Retaliation

The concept for G.I. Joe is a little goofy to begin with: it’s a about a group of elite soldiers coming together to fight a criminal organization headed by someone named Cobra Commander. They are also all un-apologetically patriotic in their duty to country.

Despite the pretty sophomoric set-up, G.I. Joe can still be an incredible bit of fun if played right. Stephen Sommers is a talented guy (I loved the first two Mummy flicks in my youth), but his big screen G.I. Joe flick just didn’t cut it: he never took the characters seriously enough and the plot seemed to only be serious enough for someone below six to take seriously. It was all wrong.

The newest big screen adventure, directed by John Chu, made up for the first film’s shortcomings by partly rebooting the franchise and taking far more risks.

And of course, there was a significant addition to the cast that made everything hugely better…

3. Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis

This was just genius casting. Whoever came up with the idea of casting Bruce Willis as the original Joe deserves a raise and an extra vacation this year. Even if you didn’t dig the flick, you gotta admit Willis’ casting was a pleasure and fit perfectly into the G.I. Joe universe. The role set this G.I. Joe apart from the first because Retaliation was acknowledging all incarnations of Joe in order to have the freedom to ultimately try something new. Try something new they did and with Willis in toe, they succeeded.

The manliest guy in the first film was Dennis Quaid and he was confined to a damn wheelchair. How are you going to have a G.I. Joe movie without a wise macho guy cracking one liners and helping the Joes out? The people behind Retaliation understood you could not, so they knew exactly who to call.

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This article was first posted on July 20, 2013