True Story From My Childhood: G.I. Joe got banned in my household. Because my big brother couldn’t handle all the awesomeness of blowing shit up and kicking bad-dudes in the nuts. It all started after we watched the G.I. Joe Movie. The cartoon one, with that half-snake dude who murdered all of the DudeJoeBros. It was a rad movie. My DudeBroBro and I were jacked up, but it was bedtime. So we started brushing our teeth and getting into our pajamas. And I was all like, “Dude, bro, that was a radical cartoon.” That’s when my brother decided to punch me right in the face.
The next thing I remember was my DudeBroBro sitting on my chest, punching the shit out of me, and screaming, “You will pay for what you’ve done, Cobra Commander!!!!” Now, first off, apparently it needs to be said, I’m not Cobra Commander. I’m pretty fucking cool but I was still just a little twerp of an eight-year-old. Second, Cobra Commander wasn’t even the villain of the G.I. Joe movie. But, still, it was enough to get the cartoon banned in our house. No more Joes for us.
This memory kept flashing through my head while watching G.I. Joe Retaliation. For whatever reason, the Cobra Commander was compelling enough to get my DudeBroBro to go ape shit on my ass. He was over the top, and mildly comical, but he inspired a reaction. The Cobra Commander in Retaliation won’t force anyone to get beaten up. And, seriously, never ever underestimate the importance of a great villain.
G.I. Joe is about some bad ass tactical military group that blow people up. Except they get betrayed pretty early on and get blown up. So The Rock is gets all pissed off and decides people should explode some more. Thus begins an hour and a half of bullets and bombs. But it’s pretty boring. Mostly because there isn’t really an antagonist worth rooting for.
I’m estimating the Cobra Commander is in the film for, maybe, ten minutes. It’s supposed to create dread, make him seem super evil and awesome. But it backfires radically. Instead he comes off as a lazy pussy who sends his minions to do his work for him. His followers break him out of jail, create a weapon of mass destruction, and engage in all his fights. So halfway through the film, if you’ve got a brain, you should be wondering, “Why the fuck don’t his followers just kill him and wage their own war? They seem more effective than he does.”
I get that Cobra Commander can’t die. That they want to use him sequels. But, as it stands, I don’t give a shit about sequels. Impress me now. Make your villain scary and imposing. Don’t give me a pussy who runs away every time something explodes. That’s not entertaining. And it certainly won’t cause my DudeBroBro to beat the shit out of me anytime soon.