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Film / G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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The Real American Heroes

"World ain't saving itself."

The sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the elite team finds themselves framed as terrorists and assaulted by their own people, killing most of their numbers. Cobra has slipped moles into the United States government and are now in control from behind the scenes. With manpower and supplies limited, they have to strike back and undo what has happened.

The film is clearly marketed to be a change of pace from Rise of Cobra, dealing with more close quarters fights and infiltration, less (but not omitting) extravagant technology and submarine battles.

The trailer can be viewed here. Was originally slated for release in June 2012 in North America, the film was rescheduled and released on March 29, 2013.

In December 2015, it was announced that Hasbro and Paramount are collaborating on a shared Hasbro movie universe, with G.I. Joe as the springboard (though it's unclear if it will follow from this movie or have a reboot) leading to movies based off M.A.S.K., Visionaries, Micronauts and ROM. In spite of this, the G.I. Joe film series would ultimately get a reboot in 2021 with Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.

The film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: With a lack of Scarlett for the Joes, both Lady Jaye and Jinx (who's Snake-Eyes's protege, no less!) do plenty of ass-kicking in the movie.
  • The Alcatraz: Einsargen Prison, built at the bottom of the deepest mine ever sunk in East Germany and made specifically to hold Cobra Commander and Destro. Of course, Cobra Commander manages to escape (not on his own though, Firefly and Storm Shadow sprung him).
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: London is gone, only a few Joes remain, let's have an award ceremony!
  • And I Must Scream: Cobra Commander and Destro start the movie immobilized in tanks and pumped full of drugs that leave them awake and alert, but incapable of moving anything but their eyes.
  • Animal Motif: Cobra in general. Its tanks are even called HISS tanks. Firefly speaks for himself.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Fort Sumter does not sit near a bridge. It is located out in the middle of harbor surrounded on all sides by water and does not have enough ground around it to drive on.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • The 'Nuclear Football' is not a high tech computer designed to let the president of the US essentially play Defcon with the nuclear arsenal. All that's in the briefcase are papers with nuclear deployment plans, classified launch sites, bunker locations, and authorization codes. The actual capability of launching a nuclear missile falls under the purview of the person directly in charge of the missiles themselves (ie submarine captains, base commanders, bomber captains) not the president. There's also the chain of command when the POTUS authorizes a nuclear launch as the command has to be passed down to the SECDEF, NORAD, USSTRATCOM, and then the commanders for the ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear bombers before the launch can be triggered. This probably works in a similar way for other countries. Which means nuclear strikes can't be ordered at the push of the button by the respective world leaders. Additionally, many countries, such as the United Kingdom, allow their nuclear submarine commanders independent command of their nuclear missiles, which means that in the event of a launch directed at their country, a captain would order a retaliatory launch and might not be in a position to receive a 'stand down' order.
      • Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you consider that Cobra likely engineered it that way so they COULD do exactly this. Though how exactly they could overhaul the entire nuclear launch system in such a short amount of time without attracting significant attention — and getting the rest of the world to do likewise — is not explained.
    • Countries do not keep their entire nuclear arsenal ready to launch at a moment's notice. Of the total number of nuclear warheads a country has, only a fraction are kept in immediate readiness status to be launched, with the rest being redundant warheads kept in reserve stockpiles until needed. Even if every country simultaneously launched every single warhead possible (which is impossible, see next entry), they would still have nuclear armaments left over.
    • Even if a world leader could fire their nukes on demand, their forces would not be ready to do so on a moment's notice. The U.S. and Russian nuclear bombers couldn't possibly have launched their weapons at that point, and the Russian ballistic missile submarines would not have been in launch position at the time. The British Navy likewise only keeps one of its Vanguard-class missile subs at sea at any one time, leaving 3/4ths of the British nuclear deterrent intact at the time of abortion. China doesn't even keep its nuclear arsenal in a launch-ready state. India can't even reach the United States. North Korea, at the time of release, had only conducted three tests and almost certainly couldn't launch any further than Japan.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • A tungsten rod traveling "eight times faster than a bullet" would not have more energy than a nuclear weapon, certainly not as a generalization anyway. The size of the rod and the yield of the weapon are never stated, so the claim might have merit if the rod were really big and the weapon was a tactical nuke.
