We May Have To Salute “G.I. Joe”

Mixed signals on eagerly-awaited film

We've been taking a "wait-and-see-but-don't-hold-your-breath" approach to the G.I. Joe live-action movie. Early on, the visual disparities from the cartoon were pretty jarring, but then, so were the X-Men movie costumes, and that worked out okay. (I'll leave the Transformers movie designs aside, since A. I still don't like them and B. the movies were successful in spite of them, making my opinion moot.) But when the commercials and action scenes started showing up -- including performance-enhancing accelerator suits, which were never part of the G.I. Joe mythos until very recently -- we started to worry a bit more. And now they've declined to screen the movie for the press. But given the fact that negative buzz got so bad at one point that director Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing) was rumored to have been fired, that may be a wise choice. Regardless, it seems there may be nothing to worry about.

The folks over at Collider have seen the movie, and say it's exactly like the cartoon, in spirit if not in plot points. The accelerator suits are used in one scene only, and even then, it's a clean, well-put-together action scene, as opposed to a chaotic Transformers or Quantum of Solace brawl. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow get plenty of backstory, including a grade-school nunchuck fight, while some characters (Breaker, Zartan) get none at all, and there are some cameos by other characters as well. Heck, Collider even had nice things to say about Joseph Gordon Levitt's character, and you know who I'm talking about if you've already been spoiled. That last one I was worried about, but was pretty sure it would be handled well.

Plus, pretty much the entire accelerator suit chase scene was recently posted online -- in French -- and not only does it look pretty good, it sounds fantastic. Maybe all it needed for me to start looking forward to it was to think of it as a French movie instead of an American one, since I love pretty much every French action movie I've ever seen. I asked myself, "If this was released by a French film studio, would I have as many problems with it as I do?" The answer was no, so I must hold the French film industry to a lower standard: "They're French! They don't know any better!" From now on, I'm just going to assume Stephen Sommers is three-quarters French -- it may help me appreciate his films on a whole other level.

For your entertainment, four minutes of G.I. Joe in French (after a brief introductory montage). You will not be disappointed. Or you will. Either/or:

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