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RETRO REVIEW:

G.I. JOE THE MOVIE
By Sean Carless
 
"GI Joe is the code-name for America's daring, highly-trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra; a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."
 
Everyday after school I’d rush home just to hear those words open my favorite cartoon. And not just to avoid the rapid advance of Truant officers.

For those of you not familiar with Joe--and how dare you not be-- it was a cartoon loosely based on the doll err I mean "action figure" of the same name from the 1960’s. Joe, back then, was about 6 inches tall, and for all intents and purposes was aesthetically just like Barbie--only of course possessing a savage blood lust instead of a need to accessorize everything in fucking pink. It's true. While Ken was basically handing his balls to Barbie and convincing himself that her pink house, car, clothes and horse (WTF?), was well worth tolerating if only for that sweet, sweet plastic ‘tang, Joe was off gallantly fighting whatever threats presented themselves without question. But what choice did he have? I mean, really? It's not like HE could be Ken. For you see, Joe harbored a deep, dark secret. For beneath his removable camouflage fatigues, he possessed a plastic smooth where his genitals should be. It was terrible. Unlike other military men of his generation, he could not go from port to port impregnating random Vietnamese prostitutes, and then in turn dying of eventual Gonorrhea complications. It must have been so hard to fit in. Ok, poor choice of words. All I know is, I don’t blame the guy for heading off to war under those circumstances. I know I’d feel like fucking killing people if I had no reproductive organs.

Anyway, fast forward twenty years, and there I was, about 8 years old, at a mall begging the store Santa to get me the elusive hooded Cobra Commander for Christmas-- before noticing a flask of Beam hanging off his oversized novelty belt. He winked at me, and told me it was for the cold ride home. After that, I started to doubt the validity of Mall Santas, eventually clueing in that his noticeable in-suit erection was also not standard Kris Kringle procedure. I was a fast learner. And forgetter.

Anyway, as the pointless sentence above didn’t point out--besides the fact that I was perhaps sexually molested by what actually turned out to be a homeless person-- I was addicted to GI Joe. In fact, I loved it so much that I was able to overlook SO many plot holes. Plot holes like Cobra; who were determined to take over the world--but instead of deploying missiles and chemical warfare, they instead chose to conquer said world through intricate and complicated plans that often saw them creating devices to control the weather, shrinking their troops to microscopic size, and using a laser…a laser that kinda could be used as a weapon, call me crazy, to carve Cobra Commander’s visage into the moon’s surface. Money well spent.

But hey, there were so many positives to GI Joe that you could overlook some things. Yes, sir. To prove that they weren’t just a mindless vehicle to promote wanton violence or sell toys, each episode ended with a various Joe schooling children on varying safety issues and basic common sense. What always struck me funny though is that no one ever seemed freaked out when say, Barbeque (A fireman character, who obviously wasn’t too adept at his job with a handle like that) would climb in through children’s bedroom windows to deliver this sage advice. Perhaps Michael Jackson missed his true calling. Yo, Joe.

With that said, after dispensing his wisdom, the random Joe would then expound that "Knowing is half the battle." I remember hearing this and being curious as to what the other half was. It certainly wasn't fucking shooting, this I promise you. Did I mention that no one ever hit their mark, good or bad on this show? That’s right. America’s highly trained special mission force couldn’t kill a blind pig in an alley, and had the collective reflexes of a drunken Michael J. Fox on speed. Basically, everyone just punched each other out. And I'll tell you, if I was a tax payer paying Billions for those fucking useless Tiger Force tanks, I just might be a little pissed that most of these battles ended in fisticuffs.

Anyway, on the heels of the impending "Transformers The Movie", the timing seemed perfect to unload a G.I. Joe full length feature as well, featuring Duke, Flint and the boys doing battle with Cobra Commander, Destro and Serpentor--who for the record was "Emperor" of Cobra, and created in a laboratory by combining the DNA of history’s most feared conquerors. And yes it's possible! And while this process may seem a little far fetched to most, I can assure you that it’s not. See, I too was conceived in a similar fashion; only I was the by-product of the merged genetics of the world’s laziest people. And much like Serpentor, I’d be unstoppable too, if only I’d ever start anything.

The year in question is now 1987, a full year after the full length Transformers feature bombed at the box-office, and as a result, Joe never did make it to theaters. Instead, it was aired on free TV. The movie itself starred the voice talents of Don Johnson--as Lt. Falcon-- who was best known at the time for rasslin’ up drug dealers with "Tubbs" on Miami Vice, and boning Melanie Griffith back when she was hot. And sadly, Lt. Flacon did not wear a military issue rolled-up sleeved white jacket/salmon shirt combo. I mean, really. It's PERFECT camouflage-- if we ever go to war with the Homosexual quarter in south beach.