    • In addition, if the Zeus satellite just uses gravity to project the tungston rod, it would be very difficult to achieve that speed, because despite being released from an environment with zero air-resistance and hence zero drag, air-resistance within the atmosphere would increase drag and hence cause deceleration (given enough time and space, the rod would eventually decelerate to terminal velocity). The rod would have to already reached maximum velocity before it hit the stratosphere (or at least, the thicker part of the stratosphere). The rod would need to be fired downwards so gravity wasn't solely responsible for its acceleration and speed. The satellite is shown loading and shooting the rod, so it's likely this comment was simply a generalization.
    • In any case, the potential energy in this example is contained in a tungston rod, which doesn't have a high cross-sectional area over which the energy is to act if it is converted to kinetic energy when it hits something. In other words, if the tungston rod was to hit the ground point-on with the 'energy of a nuclear missile', it would most like head straight into the Earth for an unspecified depth and disturb the ground around it, but it wouldn't cause anywhere near the devastation or after-math of an actual nuclear weapon because all that energy is concentrated at a point with a force vector into the Earth, not outwards at the stuff on top of it (like an actual nuclear bomb).
  • As Himself: Political commentator James Carville plays himself at a White House party.
  • Ascended Extra: Roadblock isn't exactly one of the leading members of the G.I. Joe team, but plays a big role in the movie.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, when they end up having to work together.
  • Badass Army: The Joes, as well as Cobra, have top-of-the-top armies.
  • Badass Longcoat: Cobra Commander sports a black leather trenchcoat which does help in increasing his slick image as leader of Cobra.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Even if it was intended to implement Cobra Commander's own plans to become the dictator of Earth, Cobra did help rid the Earth of nuclear weapons.
  • BFG: Roadblock is seen firing an 84 pound M2 .50cal machinegun, from the hip. Also a Mythology Gag since the M2 has always been Roadblock's preferred weapon since his debut in the comics.
  • Bald of Authority: Roadblock, after Duke dies early in the film.
  • Big Bad: Cobra Commander, natch. Everything Zartan-as-the-President does is as part of Cobra Commander's plans.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Einsargen prison, where Cobra Commander is held translates loosely to "(Put in) a coffin" very appropriate considering how the prison functions.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Reversed, unlike most action movie examples. Instead of Roadblock (the sidekick) getting killed off first, Duke (the heroic leader) dies first and Roadblock is the one determined to get revenge.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation : During the "war race" scene, we can see the French nuclear football with very prominent labels. One stands for "arm", or rather the French word for it. The human appendage, not the weapon-related term. Maybe they throw their nukes by hand?
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Storm Shadow busts Cobra Commander out of Einsargen Prison at the start of the film.
  • Broad Strokes: It's a sequel that ditches as much from its predecessor as possible.
  • Car Fu: Flint inflicts this on Firefly.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Guess who launches their nukes last and disarms first? You've guessed it: France
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Baroness, General Hawk, and every member of Alpha Team except Duke and Snake Eyes are never even mentioned.
  • Clear My Name: With the U.S. President not exactly being rational, the Joes' mission consists of not only clearing their names, but driving Cobra out of the White House.
  • Comically Small Bribe: The Russian President's nuclear armament deal to Zartan comes off as this: He offered to reduce Russia's nuclear warheads by 15%. Given that Russia has 7000+ nuclear warheads, you can see why Zartan rejected that ultimatum in favor of outright punishing the Russian president by firing nukes at Russia.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx are easily able to mow through the other ninjas in the film en masse. The trope is played extremely straight with how every time some of the ninjas in red get killed, the rest seem to become more competent. By the end, the last one left is actually able to give Storm Shadow a pretty good fight one-on-one.
