Sam Strange Remembers: G.I. JOE: RETALIATION

The REAL reason Rodman visited N. Korea revealed!

It is my understanding that America is the world's most badass country. But it is also my understanding that our armed forces number higher than that of the next fifteen countries combined. That doesn't seem right to me. If you're the biggest badass on planet earth, do you really need to also have the most/biggest guns? That's how wimps act.

My thinking with G.I. Joe was to show how just a handful of guys is all that is necessary to save the world, so long as they are American. So the series takes place in a world where America has no Army, no Navy, no Marines, no Air Force, and no secret branch of Extra Terrestrials designing new Apple products. Instead, our entire line of defense is just a group of dudes and lady dudes called G.I. Joes.

We met the G.I. Joes in the first G.I. Joe film, Rise of the Cobra. And we really saw what they could do in their second outing, 0 Dark 30. So now it's time to see how the Joes do when they've been stripped of all financial support and diminished from 20 soldiers to just eight.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation picks up right where the second G.I. Joe picks off. Squad leader Duke Joe and squad deputy leader Roadblock Joe have just adopted two toddlers and are still adjusting to their domesticity's very real, very serious promotion.

But the world is a dangerous place, and before long the Joes are on a top secret mission. Their job is to travel to Afghanistan where they are to steal a nukular warhead from a bunch of Afghans (the dogs). Upon completing this mission, however, it becomes clear that this was all a huge setup when a swarm of electronic fireflies land on all the Joes and then explode, blowing all their heads off.

But some Joes have bigger heads than others. That's how Roadblock Joe survives. Too much head. A couple other Joes survive because they are too dainty for the fireflies to recognize as Joes. This accounts for Jane Joe and Enrique Iglesias Joe. Then there are all the Joes who were pooping in outhouses at the time. They live, too.

But poor Duke Joe does not, and this hurts Roadblock Joe to his very core. Not only does he lose the love of his life, but he must make sure his enemies continue thinking he is dead, which means his adopted daughters will very likely be sent back to the old Chinese lady from whom they were "adopted."

Obviously, someone's going to pay for this. The remaining Joes discuss who that might be. Eventually Roadblock Joe says what the rest of them are thinking: "There's only one man who could have authorized a strike like that, And I Voted For Him."

We then cut to Washington D.C. where President And I Voted For Him reveals himself to be Voltron, a shapeshifter only pretending to be President And I Voted For Him. He announces the death of the Joes on television and then enters a bunker where the real President And I Voted For Him awaits to be tortured until he gives up American's nukular launch codes.

Meanwhile, a bunch of fireflies blow up a maximum security prison which happen to hold the world's two biggest bad guys: Cobra Commander and Leo Tolsto. Freed after a whole film of being locked up in a glass jar, Cobra Commander embarks on a mission to conquer the entire world, but not before informing a still locked up Tolsto, "You're out of the band," Tolsto takes this extra hard because without bass he is nothing.

The Joes know that the only way they can figure out why most of them had their heads exploded is to ask President And I Voted For Him themselves. But that would blow their cover. So they need to run silent. At first, this line of thinking only leads them to dead ends, but then Roadblock sees a cue ball and remembers the one man who can help them: Joe Joe, the very first of their kind.

The Joes break into Joe Joe's house. They don't see him, though. But that's just because he's hanging upside down from the ceiling. Then he asks for help getting down, and everyone becomes acquainted soon after.

Joe Joe may be old, but he is still quite dangerous. Back when he was young, he once took out a whole fleet of terrorists singlehandedly in a Los Angeles skyscraper and he did it WITHOUT ANY FUCKING SHOES. And one time he killed a bunch of terrorists in New York and he did it WITH A HUGE FUCKING HANGOVER. And when he was a kid HE WATCHED HIS FUTURE SELF GET SHOT TO DEATH IN A FUCKING AIRPORT.

This guy is so dangerous, he kills people without meaning to. Take one of the leftover Joes: HoBo Joe. He dies when he sits too hard on Joe Joe's couch and a hidden shotgun blows his guts out. Or take Schmo Joe. He takes a bite of one of Joe Joe's apples only to discover too late that he actually just ate a hidden grenade which blows his guts out. This is to say nothing of what Joe Joe's award winning salsa does to Jujube Joe.

But he does have good info, which indicates that President And I Voted For Him is in fact an evil impostor. It is at this point that they turn on the television and see that London has blown up. (Only in the American version. As filmmakers, we must bow to the whims of the world market, so if you saw this film in any other country, it is Washington D.C. which blows up instead.)

See, Cobra Commander has a satellite in orbit which, upon his order, will drop a rod. This rod is not very heavy, but as it falls to Earth, the super-gravity of space lends it the power of 2,000 nukular missiles. The one he used on London was just the first of twelve rods. My sources tell me North Korea's Kim Jong Un downloaded and saw G.I. Joe: Retaliation early and thought it was a documentary, which explains why he was so keen to meet "The Rodman."

So now President And I Voted For Him basically runs the whole world. Everyone is afraid to retaliate, especially since everyone assumes the G.I. Joes have all been wiped out. Confronted with the ability to have everything he ever wanted, Cobra Commander suddenly realizes he has no dreams and sinks into a dangerous depression.

While this is going on, the Joes decide it is time to launch an assault. Part one: Joe Joe and Jane Joe will free the real President And I Voted For Him from bondage. These two are an interesting pair because Joe Joe keeps calling her Brenda even though she insists her name is Jane Joe. You keep thinking they are actually an estranged father and daughter, but then they have sex and you feel bad for making that assumption. Then it's revealed they are an estranged father and daughter.

As they get the president, Roadblock Joe's job is to drive a tank underneath a big bridge, turning and firing randomly for unclear reasons. Eventually, a bad guy tank arrives and does the same thing. Roadblock Joe's tank blows the bad guy up, and we feel some victory has been achieved.

With the real President And I Voted For Him free, the fake one must give up and run away. Fortunately, his road is blocked by Roadblock Joe, who literally lays on the street in front of him. Then a ninja named Snake Eyes Joe cuts off his head.

Shit! I forgot to tell you all about Snake Eyes Joe! He's awesome. Of all the Joes, he's easily the toughest, funniest, and most handsome. But we just didn't have any time to get into that. So going just by this film, he's actually really fucking lame, which is too bad. His worst enemy and best bud is a guy just like him named Storm Shadow Joe. Together they have a daughter named Jinx Joe. Since they're so identical, they frequently say her name at the same time and have to buy each other Coca-colas.

Snake Eyes Joe cannot die, so once he shows up, everything gets a little too easy and boring. He basically slices through all the bad guys the same way we saw him slice through Bin Laden in the last film.

The film ends with a funeral for all the fallen Joes, after which Storm Shadow Joe and Snake Eyes Joe finally get married to Jinx Joe, who also marries the still mourning Roadblock Joe. This way, everyone can provide their adopted daughters with at least two parents. It's quite sweet.

(three stars)

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