The other main voice talent was Burgess Meredith, best known as Rocky Balboa's trainer "Mickey" in the Rocky franchise, but more so, to me, as The Penguin in TV’s Batman. It's true. Poor motherfucker's been typecast again! I mean, a mastermind surrounded by thugs in matching ridiculously colored uniforms easily beaten after just not shooting the hero when they had the fucking chance? Man.

The Plot of the movie? You guessed it; TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Only this time, the contrived device that will assist them in this feat is a machine known as the B.E.T. (Broadcast Energy Transmitter…and not Black Entertainment Television as I had originally suspected. I mean, who wouldn’t give unconditional surrender to a device capable of bombarding us with hip-hop inspired television programming? I'm surrendering already!). You see, the B.E.T. is a device that will apparently solve the world’s energy problems (something not smoking so much pot would just as easily accomplish for me.). However, in classic cartoon fashion, it was never explained just HOW the fuck it would do this.

A subplot is also taking place here, as a mysterious new enemy has infiltrated Cobra, apparently looking to assassinate Serpentor. But hey, since he was made up of Julius Caesar’s sweet, sweet DNA you’d think the motherfucker would have learned to see this kind of shit coming. Come on, man. You've had 2000 years to get your shit together.

Anyway, as it turns out, the threat, known as "Pythona"…(get it? as in a snake? Cobra…Python… it’s brilliant and not at all lazy writing!) informs Serpentor of his true origins… Cobra-La!…and instructs him to retrieve the B.E.T. This then takes Cobra to the Himalayan Mountains where the Joes are testing the B.E.T., which COINCIDENTALLY is literally MINUTES from Cobra-La’s hidden city. Sweet irony! 

An ensuing battle takes place soon thereafter and Serpentor is captured by the Joes when he’s hurled onto the activated B.E.T. and seemingly electrocuted to death. Luckily, his full body snake suit saves his life. Or something. Hey, remember when terrorists just wore fatigues and maybe turbans? Not Serpentor. No sir. I mean, seriously though, imagine how much more imposing Bin Laden or Hussein would have been had they worn a costume made out of…camels? I don’t know. Anyway, The Joe’s run Cobra off, but Cobra Commander knows where they can seek shelter. Oh I bet you he means Cobra-La!!!! [/sarcasm]

With the Joes on their tails, Cobra heads in through the mountains and make their way into an entirely organic city, that is surrounded by HUGE pod bearing trees. I imagine this what Matthew McConaughey's livingroom looks like. It is at this point that Cobra-La makes its presence known (with a giant man-bat known as Nemesis Enforcer) and hands the Joes their collective ASSES. Asses that have no discernable holes or crevices thanks to the good people of Hasbro. Commander then tries to embrace Nemesis, as only one can a giant demonic bat, but gets pimp slapped for his trouble. With CC confused, the real threat emerges; Golobulus (Burgess Meredith). You see, Golobulus is a large 7000 year old muscle-bound bald man with a strange cycloptic eye and a huge sliding pod for a body. You know the type.

Anyway, we learn of Cobra’s true origins: Cobra-La, and Globby (as we’ll call him) explains that ten thousand years ago, they ruled the world, and when man evolved, they were forced into these mountains…awaiting a day when they’d be able to reclaim the earth as their own. How a force with organic weapons and giant 8 foot flying man bats lost the earth to a bunch of filthy dirty bearded dudes emerging from caves scared of fire is anyone's guess.

They then explain that Cobra Commander was a brilliant scientist until disfigured by mutating spores. He was also bald and blue skinned. Saywhatinthefucknow? Anyway, the spores gave him at least a dozen new eyeballs, turning him into a vengeful terrorist (who musta had one HELLUVA hard time finding the right pair of sunglasses). From there, he was then sent out into the world to umm, conquer the world. This is kinda awesome.

Anyway, it is at this point we jump to the introduction of Lt. Falcon (Don Johnson), who is guarding Serpentor. But it wouldn’t be an 80’s cartoon without him being immature and reckless. And he doesn’t disappoint, bringing his "date" (Zarana…a Cobra double agent who cases the joint) to the base, and Serpentor ends up getting broken out of prison later after he deserted his post. Also, we learn that Falcon is really Duke’s half-brother, and rather than being court-martialed, Duke convinces the judges to instead send him to Sgt. Slaughter’s boot camp, where he’ll learn some discipline, and no doubt how to run 100 miles an hour into turnbuckle posts and not die.

