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I was insane as a kid for the G.I. Joe toy line. Like… certifiably insane. I thought it was about the coolest thing ever after Star Wars, and it even gave the space saga a run for its money at times.
Not long ago I blogged about the re-launch of the toy line, and what excitement that brought me, but I also knew it was partially because they were gearing up for a movie. Seeing as we just came off the train wreck of Transformers, my hopes were pretty much shot of this being anything worthwhile.
As casting news has come out, there’s been a few head scratchers in choices, and I’ve been somewhat ignoring the project. Rumors that the Joe team will be more “international”, won’t be called “A Real American Hero”, and so on really got me thinking we were heading for disaster again.
Then some rays of hope! Larry Hama, who really shaped the story of the toy line via the comic books, was brought in to consult. He’s given it his stamp of approval, and said there will be something for all the old fans. And then… then yesterday came, and two pictures of Snake-Eyes came out. (Picture 1 and Picture 2, first one is HUGE) As you can see from the comparison shot above, they nailed him; the costume is based on the second release of the action figure, which came out in 1985.
True, it’s just a costume, and this speaks nothing for the plot, or how strong the script will be, but they obviously are following the idea that there is no reason to mess with the source material. G.I. Joe will battle the terrorist organization, Cobra, just as they did from the time the toy line started in 1982. There has already been confirmations of Cobra Commander, Baroness, Destro, Zartan, and most importantly, Snake-Eyes arch-enemy, the ninja known as Storm Shadow.
Snake-Eyes won’t be taking on all the baddies by himself, he will be joined by General Hawk, Duke, Breaker, Ripcord, Heavy Duty, and his love interest, Scarlett. There hasn’t been any mention if they will touch on the romance between Snake-Eyes and her, but it’s a promising sign.
So, now with a bit of a ray of hope, I went digging around for info about the cast as I had heard one that worried me: Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. Okay, so the airborne trooper wasn’t African American, but that’s passable, but a comedian? Ugh… please, no. The rest of the cast is pretty interesting though, with Dennis Quaid as Hawk, Ray Park as Snake-Eyes (he was Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I, and since Snake doesn’t speak, it works), Arnold Vosloo as Zartan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander… huh? Tommy from 3rd Rock From the Sun as the leader of the bad guys? Okay, that one is a bit odd, but as he’ll be in a helmet most of the movie, why not.
The film isn’t due out until August of 2009, and I have no delusions about the fact this IS toy-based, and if it wasn’t for what Larry Hama did with the comic series, it probably would have been a fairly silly property back then, but he brought real depth to these characters. It probably was aided by his real life experiences in Vietnam, and he was able to write soldiers in such a way that you felt for them and the weariness any war brings. Will it translate to film? Here’s hoping, but things certainly look more promising at this stage then they did for Transformers at the same point in production.