    • Roadblock drives a small scout tank and absolutely demolishes three fresh-off-the line advanced armored tanks without much difficulty.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The opening narration has an image of Destro wearing a business suit and the signature metallic mask. This image of Destro was actually taken from the action figure card illustration and not from any scene in first film. In the original film he didn't assume his metal head appearance until minutes before he was captured. For most of the movie, he was just plain old James McCullen played by Christopher Ecclestion without a mask.
    • G. I. Joe was an international organization headquartered in Egypt in the first film. Here, they're explicitly an American special forces unit. And a lot smaller.
    • The Joes in the last movie have extremely advanced tech. The Joes here are not that much more advanced than the average special force.
    • At the end of the first movie, the Mad Scientist turned himself into Cobra Commander and was immediately arrested and put in prison. However, even if becoming the Commander was his eventual endgame, before that point McCullen was in charge and it was his plan for Zartan to impersonate the president and Storm Shadow answered to him (and they both only knew the Commander in his Mad Scientist persona, or at least the viewer was never shown anything different). However in this movie, both Storm Shadow and Zartan are loyal only to the Commander, know exactly who he is, they have a long association, it's all his big long-term plan and McCullen is completely irrelevant.
  • Cool Bike: A motorcycle that splits apart and turns into explosive projectiles is used by Firefly to help break Cobra Commander out of prison.
  • Cool Mask: Said verbatim by Zartan with regards to the black mask Cobra Commander wears after breaking out of Einsargen.
  • Co-Dragons: Firefly and President Zartan to Cobra Commander; President Zartan being the one who, under the guise of the US President, puts in motion Cobra Commander's plan, and Firefly being more of a "casual day" Dragon.
  • Crazy-Prepared: General Colton's house, which has armaments stored all over the place, ranging from handguns to assault rifles, to a grenade launcher and a light tank. We're left to wonder how Roadblock drove that out of suburbia to Fort Sumter without anyone taking notice.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: Notice how all of the world leaders were wearing flag pins? That doesn't happen outside of America.
  • Curse Cut Short: "Mother-" [cue title]
  • Darker and Edgier: The over-the-top superscience from the first movie is almost completely gone. The Joes are utterly massacred early in the story. The cringe factor has also been significantly reduced. There is only one flashback as opposed to the original film’s many. Even Cobra Commander's voice is deeper and more menacing! Ironically, his voice back in the "A Real American Hero" cartoon was very high-pitch. And Cobra levels central London just as a demonstration. Also, Duke dies.
  • Dead Star Walking: Zigzagged. The presence of Channing Tatum would have qualified, but he was kept out of the trailers mostly. This actually increases the impact of his character's death.
  • Designated Girl Fight: When Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye encounters Snake Eyes, Jinx and Storm Shadow, Jaye immediately faces down Jinx while the other dudes fought each other.
  • Doomsday Device: Cobra's Zeus satellites, which can easily devastate an entire city at will, as seen with the destruction of London.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Zartan is the President of the United States, and puts most of the plot in motion, but he still answers to Cobra Commander.
  • Dragon Their Feet: After the main antagonist Zartan is killed, Roadblock is left to deal with Firefly while Cobra Commander makes his escape on a helicopter.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Future sequels may sort out which Joes were in the base and which were on a bus.
  • Double Weapon: Storm Shadow's katanas can be joined into a staff.
  • Emergency Stash: General Colton keeps a enormous arsenal of weapons in his house, despite being officially retired. He is able to equip the entire Joe team when they show up on the run.
  • The Empire: What America and the whole world turns into after Cobra has Zartan become the President of the United States.
  • Empty Quiver: The film opens with the Joes being sent to stop the theft of a nuclear warhead from Pakistan. The mission goes wrong and the warhead ends up in the hands of Cobra.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Stated by the Joes after being attacked and most of them being killed.
