Wednesday, August 12, 2009

G.I. JOE

What can I say besides I have an almost twelve-year-old son.

Actually, what I can say is this movie is even more a military recruitment propaganda film than the TRANSFORMERS sequel we saw earlier this summer.

Like that film, G.I. JOE posits that most if not all of the positive virtues this world has to offer can be found in the U. S. Military, particularly the army.

And all the evil in the world is cartoonish and relatively easily defeatable by our military (well, difficult for about two hours and than easy), even when that cartoony evil is supported and/or defended by our government (as I pointed out in my post on TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, that flick actually names Obama as president and portrays his representative to the Army as a weak, cowardly idiot with nothing but evil intentions—hmmm, sound familiar?). Though in G.I. JOE the evil is personified for some reason in the mind and body of a Scotsman. As we all know, most of the evil perpetrated in the world lately has come from Scotland!

The story, as with most of these flicks, is full of holes and inconsistencies and fight scenes where it’s often impossible to tell the evildoers from our heroes. And though full of famous and often good film actors (Dennis Quaid and Jonathan Price among others in this one) there’s a lot of bad acting in this too (unfortunately a lot of it from the lead Channing Tatum who I’ve praised before and had high hopes for, but he’s no Bruce Willis or Will Smith as far as action heroes go), which has to be blamed on the director to some extent, since even bad scripts can be well acted if the director doesn’t mess up.

And this is a pretty bad script (with too many story creators and writers to credit, or discredit). A lot of the plot points, if you can call them that, echo similar plot devices from STAR WARS to INDEPENDENCE DAY. Only in the latter the direction and acting is so good, it transcended the usual genre clich├ęs to become something special, even unique (the former was unique only in the sense that it updated decades-old genre conventions to an ironic awareness in the first one and created an iconic movie star out of Harrison Ford).

Anyway, what does it matter, it’s just a kids toy. But I remember when my older boy was a kid and G.I. Joe wasn’t just a toy but a rallying cry for the rightwing defenders of the debacle in Viet Nam (their cry being always that “liberal politicians” surrendered the war the military could have won if allowed to, despite the reality that the U. S. dropped more bombs on a country smaller than some of our smallest states than it dropped in the entire world in WWII and put more troops on the ground than were used on D Day to liberate Europe etc. and we were still losing after a war that lasted much longer than WWII).

This isn’t just a cartoony action flick for young boys, like I said up top, it’s a recruitment film for the U.S. Military, or rather a live action video game used for propaganda for the military (which would only cooperate with the TRANSFORMERS sequel and this flick if they could approve aspects of the script, and has deals with video game companies as well—hmmmm). Where’s Oliver Stone when you need him?

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