We are then also introduced to several *new* Joes: Jynx, Tunnel Rat, Big Lob (who wears a military standard…basketball uniform?) and Chuckles, who never talks but wears a really loud Hawaiian shirt--I guess just in case sudden war suddenly breaks out in Shady Acres in Del Boca Vista. Anyway, as with all movies, new characters are always brought in to replace the older ones (cough*justanexcusetosellnewfigures*cough) and save the day…despite the fact that we the viewers watch the show to see our favorites. But that’s not how you move *new* merchandise, silly.

Anyway, Serpentor arrives in Cobra-La, and the trial of Cobra Commander continues. Golobulus finds Cobra Commander guilty for FAILING his mission and now must be punished by, you guessed it…the spores. Cobra Commander yells out "Not the Spores!!!", but hey, why bother? Dude, you got like twenty fucking eye balls already. Anything at this point would be an improvement. CC then gets blasted in the face with said spores which causes him to become scaly and slowly morph into a snake. Funny, spores always just made me itchy and allergic. Where's my rapidly evolving snake-body? I feel gypped. Pass the Sinutab.

Golobulus then tells of his nefarious plan. He will reclaim the planet by mutating the earth’s population! Yes! Wait. Huh? What would that do, other than just make your human threat umm, a little uglier? But before he can unfurl his plan, first, they must free Serpentor, and claim the B.E.T…. which is the only way the mutation pods can be ripened in space. Makes total sense to me.

During Globby’s longwinded tirade, The Joes try to make a break for it, but vines appear out of nowhere and snatch them up, cocooning them to the pod trees. The only person to escape is Roadblock, who is accidentally blinded by Nemesis Enforcer. Cobra Commander tells RB that he knows another way out, but will only tell him if he takes him with him. But in cool cartoon fashion, despite the horrors going on around him, Roadblock agrees, and actually has time to spit out a sweet rhyme that ends with "there’s no doubt, I’ll turn your eyeballs inside out!" Good luck, Roadblock, you'll be there for a while.

We now see Lt. Falcon as he is dropped off at the "Slaughter House" where several of Slaughter’s minions await…none of which is named Gen. Adnan or Colonel Mustafa, unfortunately.

After being run through the mill by Slaughter…who animators were a little generous with as far as "muscle definition" goes, they infiltrate Cobra’s headquarters (The Terror Drome) and set a bomb that blows it up as bombs are wont to do. Usually, its just Sarge in real life, but hey, what can you do. Not really be a three hundred pound shapeless sack of potatoes? Maybe.

Anyway, Cobra makes their bid for the B.E.T. next, thanks mainly to Cobra-La’s organic weapons, including planes that basically shoot vegetables. I always imagined this would be how the Vegans would one day conquer the Earth. So, for those who always wondered, string-beans will indeed beat bullets any day of the week. I for one am ready to embrace our pasty-white hemp-wearing overlords.

In the midst of battle, Slaughter, Falcon and the other renegades arrive, and Serpentor takes it to Falcon, then grabs one of his snakes from his neck, straightens it out, and throws it like a javelin! However, Duke steps in front, taking the stiffened snake in the heart! Hey, I might not be a biology wiz, but I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with snakes. Although, every time I'm on a date, I give it my best shot.  HIYO.

Anyway, Serpentor escapes with the B.E.T., and the Joes gather around Duke who "goes into a coma", as we all would after having a 8 foot snake javelin violently explode through our ribcages and penetrate our vitalest of organs. All kidding aside, apparently, in the original script, Duke was really supposed to die, but it was changed after the bad reaction Optimus Prime’s death had in Transformers the movie. And heaven forbid we make children cry. Or our slaves. I'm still fighting that one in court as we speak.

Anyway, back at Cobra La, Golobulus fires up the B.E.T. … pretty easily… despite the fact that he’s been living in a utopian cave for about 6000 years and probably wouldn’t have the best understanding of technology. Just saying. He then launches the pods into space, and, it’s just a matter of time before they ripen and burst, mutating all of humanity... Which helps their cause how again, exactly? The countdown is now on, as we see an inch worm slowly make its way down a dagger signifying the time humanity has left. Ok, here's my question. This guy can operate advanced machinery and computers, but just can't go out and get a fucking Casio? What gives?

From there, we then cut back to Roadblock and a completely transformed Cobra Commander, who is now a snake... with little tiny arms. Kind of like what you’d get if you spliced a snake and Chris Benoit genetically. Only with more German suplexes. Or any. I don't even know what's happening here anymore.

Anyway, Cobra Commander, who still possesses vocal skills by the way, a real rarity in the reptile kingdom, is on the edge of madness as he repeatedly states "I was once a man!" Funny, my best friend who just got engaged says the same thing all the time. Finally, Roadblock has had enough of this jibba-jabba and the two begin strangling each other and roll down a hill…where the other Joes are conveniently camped. "Roadblock, are you ok?!" asks Life-line (the medic). Dude, didn’t you just see him roll down a hill wrapped in a 6 foot talking snake with arms? That shit doesn’t freak you out at all? Jesus.