  • Facial Recognition Software: Used by the President's security detail when Lady Jaye attempts to infiltrate a fundraising event.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The strange prison Cobra Commander and Destro are in. They don't qualify for the death penalty, but for some reason it's okay to put them in an And I Must Scream situation until presumably their natural life runs out. This includes trying to revive them if their heart stops.
    • This is actually abit of Truth in Television as most prisons tend to make sure their inmates are in perfect health, you are in it for the duration of your natural life, and the Bo C will make sure of it, hell, even someone getting the death penalty has to be in as close to perfect health as possible in order to be executed, to the point they will delay it if the inmate is in poor health.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The ninjas use these to chase Snake Eyes and Jinx across the mountain after they kidnap Storm Shadow.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: A lot of ninja mooks show up, and Snake Eyes challenges them with his protege Jinx while on a mountain.
  • Gravity Sucks: The Zeus satellite just has to release the tungsten rod and gravity will do the work, pulling the rod down so hard its destructive force can be used as a weapon. This is different from reality, in that the satellite is in a stable orbit at nearly zero gravity, so releasing the tungsten rod would just mean that the rod would stay in the same stable orbit until something applied force to it, changing its velocity. The satellite does seem to have a mechanism to shoot the rod despite Cobra Commander's claim, so he was probably just being dramatic.
  • Gun Kata: Several characters, including Snake Eyes and Road Block, employ Gun Kata in their combat styles.
  • The Heavy: While Cobra Commander is the Big Bad, Zartan is the most prominent antagonist in the film and does more to set Cobra's evil plan in motion.
  • Enemy Mine Storm Shadow decided to aid the Joes after he found out that Zartan was the one who framed him for the murder of his and Snake Eyes' master.
    Storm: I'm not with you. But just this once, I'm not against you.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Duke saves Flint's life at the cost of his own.
  • Hidden Supplies: Coulton's house is almost hilariously well-stocked. Seemingly every surface in his house has a stockpile hidden in it, and he has a tank in the garage.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Firefly is killed by one of his own bug bombs, courtesy of Roadblock.
    • Zartan is killed by Storm Shadow, after the latter discovers that his former master's murder was caused by the former, who then also got the blame pinned on him as well.
  • Hypocrite: At the nuclear summit, the Russian President and Indian Prime Minister both chastise Zartan (while thinking he's the US President) for firing the nukes complaining that history will judge this madness even though they both just did the exact same thing. Zartan chides the latter for this.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: H.I.S.S. drivers can't shoot for shit.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Snake Eyes shoots every throwing star Storm Shadow hurls at him, from a rather short distance. And somehow doesn't hit the latter with stray bullets.
  • Irony: During the end of the first film when Cobra Commander was captured, he proclaimed to Duke that it wasn't over between them. Duke responded that he'll be waiting for him. He then gets killed during the beginning of the second film without so much as a single confrontation with him.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Though his plan is foiled, Cobra Commander manages to escape justice, thus setting up a Sequel Hook.
    • Storm Shadow, after aiding the Joes in foiling Cobra Commander's scheme and helping avenge his and Snake Eyes Master's murder, is allowed to walk away by Snake Eyes even though he murdered several Joes and innocent people in the first movie and the President of Pakistan (while disguised as Snake Eyes) in this one, not to mention breaking Cobra Commander out of prison.
  • Karmic Death: Firefly ends up getting killed by one of his own robotic bombs.
  • Kill Sat: Cobra's Zeus satellites, giant tungsten rods dropped from orbit. They're a frighteningly accurate depiction of how such a weapons system would work in reality, which have been under development in real life for years before this movie, nicknamed The Rod From God.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: What the aforementioned Kill Sat uses. And, again, it's how such a system would function in reality.
  • La Résistance: G.I. Joe becomes this after Cobra takes control of the United States.
  • Last of Their Kind: The Joes after The Purge. Also Joe Colton, as he's the first and likely last of the GI Joes.
