Review: G.I. Joe – Resolute (2009)

The creators of G.I. Joe: Resolute meant well with their take on the Real American Hero mythos, but stripped of much of what made the source material so enjoyable, this revamp is seriously lacking charm and fun.

gi-joe-resolute-cobra-commanderFor fans raised on the 1985-86 cartoon, Resolute is going to be especially jarring since it starts off with the deaths of two semi-important characters — one each on the Cobra and Joe side. The deaths have the intended shock value of letting you know this isn’t the old Joe to some extent and as the 58-minute adventure progresses, the body count continues to climb.

Cobra Commander blackmails the United Nations under the threat of his laser-like particle cannon, which can wipe out a city in seconds. The Joes, led by regulars Duke, Scarlett, Flint, Roadblock and Snake-Eyes, have 24-hours to stop him before he unleashes another attack

Warren Ellis, an acclaimed comic book writer known for his gritty story-telling side, was a controversial choice for the series as he had no familiarity with the Joe universe before being recruited to write a PG-13 version of the series.

gi-joe-resolute-snake-eyes-duke-and-scarlettA fresh perspective isn’t entirely a bad thing, but Ellis has little incentive to remain true to the established character traits.

Ellis’ take on Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow is especially disappointing as he bogs them down in a cliche secret martial arts technique subplot. At least their fight scene delivers and Snake-Eyes gets to be the man here in a way he was rarely allowed in the regular series to the point that he’s super, unbeatable ninja even when facing a Hiss Tank.

The out-of-character elements stretch beyond who Scarlett wants to date to a much more bloodthirsty mentality for most of the characters. Duke shoots a Cobra agent with his back turned, Roadblock manically laughs as he ambushes a swarm of Cobra vipers while Cobra Commander goes straight-up Darth Vader on his soldiers.

gi-joe-resolute-snake-eyesIn a way, the violence portrayed in Resolute is far more cartoonish than the original series. The biggest shift towards realism is simply replacing lasers with bullets and frequent peppering the dialogue with some low-tier curse words.

One of the more take you out of the movie moments occurs when Duke and Scarlett invade a Cobra hideout and find themselves surrounded by Cobra soldiers, who have Stormtrooper aim and shoot everything except for the adversaries right in front of them.

gi-joe-resolute-destro-and-the-baronessWith a limited production budget, Hasbro couldn’t spend much on hiring an extensive voice acting cast so Steve Blum, Eric Bauza, Grey DeLisle and original series alum Charles Adler (who played Low-Light) handle all the speaking roles.

To try and differentiate their characters, the cast gives them rougher, snappier inflections, which almost makes the Joes sound like they’re constantly arguing with one another and is hit or miss in terms of its effectiveness. Bauza’s Destro finally sounds like he’s from Scotland albeit a close relative to Sean Connery.

The animation is great with the fight scenes especially well done. It’s a shame that for the most part we don’t get to make out the extensive character redesigns as some of them are nice updates to the original costumes.

Resolute had the great fortune of coming out in 2009 — the same year as the live-action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra — so it was going to be the best Joe movie that year by is only recommended for those curious to see a slightly more realistic, grittier take on the Joes. Beyond the curiosity factor, there’s not a lot to love here. And now you know.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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