t ruled out seeing the movie and an A. Lee Martinez endorsement is a big plus… but then again I’ve never seen a movie with Marlon Wayans in it… so why start now?

  7. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I just want it on the record that I will let them do whatever the hell they want to my stories if it means I get the money and exposure that comes from a movie. At least for the first one or two that get made. (Assuming I’m that lucky, of course.)

    Hey, I gotta eat, right?

  8. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Jonquest, I just want to say again that G.I. Joe is awesome. I don’t really get the CGI complaints. Not everything is photo realistic, but so what? I love the original King Kong, for example. Complaints about CGI are almost always nitpicks in my opinion. All fiction requires cooperation from the audience, and if the audience doesn’t want to play along, then it really doesn’t matter because a ninja jumping over a minivan is never going to look realistic.

    I thought the CGI in the Wolverine movie was pretty bad, but to be fair, I thought the writing and acting in the movie was pretty terrible, so I was unforgiving of the FX. If the movie had been better, it wouldn’t have really mattered.

    Also, for the record, Marlon Wayans is actually good in G.I. Joe. Turns out that he’s a decent enough actor as long as he doesn’t have a say in the script and has a good director behind him.

    Also, for the record, I really enjoyed Van Helsing. I know apparently I’m the only one, but it doesn’t make me wrong. So I guess you should take my recommendations for what it’s worth. (Quite a lot actually, but not everyone is blessed with my talent and insight.)

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