  • Le Parkour: Flint utilizes Le Parkour to get around the nuclear missile facility in Pakistan.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Firefly's robo-fireflies, which also double as anti-personnel explosives.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The Joes (and Storm Shadow) go to General Joe Colton's house to arm themselves. We're greeted to a montage showcasing his over-the-top stockpile of weaponry concealed in his suburban kitchen.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Roadblock and Duke have a bet where they try to shoot a cupcake off a post. Duke uses a rifle and very carefully aims his shot (and misses). Roadblock grabs his M2 and lets loose, blowing up the cupcake and pillar. Duke's protests about the unfairness of this fall on deaf ears.
    • When Roadblock asks General Colton if he would serve in the military again, the latter states that the DOD note  doesn't allow retirees to "un-retire". However, he states that they say nothing about re-enlisting, so he uses that to get back in.
  • Mad Bomber: Firefly really loves his job of using bombs.
  • Made of Explodium: Firefly's bike during the final chase scene. Given that Firefly's other motorcycle was purposely rigged to explode, this isn't surprising.
  • Malicious Misnaming: General Colton constantly refers to Lady Jaye as 'Brenda'. When he finally calls her Jaye, it is a sign that he now respects her.
  • Master of Your Domain: Storm Shadow is able to lower his heart rate to get the guards to open his tank. He then proceeds to use this opportunity to escape and free his leader.
  • A Million is a Statistic: With London basically being blasted into the bottom of the ocean, millions of people had to have died. While people are terrified when they see the attack, it's soon forgotten once the Joes save the other cities.
  • Monumental Damage: One of Cobra's Zeus satellites turns the entire city of London into a crater, with Big Ben and the Eye/Millennium Wheel smack in the middle.
  • Mr. Exposition: The warden describing the prison to Snake Eyes, who is actually Storm Shadow in disguise. One of the things he mentions is a cooling tank which keeps the underground prison at a cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 degrees Celsius). Without it, he says it would be about 250 degrees (121 Celsius), which is higher than the boiling point of water.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Storm Shadow in many Shirtless Scenes, from being soaking wet down to his 6-pack while breaking out Cobra Commander to getting his back healed.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lady Jaye in a sexy red dress, infiltrating a White House party. And before that, skimpy sport attire. And then there's the shot of her back while undressing; though obscured by being a reflection, you can still clearly see her thong-clad behind.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • GI Joe as La Résistance? Also done.
    • Cobra soldiers as new U.S. military special forces set against Joes suspected for going renegades is similar to a plotline late in the Devil's Due comics.
    • Yet another similar storyline happened in the Marvel comics just after the Cobra Civil War with most Joes detained by the U.S. government and a handful on the run trying to clear the team's name. It even had Roadblock as the de facto leader.
    • Duke getting killed off almost happened in G.I. Joe: The Movie.
    • The sequence where Snake Eyes and Jinx abduct Storm Shadow has no spoken dialogue much like the famous "Silent Issue" of the comics.
    • Jinx fighting blindfolded is also a reference to G.I. Joe: The Movie.
    • Flint wears a beret at the end of the film as a nod to his original action figure. The same with Roadblock wielding the M2 machine gun.
    • Mouse was originally a codename for one of the members of a short-lived mid-90s Joe reboot, Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Though their way of doing it was a bit...unorthodox, and it was intended mainly to achieve world domination and install Cobra Commander as dictator of earth, Cobra did manage to achieve the decades-long dream of universal nuclear disarmament—at least until everyone can build their arsenals back up again.note 
  • Ninja: Jinx, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, the Blind Master... Half the characters in this movie are ninjas.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: In contrast to the first film, there's almost zero romance. The closest it gets is some slight Ship Tease between Flint and Lady Jaye. And some much briefer but more explicit Ship Tease between Snake Eyes and Jinx.
  • No Name Given: The President. Even in the credits, he's simply listed as "President".
  • "No Peeking!" Request: After Lady Jaye asks Flint's help in taking off her sexy red dress, she turns and gives him a look before he realizes she wants privacy to change and turns around. While he doesn't mean to, he still catches the reflection of her changing on the TV's screen.
