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Western Animation / G.I. Joe: Resolute

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"All games end today."

A Darker and Edgier G.I. Joe miniseries written by Warren Ellis and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, G.I. Joe: Resolute was first released in 10 5-minute installments on the [adult swim] website before finally airing on the channel itself, along with the 10-minute finale, on April 26, 2009. As of January 1st, 2022, the movie is available online at the official G.I. Joe YouTube channel here.

In Washington, D.C., Major Bludd is found dead at the Lincoln Memorial, his corpse left there as a warning to would-be Cobra traitors. In Alaska, Destro and the Baroness seize control of the HAARP array, using it to superheat the ionosphere and disrupt global communications. Somewhere in the Pacific, the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier USS Flagg is nearly sunk due to a sabotage attempt by Storm Shadow. Meanwhile, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Cobra Commander addresses the delegates with an ultimatum: give Cobra control of the world within 24 hours or the organization will launch devastating attacks against civilian targets. As a show of force, the Commander has Moscow destroyed with a particle beam weapon, instantly killing 10 million people.

Struggling to recover from the attack on the Flagg, and with Snake Eyes leaving to fight Storm Shadow in Japan, the rest of the Joes launch a desperate counterattack, hoping to thwart Cobra's plans and defeat the terrorist group once and for all.

Made for an adult audience who grew up on the original TV cartoon, rather than the children the TV cartoon was aimed at, Resolute is notable for being far more violent and bloody than any G.I. Joe production preceding it, reflecting both the way the franchise had become in the comic books, and leading into the live-action films.


