Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FEATURE: Five Thoughts About The GI Joe: Retaliation Trailer

The GI Joe: Retaliation trailer landed last night, much to the joy of GI Joe fans around the world. Now the dust of initial excitement has settled, here's a few things you may not have noticed.

Note that this feature contains GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra and - potentially - GI Joe: Retaliation spoilers.

1. They're All Dead!
In the end of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, master of disguise Zartan manages to infiltrate the US government at its highest level by imitating the President. It appears this is still the case in GI Joe: Retaliation as the trailer features his order to terminate the GI Joe Team.

In what appears a very smart - and rather ballsy - move reminiscent of the fan-favourite GI Joe: Resolute, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick open with the removal of a number of the GI Joe Team members. This allows the movie to act as both sequel and reboot by shedding any unwanted baggage from the first without simply starting over and re-introducing the movie's concepts.

Quite who dies is still up for debate but it's worth keeping in mind that although the Presidential order is to ''terminate with extreme prejudice'' Snake Eyes is shown being captured by government agents. There's a fair chance Scarlett, Ripcord and the other ''popular'' Joes could be in hiding, battling Cobra covertly or simply be imprisoned under this mandate, thus allowing for their return in any potential sequels.

2. Duke Done For?
The trailer begins with both Duke (played by returning cast member Channing Tatum) and Roadblock (played by Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson) but following the surprise attack on the Joes, we see no more of Duke. Is he a casualty of President Zartan's termination order?

Although Duke is one of the most well-known characters in the GI Joe pantheon, he's, well... kind of dull. I've always seen him as being purposely character-less, something of a no man that can be an every man and allow kids to project their character upon when they're playing with his figures. As our guide into the world of GI Joe in the first movie, Duke worked well and although Channing Tatum is a fine enough actor, he simply lacks the action movie chops of somebody like The Rock. Again, sidelining Duke is another smart move that allows the movie-makers to introduce a new lead without ignoring the first movie.

And unless we see Duke's death on-screen, chances are he's survived somewhere, somehow too. Don't be too surprised if the finale features his return - along with a bunch of the other ''dead'' Joes - just in time to help save the day...

3. Cobra Commander!
It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance - and the fact that we didn't know he was in the movie makes it even harder to spot because we're not expecting it - but Cobra Commander is back!

Cobra Commander (on the left of the above shot) appears with President Zartan and Firefly in a brief two-second sequence in the trailer. No word on who's playing him or how large a role he'll have but given that the White House is shown later in the movie decked with Cobra flags and banners, it's safe to assume his influence will be felt throughout the movie.

4. Wonderful Toys!
Once the movie's basic premise is established, the trailer kicks into overdrive, showing us a sequence of rapid-cut explosions, fights and action sequences. As well as featuring Snake Eyes riding a motorcycle (complete with side-mounted cannons) the trailer gives us a brief glimpse of this:

A HISS Tank - or at least Scout -  maybe?

Jon M. Chu has made no secret of his love of the toy line and it would be surprising not to see him incorporate existing vehicles from the GI Joe universe, especially given that, from Hasbro's point of view, such ''product placement'' of pre-existing vehicles makes it a lot more cost effective when it comes to producing the tie-in toy line...

5. Who Dat Ninja?
GI Joe: Retaliation appears rather Ninjalicious. With the returning Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow being joined by Ninja apprentice Jinx and the trailer features a host of red-clad (presumably) Cobra-trained Ninja in a mountainside sword battle, we can expect a lot of high-kicking combat.

What's interesting though is that the trailer features this mysterious yellow-clad Ninja:

The assumption is that this is Jinx. But if you watch closely you'll notice that (A) Jinx always wears a red costume in the trailer and (B) during the ''zip line'' sequence we clearly see Snake Eyes, the yellow-costumed Ninja and a red-costumed Ninja. I have to admit that my knowledge of the Joeniverse has its gaps, so if anybody has any ideas, let me know...

I'm sure there's more here we've missed, so feel free to add your comments and observations below. 


  1. I hope the yellow ninja is Helix. the character was created as a toy from the RoC line and introduced into the IDW comics. She teams with Snake Eyes and is a possible love interest as she is completely devoted to him. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/55/Agent_Helix.jpg

  2. I wondered if it was her myself, although if you look closely the yellow-clad Ninja appears to be Asian (you may need to enlarge the image to see) whereas Agent Helix is Caucasian. Not that that matters...

  3. I was thinking maybe the yellow Ninja could maybe be Kamakura.

  4. i'm fine with helix being asian. clearly a woman so it can't be kamakura. also, didn't know that helix actually debuted in the RoC videogame

  5. Yeah, IIRC Helix was a ''bonus skin'' that the game developers (Helix Games) added - which then explains her reflex-memory skills and ability to copy peoples' abilities or whatever.


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