  • Not Quite Dead: Storm Shadow is seen clearly alive after a Disney Villain Death in the previous movie, although he now has a scar along his stomach. The scene where he slows his heart-rate may also count.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Featured in the Nuclear Disarmament Summit, particularly when the various nations launch their nuclear arsenal.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ray Stevenson's accent goes from Southern, to Cajun, then to quasi-Australian in a few scenes.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Storm Shadow, Firefly, and Cobra Commander do it when the prison explodes. Subverted, in that Storm Shadow fails to fully outrun it and is very badly burned on his back.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Invoked by Jaye and Flint when they see just where Joe Colton keeps his weaponry...hidden throughout the house.
    Flint: Mer-ry Christmas.
    Jaye: Makes you wonder about your neighbors.
  • Parrying Bullets: Storm Shadow can cut a bullet in half.
  • Pineapple Surprise: In the final battle, Firefly pulls out one of his special bombs to use on Roadblock, only to find that Roadblock is holding the detonator. Boom!
  • Playing Sick: Storm Shadow lowers his heart rate to get the guards to open his tank. He then proceeds to use this opportunity to escape and free his leader.
  • Plot Hole: When Zartan as the President declares war on the rest of the world and launches America's missiles at them, they all respond by bringing out their own 'footballs' to reluctantly retaliate against the U.S. This is fine, but it would only take a small portion - or at most, for a small country, half - of any one of those countries to cripple the world, let alone America, so for every single one of those countries to use all their nuclear arsenal at once like they do also makes no sense and is never explained. Considering this plot hole is what the entire plot hinges on, it's kind of a problem.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Destro, you're out of the band."
  • Precision F-Strike: Awesomely averted by the main title. Also an example of Curse Cut Short.
  • President Evil: As shown in The Stinger for Rise of Cobra, Zartan is pretending to be the President of the USA. He even puts Cobra banners on the White House, since Cobra is now the "official" ruler of America.
    Cobra Commander: The Cobra Revolution has begun...
    • Too bad for Cobra Commander, the Joes and Storm Shadow not only destroy the Zeus satellites and kill Zartan and Firefly, along with many Cobra troops, they rescue the real President, resulting in the Cobra banners and flag on the White House being taken down, and the Stars and Stripes put back up to show that Cobra is stripped of its power and the Joes are back as the elite of the USA Special Forces.
  • Product Placement
    • Roadblock and Duke are seen playing Call of Duty.
    • Zartan casually plays Angry Birds while everyone else panics at the nuclear summit.
  • The Purge: The Joes are annihilated under orders by President Evil.
  • Put on a Bus: Every member of Alpha Team except Duke and Snake Eyes is nowhere to be seen.
  • Race Lift: Road Block, who is fully black in the source material, is played by Dwayne Johnson, who is half-Samoan and is quite lighter skinned as a result. Likewise, Jinx goes from fully Japanese to being played by half-French, half-Camboidan Élodie Yung.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Retroactively applied; North Korea is depicted as one of the nuclear powers, complete with missile launch capability, and several jokes are made at the country's expense. The film was released as a real-life missile crisis was underway involving North Korea.
    • However, North Korea's nuclear arsenal is still dwarfed by the arsenals of the five main United Nations Security Council permanent members in the USA, UK, France, People's Republic of China, and Russian Federation.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Compare and contrast G.I. Joe: Renegades, which featured Duke, Tunnel Rat, Snake Eyes, Roadblock and Scarlett trying to clear their names after being accused of a crime they didn't commit, fighting a guerrilla war against Cobra forces and the authorities.
  • Red Shirt: The ninja troops Snake Eyes and Jinx fight on the mountain cliffs are wearing red uniforms. True to this trope, many of them die by falling (having their grapple ropes cut, being pushed off by a small avalanche).
  • Refuge in Audacity: How do you push for full denuclearization? Launch all your missiles, get the other guys to launch theirs, then abort the launch to get the others to do the same. Bam! Nukes gone.