  • Adaptational Badass: This incarnation of Cobra Commander is actually a serious threat as opposed to the whiny incompetent he was in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Via flashback, Zartan's first mission for Cobra was shooting Storm Shadow's uncle. He also shot Snake Eyes in the throat to distract said uncle and make him stop walking.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Storm Shadow, who usually struggles with the Heel–Face Revolving Door, is completely without honor or morals here.
    • Zartan is usually Only in It for the Money, whereas here he's a sadist who takes mercenary work because he enjoys killing, with the pay just being a bonus.
  • Animesque: The art style of Resolute looks very much like an anime.
  • A-Team Firing: Duke and Scarlett stand smack in the middle of a crossfire against 20 Cobras and don't get hit once.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Duke and Scarlett plow through Cobra soldiers side by side in Siberia.
  • Bad Boss: Upon being told that the second Kill Sat will need hours to charge, Cobra Commander slashes the unfortunate soldier who informed him.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Snake-Eyes uses a highly unconventional version of this trope in his fight with Storm Shadow: stopping the blade by allowing it to pass through the palm of his hand, then breaking the sword with a single strike. Afterwards, he nonchalantly pulls out the section of hilt still stuck in his hand.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This continuity is way more violent than other G.I. Joe media.
  • Bloodless Carnage: In contrast to the rest of the movie, the sword fight between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow is incredibly bloodless. Especially noticeable when Snake-Eyes slashes both of Storm Shadow's wrists and leaves only a red line on each.
  • Catchphrase: Averted. Not a single Joe utters "Yo, Joe", nor do any Cobra members yell "Cobra".
  • Cerebus Retcon: Cobra Commander claims that his foolish behavior in the past was all act to weed out traitors and incompetents in the ranks.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Cobra Commander, as usual, is very theatrical in his monologues.
  • Compilation Movie: The DVD release had the entire mini-series edited into an hour-long film.
  • Cool Boat: The aircraft carrier USS Flagg serves as the Joes' base of operations. It's where they make their battle plans, analyse technical data, and launch the aircraft that take them to their missions. It gets destroyed by Cobra near the end.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • In the original series, while GI Joe was always depicted as a paramilitary team made up of soldiers (i.e. trained killers), thanks to A-Team Firing and stringent broadcast standards, rarely if ever did the good guys ever kill anyone. In Resolute, Snake Eyes is at his most deadly, Scarlett mercilessly snipes Cobra men and Duke is seen stabbing someone to death. The later live action movie continued this trope.
    • Cobra Commander is portrayed as a serious threat and even uses a Kill Sat to annihilate Moscow, when previous incarnations of the character were usually arrogant and inept at best.
  • Deus ex Machina: Duke manages to figure out everything there is to figure out about Cobra's direct-energy weapon and reprogram it to fire on the Cobra under 20 seconds, with plenty of spare time to get out of the Cobra base himself.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Related to the above, Cobra Commander boasts inside his secret pod about how he'll get away with it all because his pod can't be destroyed by ballistics or explosives. He even continues taunting Duke as he destroys the pod's lock and messes around with the energy weapon's controls...until he sees that Duke reprogrammed the weapon to fire at Springfield, USA. Cobra Commander then tries brute force to get out of the pod, which ultimately fails... except that Never Found the Body is in play in Duke's aftermath.
  • Gender Flip: Communications Officer Dial-Tone is female in this continuity (this would also be the case in the IDW comic series and the live action film series, which both began around the same time that Resolute was released).
  • Guns Akimbo: Duke and Scarlett like to fight with a gun in each hand.
  • Growing with the Audience: Warren Ellis wrote this a Darker and Edgier treatment of G.I. Joe, which premiered as a Web Original series. While hardcore current fans did not really appreciate the changes, It did receive positive reviews from casual fans who had grown up with the series.
  • Iconic Outfit: Several Joes have uniforms partly similar to the one's from the 80's cartoon, except for Shipwreck, who looks nothing like the old one.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Duke and Scarlett stand completely unprotected in the center of a circle of firing Cobra troopers and are not hit by a single bullet.
  • It's Personal: The duel between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow is thoroughly rooted in their shared history.
  • Just Between You and Me: When Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes meet for their final duel, Storm Shadow reveals that his supposed honor was really all just a façade to screw with Snake Eyes, out of jealousy.
  • Kill Sat: Pretty much how Cobra Commander's latest doomsday weapon works. Through the control center in his base, he has remote control of the HAARP array in Antarctica, which has the ability to fire nuclear radiation in the atmosphere. Using a massive satellite array, he can cause the dispersed radiation to concentrate on one area and come down like a lightning bolt from Zeus, leaving a huge crater in the weapon's wake. Moscow found this out the hard (and totally unexpected) way, as did the USS Flagg.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Storm Shadow has his wrists sliced open by Snake Eyes in their duel, but he continues fighting, barely affected.
  • Mythology Gag: The guns of Cobra soldiers are shown to have blue muzzle flashes, as a nod to them firing blue lasers in the original cartoon.
  • Never Found the Body: In Duke's final report, he notes that on their return to the destroyed Springfield base, the pod Cobra Commander hid in was...absent. Storm Shadow's grave was also found empty in The Stinger of the original version of the movie.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Cobra Commander, vaporizing Moscow just to prove a point, addresses a cadre of Cobra goons. He states that his General Failure tendencies were all Obfuscating Stupidity, designed to make his subordinates think outside the box to become more competent...and to weed out traitors. Now that it no longer suits him, he's no longer going to tolerate disobedience or failure.
    Cobra Commander: Work with me, and I will give you the world in less than twenty-four hours. Work against me, and I will gut you like a fish, right here.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: See Cerebus Retcon above. Apparently, Cobra Commander's inept, cowardly persona as seen in the past was all an act.
  • Only in It for the Money: Subverted with Zartan who admits that he just enjoys killing and is on board with Cobra creating a world where he can indulge himself with impunity.
  • Out of Focus: A number of Joes and two Cobra members only appear very briefly. The story is much more interested in portraying Duke, Scarlet, Tunnel Rat, Roadblock, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Destro, and the Baroness than it is in Firefly, Major Bludd, Bazooka, Flint, Wild Bill, Cover Girl, Lady Jaye, Shipwreck, Stalker, and Gung-Ho.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Duke pulls a grenade pin with his teeth during the Russia infiltration mission.
  • Posthumous Character: Major Bludd and Bazooka turn up as corpses, the former being killed by Cobra Commander and the latter by Storm Shadow.
  • Precision F-Strike: Downplayed.
    Cobra Commander: There will be none of your CRAP! None of it!
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: Cobra Commander vaporizes Moscow and its ten million people to prove what his weapon can do and what he's willing to do with it.
  • Race Lift: As in the live-action movies, Ripcord is black instead of Caucasian.
  • Red Shirt: The unnamed Joes that Tunnel Rat brings along on his aerial mission. All of them die.
  • Single-Stroke Battle:
    • Snake Eyes pulls off a textbook example on an armed Cobra mook.
    • What the showdown between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow ultimately resulted in. Subversion - neither one of them fell down dead afterwards.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Sunbow and DiC animated series. Many references were made to events and themes in those series.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: A rare example of this trope not being used to parody the genre. Unlike the other more kid-oriented incarnations, this continuity features a lot of violence and even has named characters being killed off.
  • Take Over the World: Cobra attempts to do this by bullying the United Nations into surrendering control of their countries. Cobra Commander comments he thinks this is a much better Evil Plan than just trying to raise lots of money.
  • Secret Art: "The Seven Steps to the Sun." The ultimate kata of the Arashikage that is only taught to one heir of the style. Steps 6 and 7 are highly lethal and Hard Master's hesitation to teach Storm Shadow the 7th step is what drives the Arashikage subplot. He ultimately refuses and Storm Shadow has him killed, but not before he secretly teaches the entire form to Snake Eyes.
  • The Stinger: Storm Shadow's body is missing in the original version. The YouTube version doesn't include this segment, making Storm Shadow Killed Off for Real.
    • Cobra Commander's body is still missing, however.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: As a one off production, the Cobra agents here are usually killed. Baroness and Destro make it out, but Zartan, Major Bludd, and Storm Shadow are all killed off, with Cobra Commander receiving the customary Never Found the Body treatment as an out. Though (originally) in Storm Shadow's case it's implied he survived.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Only a few of the Resolute versions of the characters were made into actual toys.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Most of the story follows four missions the Joes carry out concurrently. Snake Eyes hunts for Storm Shadow on Cobra Island, Duke and Scarlett infiltrate a secret base in Siberia (where they meet Zartan), Tunnel Rat and some Red Shirts attack Cobra's strattelites, and Roadblock leads a team of his fellow The Big Guy types in rescuing captured HAARP array scientists from Destro and the Baroness.
  • Trope Codifier: For pretty much all G.I. Joe fiction from 2009 onward. Ripcord and Dial-Tone are black and female respectively, Cobra Commander is a competent, utterly ruthless leader (Resolute is not the first continuity with a scary Commander, but it is what cemented that as his definite modern characterization), entire cities can be destroyed, the Joes are quite lethal even to named Cobra characters, and there's a definite focus on the characters who have proven to be the more popular ones in the franchise.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted; the Commander does have a contingency plan in the form of a safe room complete with its own life support and power supply, and he is Hoist by His Own Petard via GIANT CITY-DESTROYING LASER, but the Joes do follow up on him. True, they didn't find anything, but A+ for effort.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As his plan starts coming apart right at the very end, Cobra Commander—already a lot Darker and Edgier than most known incarnations—begins raving furiously, killing his own soldiers just for giving him bad news (and using their blood to paint a Cobra insignia on a nearby door), and arming his Kill Sat to fire directly on Washington D.C.


Video Example(s):


Cobra Commander

Cobra Commander annihilating Moscow and then killing one of his own men for trying to talk him out of murdering millions more.

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