With Duke in a "coma", Gen. Hawk now organizes a secret assault on Cobra-La, and says the Rawhides (the new recruits) are not ready yet. Might be a good idea. It’s not like Chuckles shirt is gonna stand out in that terrain or anything….

However, they of course sneak off anyway, and end up making the big difference! Their toys are available this Christmas!...

The Joes arrive and manage to free the cocooned Joes and take it to Cobra. Slaughter goes one on one with Nemesis Enforcer and dominates the big man, killing him rather easily actually by tossing him down a chasm. So, let me get this straight, Slaughter can easily dispense an 8 foot demon, but not press Hulk Hogan’s shoulders to the mat for three seconds? Damn.  Clearly, they need to put Hulk Hogan on the military payroll, stat! A few hundred bodyslams and this war would be over.

From there, Jynx goes toe to toe with Pythona, and also kills her rather easily…despite the fact Pythona single-handedly took out an entire legion of Crimson Guards earlier in the movie. And she was blindfolded too! Mr. Myagi would be so proud! And dead! And no doubt from there, like the crafty old fuck he was, he'd convince her that the best way to further her martial arts ability would be to do fucking chores around his house. "Once you finish cutting that grass you'll know Kung-Fu, too!"

Finally, Falcon himself faces the man who definitely did not kill his brother because it would too traumatic for children, Serpentor, and defeats him thanks to an assist by Cobra Commander (who attacks one of Serpentor’s snakes. And how does Serpentor keep replacing these by the way? Cobras in the Himalayas are a wee bit rare, I'd think). Anyway, Serpentor’s cape ends up becoming entangled in his chariot motor from there and he cascades off, although we never really find out what becomes of him. (at least in this film).

With Serpentor disposed of, Golobulus is the only thing in the way between Falcon, the B.E.T., and Def Comedy Jam, but Globby is no pushover, and sheds his pod to reveal a 20 foot long snake tail. (hey, what’d you expect?). Globby manhandles Falcon from there and tries to break his neck; but before he can, Falcon grabs the worm dagger from the ground and stabs Globby in his funky eye. He finally gets to the B.E.T., but Globby triumphantly leaves declaring that it’s too late. "The pods have matured!" he bellows. Tell me about it. It seems like just yesterday they wanted to play children’s games, and now look at them! Man, they grow up so fast! Anyway, Falcon thinks fast and decides to overload the B.E.T. and fry the pods in space. We know it’s working because a gigantic "OVERLOAD" appears on its screen, you know, for the benefit of those who are retarded-- or like me, could not tell that I was buying the same exact old toys I already owned, only painted with snake scales. PYTHON-PATROL~!

Heroically, Falcon tells everyone to evacuate before the B.E.T. explodes (ya, think?), but Sarge is having nothing of it as he and Jynx pull Falcon to safety as the B.E.T. blows up, eradicating all threats and destroying Cobra-La altogether. "We all go home, or no one goes home!" Sarge yells out. Huh. I'm glad Sarge put that one up for vote. Dick.

We then see the Joes celebrating as only hundreds of horny dudes with maybe 3 women around them can--GANG BANG! (we find out pretty fast why they call one of them Bazooka!). Ok, I lied. Falcon just looks up at the sky and says "Thanks, big brother!"  Clearly, for Duke's invaluable help in being useless and comatose. "We couldn't have done it...well, with you." Obviously.

The closing shot is of Jynx and Falcon romantically kissing as the remaining burned mutation spores rain down from the sky. Ah, yes. There's nothing more romantic than plummeting seeds that turns you into monsters. Light the candles and put on the Barry White! It's going to be a sexy night!

Anyway, this was the last of GI Joe for a number of years, until 1990, when DIC released a newer version. Yes DIC. I remember laughing like an idiot as I said "head" after they said it at the end of each episode. I was 25 at the time.

So, in closing, I definitely recommend this for nostalgia purposes, and because I modeled my entire adult-life around their teachings. Maybe because, if not, I was secretly terrified that the ambiguously gay  Gung-Ho would suddenly appear in my bedroom and rape me. Maybe.

Loopholes aside, I still mark-out for this stuff today, so check’er out when you get the chance. Duke would have wanted it that way.  Yo Joe!

I’m Sean.

 
Sean Carless is a man of many hats. And he wears those hats to cover an ever-increasing bald spot. Sean's various scribblings have been read at Live Audio Wrestling, 411 Mania, Wrestlecrap, Honky Tonk Man.com, The Toronto Star.com, and Lethal Wrestling. He has also cured AIDS.

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).