  • Retired Badass: Joe Colton. The last scene of the initial trailer features Colton kicking ass by shooting at Cobra mooks with an assault rifle while in the bed of a fishtailing El Camino. Considering he's played by Bruce Willis, this comes as no surprise.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • Running Gag: Colton calling Lady Jaye "Brenda".
  • Save the Villain: Jinx helps rescue the dictator of North Korea from Cobra Commander and guides him to get back home, even though he is certainly guilty of threatening both South Korea and the United States with nuclear threats and making his own people starve and suffer in concentration camps by outright refusing to feed them just to save money to build those nuclear warheads.
  • Schizo Tech: Storm Shadow is healed by an old woman using what appears to be a combination of ancient Japanese medicinal secrets and a DNA reconstituting laser array.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Ripcord, Scarlett, and General Hawk, three characters who were an integral part of the G.I. Joes in the first film, are nowhere to be seen in this film and we don't get an explanation as to why. Their absence becomes particularly noticeable when it's stated that every Joe (except for Roadblock, Flint, Jaye and Snake Eyes) is supposed to have been killed in the Cobra attack. However, it's possible they retired and therefore were no longer targets, as was the case with Joe Colton.
  • Sequel Hook: Cobra Commander is still at large and there's a possibility that Destro, who was left in the Prison by Cobra Commander, may return as a threat in a possible sequel. Also, the opening exposition sequence includes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mention of Major Bludd, who is nowhere in the present story. Plus, Jinx is made a member of the Joes and there's the promise of Roadblock and Colton rebuilding the team.
  • Shipped in Shackles: Snake Eyes is in shackles when he arrives at Einsargen Prison.
  • Ship Tease: Flint and Lady Jaye, as a nod to their relationship in the comics and cartoon.
  • Shirtless Scene: Storm Shadow when he's breaking out Cobra Commander. And dripping wet too!
  • Shoot the Hostage: Done by Lady Jaye to save the President, who was held at gunpoint. He's a pretty good sport about it.
  • Shout-Out: Ever notice how there's no dialog whatsoever during the mountain battle? That's because it's a deliberate homage to Larry Hama's "silent" issues of G.I. Joe, which always featured ninjas.
  • Show Some Leg: Lady Jaye dresses in a skimpy jogging outfit to distract the White House Chief of Staff.
  • Shown Their Work: Storm Shadow's origin story follows his arc in the Marvel Comics very closely, especially his relationship with Snake Eyes, and the events surrounding the death of the clan's Hard Master.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The warden. If he didn't shoot at the gas tanks, Storm Shadow would not have been injured. Then, he wouldn't have been captured by Snake Eyes and Jinx and interrogated, during which he realized that Zartan framed him for the murder of the Hardmaster. Basically, it is because of the warden that Storm Shadow turned on Cobra.
  • Spanner in the Works: Storm Shadow teaming up with the remaining Joes to stop Cobra's plans. Had he not done the Enemy Mine, the Joes probably couldn't have launched their assault, since they needed him to get in close proximity of the briefcase, especially since Storm Shadow sought vengeance on Zartan for the Hard Master's murder.
  • Spot the Imposter: Lady Jaye is able to spot tiny inconsistencies in the President's speech patterns and how he's holding his hands in a different way. It's not enough to prove he's Zartan but it does get the Joes on the right track.
  • Storming the Castle: Colton and Jaye attacking the Cobra-controlled Presidential retreat to save the real President.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Out of the six characters who returned for the sequel, Duke dies. Part of the reason for the delay was that test audiences weren't happy that there wasn't much development of the friendship between Duke and Roadblock before Duke's death early in the film.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Cobra Commander and Destro are being kept floating in suspension tanks, pumped full of a drug that allows their eyes and their breathing to function, but nothing else.
  • Taking You with Me: After Cobra's prison breakout, the warden attempts to do this by shooting at the cooling tank. He doesn't manage it however, and only Storm Shadow suffers any serious injuries.
  • Tank Goodness: Roadblock drives a tank-like dune buggy built by Colton to battle some Cobra tanks.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill:
    • When the Joes are ambushed in the desert by Cobra helicopters, they blow stuff up pretty good. Then foot soldiers go around shooting any remaining survivors, and one of them even shoots into the well where some of the Joes took refuge. Thankfully he missed.
    • When Cobra does a test firing on London of their new Zeus weapon. It also showed the leaders of other nations what Cobra Commander was willing to do if anyone objected to his demands.
  • This Was His True Form: When Storm Shadow kills Zartan, his appearance changes back to normal.
  • Throw-Away Country: London being obliterated and the presumed staggering death toll (and probable worldwide economic chaos) don't get so much as mention for the rest of the film. Pakistan's president was assassinated early on and forgotten as soon as the Joes get back to America.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Storm Shadow kills Zartan by throwing his sword at him.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Storm Shadow disguises himself as Snake Eyes and allows himself to be captured so he will be transported to the prison where Cobra Commander and Destro are being held.
  • Truth in Television: Zeus? Yeah, they're actually building it.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The first two-thirds of the movie consists of two separate plots — Snake-Eyes and Jinx pursuing Storm Shadow, and the surviving Joes' attempt to figure out what happened.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Cobra Commander escapes in a helicopter near the end of the movie. Flint and Snake Eyes do give chase and try shooting him down, but he still gets away.
  • Villainous Friendship: Seems to be a Type I between Cobra Commander and Firefly. At the very least, they act jovially to each other, and there's no sign of it not being genuine.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Despite the events of the previous film, Cobra is seen by the world as a highly respected special-ops force, and America's last defense from the terrorists known as the "Joes". Quite possibly as a Shout-Out to G.I. Joe: Renegades.
  • The Voiceless: At the nuclear summit, the Chinese leaders don't speak at all while all the other international leaders did (apparently since this movie like most of Hollywood's large budget productions needed to be careful not to provoke the Chinese government to gain access to their lucrative box office).
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: Flint watches Jaye change out of her evening gown in the reflection on a TV screen. Whether they're a couple or Flint is just a perv is left ambiguous.
  • Welcome to Hell: When warden Nigel James brings an individual that he believes to be Snake Eyes to the underground Einsargen prison, he tells him that he wants him to doubt there was ever a word for escape, following it up with "Welcome to hell." "You have no idea," the man replies. James then takes off his mask and discovers that he does not have Snake Eyes after all, but rather Snake Eye's nemesis, Storm Shadow. Later, as Storm Shadow is breaking out, he tells James "Welcome to hell," holding his sword in front of his face. James, however, electrocutes him and flees.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Zartan orders the president's son killed for being such a nuisance. It's unrevealed if this child homicide was carried out.
    Zartan: Next time, take out his fat ass!
  • You Are in Command Now: Happens to Roadblock after the Joes lose their leadership chain of command to Cobra's ambush.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In a nonfatal example, Cobra Commander leaves Destro to rot in prison, telling him he's "out of the band". Then again, given the damage to the prison, it seems unlikely Destro lived much longer after that.
  • You Killed My Father: Storm Shadow finds out that Zartan, one of his fellow Cobra members, killed off his master, and framed him for it. He did it so that he could then mold and shape the former into a lethal killing machine for Cobra. Unfortunately, once Storm Shadow finds out the truth, he ends up killing Zartan for it, ending Cobra's plans for world domination and avenged the hard Master into the bargain.
  • You're Insane!:
    • The real president to Zartan. That's after he used a combat knife to slash his face, only for the nanomachines to heal it up. And for added bonus, Zartan has a "Yes, I am insane" face afterwards, with him being a Smug Smiler to boot.
    • Same stated by the world leaders during the nuclear arms summit when he launched all U.S.'s nuclear missiles at the other countries and resulting in them firing their missiles as well.


Video Example(s):


The Cobra Revolution Has Begun

Cobra Commander demonstrates his might and assumes control of the White House in one fell swoop.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / MagnificentBastard

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